Charles Goodmacher of the NEA is one of many (often self-interested) advocates for paying New Mexico teachers more. Heck, during the 2018 Legislature, Republicans were complaining that the unions and some Democrats were not interested in certain pay raises for teachers.
And, it is worth noting that teachers in Arizona and Colorado recently staged a “walkout” for higher pay and more investments in the classroom.
But once cost of living is factored in New Mexico teachers are paid much better than their peers in neighboring states. In fact, a group advocating for higher teacher pay in Arizona put together the handy graphic below. The data are adjusted for cost of living which is important because New Mexico is a low-cost state. As it turns out New Mexico’s elementary school teachers are better-paid than the US median and better-paid than a majority of states.
And, while secondary school teachers in New Mexico are paid less well than are elementary school teachers (in real terms which is odd) but those teachers are nonetheless better paid than are secondary teachers in neighboring states. Now, with New Mexico students performing so poorly, the question must be asked as to whether higher teacher pay has any positive impact on student outcomes.