In a Letter to the Editor in a recent Wall Street Journal, Thomas Michaels wrote,
John E Stafford asks why “starting salaries for public-school teachers in many states are under $40,000 a year….” The answer is supply and demand. There are more “qualified” teaching graduates looking for a job than there are openings in their desired location. Union protection and state-mandated benefits assure that placeholders stay in place. Market theory says that when there are more goods available than the market requires, the price goes down.
A bit of basic high school-level economics, a subject that isn’t taught in high school very much.
That brings me to another reason why teacher salaries are so low. Public school pupils fare poorly in progress testing, in college preparation testing, in their ability to function in a modern workplace. This is so in absolute terms, in comparison with peer and near-peer national competitors, and in comparison with domestic charter and voucher schools. The quality of the product just isn’t that great.