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September 9, 2009, 1:43 pm

Teacher Pay Around the World

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a trove of fascinating statistics on education around the world on Tuesday. Given increasing interest in how well the American education system is preparing todays students for tomorrows economy, lets look at how measures of United States education stack up alongside the systems of our peer countries. First lets look at teachers. Compared to other developed countries, in the United States teachers generally spend

more time teaching but apparently without an equivalent advantage in pay. American teachers spend on average 1,080 hours teaching each year. Across the O.E.C.D., the average is 794 hours on primary education, 709 hours on lower secondary education, and 653 hours on upper secondary education general programs.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development American teachers pay is more middling. The average public primary-school teacher who has worked 15 years and has received the minimum amount of training, for example, earns $43,633, compared to the O.E.C.D. average of $39,007.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Annual statutory teachers salaries in public institutions in primary education, in equivalent United States dollars converted using purchasing power parities. Comparing each countrys teacher salaries to the wealth of that country makes United States educational salaries appear lower. In the United States, a teacher with 15 years of experience makes a salary that is 96 percent of the countrys gross domestic product per capita. Across the O.E.C.D., a teacher of equivalent experience makes 117 percent of G.D.P. per capita. At the high end of the scale, in Korea, the average teacher at this level makes a full 221 percent of the countrys G.D.P. per capita.

Source: Organization for Economic

Cooperation and Development Annual statutory teachers salaries in public institutions in primary education, ratio of salary after 15 years of experience to gross domestic product per capita. The demographics of teachers in the United States look similar to those of teachers elsewhere in the developed world. Across public and private institutions at all levels of education, 69.4 percent of teachers are women, compared with 65.1 percent across the O.E.C.D. Among those developed and developing countries covered by this report, the percentage is highest in Russia (78.3 percent, and the share of women reaches 98.7 percent if you look at only primary education), and lowest in Turkey (46.8 percent across all levels of education).

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Percentage of females among teaching staff in public and private institutions by level of education, based on head counts, 2007. The percentage of women instructors in post-secondary (also called tertiary) education is 41.6 percent in the United States, compared to 39 percent across the O.E.C.D. Of the countries for which data are available, the share of women teaching higher education is lowest in Japan, at 17.9 percent.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development E-mail Print Recommend Share

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Previous Post Some Companies Are Starting to Hire Next Post Real Estate Stories, From Top and Bottom From 1 to 25 of 34 Comments 1 2 Next 1. 1. September 9, 2009 2:01 pm Link First of all this reporting is terribly skewed. Very few 15 year teachers are teaching with the minimum credits and receiving the lowest salary. At the very least the comparison should be done using mean or median salary at that year. Furthermore, salaries vary wildly so someone at the same rank in a different part of the US might make anywhere from 10 -40K more per annum or even more than that. What does any of this have to do with how much children actually learn in school? Time behaving in school does not equate to learning anything other than how to be a couch potato! Hetty Greene 2. 2. September 9, 2009 2:08 pm Link I knew that were cheating us!! AAAhhhhhhh! Tai 3. 3. September 9, 2009 2:09 pm Link Id love to see a graph that showed the implied hourly teaching wage per country. The US is about $40. Korea appears to be about $80. How do they spend so little time teaching? It makes me question the data. A related chart, which compares public school spending to test scores over the past 40 years can be found here: Mark T 4. 4. September 9, 2009 2:09 pm Link America wants the best and the brightest but they dont want to pay for it. Treva 5. 5. September 9, 2009 2:20 pm Link Kind of weird to not have statistics for Canada. Dan Daoust 6. 6. September 9, 2009 2:26 pm Link I always hear that America also spends signicantly more per capita on education than other countries. This makes me very interested in seeing a more detailed breakdown that tells us how much of the education spending actually goes to teachers in each country. As it is now, we spend the most (or close to it) and get, at best, middling results. It would be interesting if this is due to too little of the money we spend actually reaching teachers and too much going to other sources of overhead. In any case though, while these graphs are interesting I still dont think we need more funding for education. Id like to be able to compare these graphs with graphs detailing where money is going within the systems and with overall education funding. Ben 7. 7. September 9, 2009 2:36 pm Link

American teachers dont necessarily spend more time teaching; American schools interrupt classtime for numerous assemblies, events, pep rallies etc etc etc, and that is not counting the classtime wasted on things like movies, parties, and other events that often take place in American schools that have nothing to do with learning and decrease the seriousness of the school enviroment. American schools are not only places to learn, they are parents/babysitters/social engines/ atheletic clubs. Also, you can only teach so much before students have to take the initiative to take ownership of their own learning. Unfortunately, when they are spending more time in a classroom than they need to be, that is time away from self initiated learning. Teachers and students both get burnt out, and on goes the Friday afternoon video. Students would benit from having less instruction time, and more time researching, practicing, and engaging the material on their own. I imagine that although Korean students spend less time in the actual classroom, that time spent in the classroom is 100% intense learning, and students then motivate themselves to study and learn outside of the classroom. AW 8. 8. September 9, 2009 2:44 pm Link It looks like this data was manipulated to show a pre-determined biased outcome instead of following the scientic process. Comparing wages based on the GDP per capita automatically puts the USA at the disadvantage because only 1% of the nation holds most of the wealth. And why is 15 years the benchmark? What are the correlations between years of service and salary? How were the number of teaching hours determined? The data suggests that on average, teachers in the US, teach for a month longer than other developed countries..hard to believe considering that many public schools in the US close earlier and open later in the semester than other countries Ive visited. Also, England is noticeably missing from the total number of teaching hours per year. Lyn 9. 9. September 9, 2009 4:08 pm Link This is a pretty useless study Working as any sort of public servant (I can even give private school teachers the nod here), in the US we really feel like we shouldnt pay them a dollar wage that is equivalent to what they could be making else where. So they make up for it with perks. Break down all the job related insurance/retirement/tenure value and Im sure we look much better. Jenga 10. 10. September 9, 2009 5:01 pm Link Too bad these very interesting charts dont factor in class size! Even as Americas schools fall apart, we teachers are told to work longer and longer hours in ever-more-crowded classrooms. The idealization of small class sizes is increasingly portrayed as some sort of lost cause or unreasonable demand of our unions. These days, commentators in the capitalist media often insist that class size has no real bearing on the quality of educational product delivered, even though the expensive private schools nearly always push their small classes as a selling point. Meanwhile, Literacy Partners, a largely volunteer organization that teaches basic reading skills to New York City adults, reports that their fastest growing student group is those aged 16 to 24 undoubtedly a reection of the decrepitude of the public schools. Our union leadership, despite occasional cries for reform, has been working hand in hand with the bosses and their government to tighten our belts for many years now, but things seem only to be getting worse. Ellen 11. 11. September 9, 2009 6:42 pm Link

Just what we need in the NYC Suburbs, another article telling us how underpaid teachers are? JimK 12. 12. September 10, 2009 2:27 am Link Running a quick correlation between teachers wages and international test rankings shows a .51 relationship. (Salary after 15 years experience v. 2006 PISA reading scores.) McDruid 13. 13. September 10, 2009 9:28 am Link The rest of the data is available at And, the data for Canada is there so maybe thats an nytimes thing? Robert 14. 14. September 10, 2009 10:06 am Link Does the data on pay include pensions, health insurance, and other benets, or just cash? I believe in France you have to work 40 years to get a pension. In NYC, teachers now work 25 years and retire at 55, typically living another 25. It is also the case that in the U.S. teachers and early retirees get extensive government-funded health care. In, say, France everyone gets the same publicly funded health care equally, a distinction U.S. public employee unions are ghting to maintain. If lower pay reduces education quality, than shifting compensation from being paid to work to being paid to not work (though long years of retirement and the inability to remove those who do not do their job) reduces education quality. Yet that is exactly what the teachers union has sought to do. In part to hide their compensation from those who just look at cash. Id prefer to shift public employment compenstation to cash. If some teachers and other public employees want to spend one year in retirement for each year worked, and health insurance that pays for whatever the health care industry wanted to provide, at whatever cost they wanted to pay, they could take some of that cash and pay for it themselves. Others could make other choices. Larry Littleeld 15. 15. September 10, 2009 3:08 pm Link This data merely underscores the obvious and most signicant difference between US and European and Asian schools: our school curriculum is infantile in comparison to theirs. Any family thats come to the US after their kids have spent a few years or more in European or Asian public schools will immediately see a huge gap between his child and the childs spoon-fed American classmates. For Russian children, the gap is typically two years or more. Its the curriculum, stupid. American reading and math standards need to be raised by at least one and probably two grade levels across the board. thibaud 16. 16. September 10, 2009 8:25 pm Link I have to comment that the number of work hours shown for Turkey is way lower than the actual hours. I believe the number , ~600, is not correctly computed. Because the Turkish schools lack space to give each teacher a desk, almost all teachers bring work home. From grading to preparing teaching materials and planning, all work are done at home. It means extra two

hours of work each day every work day. The average lecturing hours is around 20 hours each week ( I have many relatives who are teachers) , adding 25=10 hours for additional work done at home, on the average, a Turkish teacher works for 30 hours each week. There are about 8-10 weeks of holiday and vacation time. So, 30x(52-10)=1260. This number shows that Turkish teachers work more than US teachers. The 600 hours gure is absolutely wrong. How did they come up with it? I wonder if work hours data for the other countries are similarly wrong. I bet the countries like Korea and Japan also have space problems and the teachers have to work at home when they are not lecturing. gulriz 17. 17. September 11, 2009 5:59 pm Link As an American teacher, I also spend an average of 1-2 hours at home daily grading, preparing lesson plans, generating and organizing materials, etc. It has nothing to do with space problemsjust the nature of the job, This aspect of teaching is always missing when anyone looks at teacher hours. To count just hours spent working with the students is grossly unfair. Connie 18. 18. September 11, 2009 6:06 pm Link The hours reported for teachers in Ireland do not include time preparing, evaluating, and correcting exams all of which is unremunerated unlike in countries such as the UK where teachers are paid for this time. The variations between countries are so great as to make comparison difcult. If you want to get bang for your buck, you have to pay well. Better pay attracts better graduates and that alone can raise standards. Payment by results is an insult as teachers ultimately have very little control over student performance where which can be impacted on by so many non-school variables. Ultimately, to get standard up, youve got to invest in the rst 3 years of a childs life . Peter Peter 19. 19. September 12, 2009 3:21 am Link Interesting article. Bryan 20. 20. September 13, 2009 11:27 am Link Interesting article, but the reader comments make very clear that contract hours are not even close to actual working hours in any country. In the US, there is paid conference time, but teachers are often required to attend Special Education or 504 meetings for individual students, meet with parents or individual, or to do other administrative paperwork. Lesson preparation and grading seem to be outside of contract hours worldwide. With respect to whether benets are calculated into the worldwide comparison of salary, it is not even standardized throughout the United States. Not all states have pensions or strong teacher unions. In Texas, teachers must pay into Texas Teachers Retirement System in lieu of Social Security. The Texas Legislature has recently legislated that teachers will not be entitled to choose Social Security payments even if the teacher has paid into Social Security (though previous employment) or would otherwise be entitled to choose SSI spousal survivor benets. SSIs troubles may make this a moot point, but the TTRS pension should not be calculated as a separate benet any more than a SSI pension would for any SSI-paying US worker. Ann 21. 21. September 18, 2009 4:12 am Link @ AW Our universities are among the highest in the world looking to carry the prestige of US education overseas. And dont be afraid of Asian education earthquakes. Of course, providing Asian children with a

good education is a priority for all of Asia especially Japan and South Korea. However their education system is in bad form. Excessive competition in entrance exams has destroyed their students moral bre. During our high school life, the school dance is an important event and an opportunity for us to meet one another and to get together in a wholesome environment. They cant picture these in their hometown. They are so absorbed in their own affairs that they couldnt afford to pay any attention to other people. Asian young people tend to keep their hands in their pockets as soon as they complete the course of high school and pass in the entrance exam. This is why their universities are on a low level. It is like that the house looks nice from the outside but the inside is nothing much to look at. Asian major universities world ranking is poor except Tokyo University in Japan. China 201-302 Nanjing Univ 201-302 Peking Univ 201-302 Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ 201-302 Tsinghua Univ 201-302 Univ Sci & Tech 201-302 Zhejiang Univ 303-401 Fudan Univ Japan 19 Tokyo Univ 23 Kyoto Univ 68 Osaka Univ 79 Tohoku Univ 101-151 Kyushu Univ 101-151 Nagoya Univ 101-151 Tokyo Inst Tech South Korea 152-200 Seoul Natl Univ 201-302 Korea Advanced Inst Sci & Tech 201-302 Yonsei Univ 303-401 Hanyang Univ 303-401 Korea Univ 303-401 Pohang Univ Sci & Tech 303-401 Sungkyunkwan Univ Taiwan 152-200 Natl Taiwan Univ 303-401 Natl Cheng Kung Univ 303-401 Natl Chiao Tung Univ 303-401 Natl Tsing Hua Univ 402-503 Chang Gung Univ 402-503 Natl Cent Univ 402-503 Natl Yang Ming Univ Billy 22. 22. September 22, 2009 8:56 am Link

According to the chart, South Korea seems to lead role for improvement of educational environment with the highest of salaries and the lowest of working hours in the world. Really? I want to gratify my curiosity for this article. st=Search Jean 23. 23. September 26, 2009 5:56 am Link Ellen states above that the report does not facor in class size. Apparently she is not looking at the data but rather just reading the above article. In Japan, the average class size for primary education is 28.1. In the US, the average size is 23.6. The information is available. Many of us just do not like the published results. Bob Singleton 24. 24. October 5, 2009 7:16 am Link It was interesting to read your facts regarding hours,salaries and other factors in an attempt to understand the current state of education in the US. In Australia the same debates are occurring and the blame has shifted from television, then computer games, then the internet to the complexities of society. the debate is around the product we are presented with that needs to be educated rather than the methods employed to mould the presenting material into a citizen capable of meeting the needs of society when their time comes to take the reigns of employment and contributing to the fabric of society. research consistently shows the issues confronting us yet other than in a few isolated examples is that information embrassed into constructive methodology to enhance the learning outcomes of students. the language of education is reading and needs to be the sole priority of the education system. with out reading, the student is unable to move forward nor are they able to access the curriculum. Being functionally illiterate causes behaviour issues and self esteem issues. rather than run self esteem programs or behaviour management courses teach them to read and enable them to experience success. however success in reading is not seen as exciting or progressive and is not rewarded by promotion. a good school production or success on the sporting eld is embrassed as it is very visual. look at the foyer of the local school and see what is on display. in our schools it is sporting success. academic success is hidden. successful graduates in the academic eld is very second place. failure in national testing does not result in principals not being reappointed as the students are seen as the reason for poor results and not the teaching mismatch or lack of initiative given to resolving the issue. i have worked in primary and secondary schools and have consistently achieved success in improving the literacy skills of the students which highlights the failure was in the schooling approach and not in the student. class size is irrelevant the empowering of the student to resolve the issue and empowering them to do so is the key. while not all social issues in schools can be resolved by teaching students to read it is amazing how many issues are resolved. we need to revisit the primary function of schools which is to educate the young, the other social issues are the domain of welfare or other institutions. schools, which are the domain of the teaching profession are not achieving the results that were achieved thirty years ago despite the advancements in our understanding of learning. it is the teaching professions role to bring about change and improve the literacy and numeracy skills of our clients. in doing so i believe the teaching profession would achieve the recognition that it looks for and desires both in our own self esteem but that there would be the resources available to lower class sizes and increase salaries by gradually reducing the out of classroom expenses such as behaviour support etc. Results are reective of the culture you establish within your school and when you have success within your classroom the day is not nearly as long and the pay seems better. let go and get on with the job. graham slarks 25. 25. November 7, 2009 11:32 pm Link Please, Please do not quote class sizes. Reported class sizes have nothing to do with how many children are sitting in your room. At my school class size is written down as 25 to 1. I do not have one class with 25 students. I am over 30 in each class. Next year will be worse because of budget cuts and layoffs. The way they calculate class size, at least in CA, is to count number of students and divide it by number of

staff. Number of staff include counselors, VPs, Principals and with all I know the custodian and secretaries. None of these people teach classes so how they are used in the count is beyond me. Either way it has nothing to do with children in your room and just bafes me when people discuss it and think thats how many students are in each class. Carol 1 2 Next Comments are no longer being accepted.
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