In 1998, a beginning primary teacher earned $31,000, which was 15% more than the median worker. A teacher at the top of the primary teachers’ salary scale earned $47,100 (75% more). Today, a beginning primary teacher earns $49,600, which is a shade less than the median worker. And a primary teacher at the top of the salary scale now earns $75,949 (only 43% more).
Of course, there is a difference between how the median worker and a primary teacher are paid. The starting teacher salary is on par with many other professions (accountancy, engineering, law, among others). But unlike teachers, the best among other professions can go on to earn salaries several times those earned by graduates starting their careers.
For primary teachers, things are different. Their union-negotiated collective agreement links pay rises to years of service, rather than to ability or performance. And the pay scale tops out after just seven yearly increments.
Perhaps that is the rub for primary teachers. A union-negotiated pay scale requiring all to be paid alike, regardless of ability, with fixed service-based pay adjustments is bound to limit how much teachers can earn. Teachers’ salaries are not modest despite their union coverage and collective agreement, but because of it.
Spot on. The collective contract rewards teachers for long service, not ability.
Wouldn’t it be great of schools could pay teachers whatever they think they are worth. They might pay a third year inspirational teacher $15,000 more than the 15 year veteran who doesn’t connect to students.