New Mexico teachers ARE well-paid

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.

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3 Replies to “New Mexico teachers ARE well-paid”

  1. The other issue with public school teacher pay in NM and elsewhere is that there is never a discussion of finding more money to pay teachers by coming in with a chain saw and eliminating non teaching white collar positions. It’s always lets increase the overall budget so that we have more money to pay the poor teachers more . I think the RGF ran an article in the recent past showing the GIGANTIC administrative cost in NM public education compared to the nation average.

  2. There’s no correlation between teacher pay and educational performance, but we know that better teachers make a significant difference.

    Treating teachers like professionals could make this happen: making teaching a meritocracy (like traditional professions) with performance-based pay and dismissal of poor performers. It’s not hard to visualize a scenario in which a handful of top teachers in every school are paid as much as the principal.

    The problem is that most teachers prefer to be a skilled trade rather than a profession, and have resisted performance evaluation and merit pay.

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