Teacher union report: Average Florida teacher salary slips to 2nd-lowest nationally
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Teach pay
Despite billions invested, average teacher pay continues to slip in national rankings.

Despite a vaunted investment of more than $4 billion to increase educators’ salaries since 2020, the state is now almost dead last in state-by-state comparisons of average teacher pay, according to the National Education Association.

The Florida Education Association (FEA) highlighted the new rankings Tuesday, from a National Education Association (NEA) report earlier this month. It shows Florida’s average public school teacher pay dropped from No. 48 nationally to No. 50 among states and Washington, D.C. Only West Virginia ranked lower than the Sunshine State, the report says.

The report shows that while Florida’s average starting teacher salary is16th among the 50 states and Washington at $47,178, the average teacher salary is not nearly above average nationally. The report shows overall average teacher salaries clock in at $53,100, with the average teacher pay overall just shy of $6,000 more than new teachers.

“Once again, despite a thriving economy, Florida is failing to prioritize the needs of students by not fairly compensating teachers and staff,” FEA President Andrew Spar said in a news release. “Time and time again, anti-education politicians say they support teachers — but the proof is undeniable: in the past five and a half years since Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, Florida’s public-school teachers have experienced a stagnant and declining average salary.”

Nationally, teacher pay increases have lagged behind inflation over the last decade, the report says.

Neither officials from the state Department of Education (DOE) nor the Governor’s Office were immediately available to comment on the rankings, which are typically released this time of year. 

In December, however, DeSantis’ budget impact on teacher pay increases brought praise from state Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said DeSantis was cementing the state’s status as “the Education State.”

“Florida is ranked as the No. 1 state in the nation for education because we invest in our future,” Diaz said in a December news release after the budget was announced. “By continuing to prioritize workforce education, ensuring we have high-quality teachers, providing choice for all students and making record investments in our students, Florida will no doubt remain No. 1 in education for years to come.”

The DOE and the state’s largest teachers’ union have disagreed on data before.

 At the beginning of the school year, last August, the DOE said the number of teacher vacancies dropped by 10% since the previous year. But the FEA said teacher vacancies are at a record high. The state has been working on new pathways for teachers to get in front of a class.

“It is unacceptable that Florida ranks so close to last in the nation for teacher pay and that the teacher shortage crisis is still not being addressed,” Spar said. “Every student in Florida deserves a world class education. Every educator deserves the ability to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    April 30, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    When a state is handing out bonuses and raises to every teacher for any excuse that can be dreamed up, yet teacher compensation slips anyways, that right there tells you all you need to know about State of Florida’s education policy. Florida can’t even bribe qualified teachers to keep teaching in Florida. They’re changing careers, or, or if teaching is in their blood, they’re leaving the state to teach in places that lack the ridiculousness of Rhonda Dee and his Moms For Liberty

  • PeterH

    April 30, 2024 at 2:13 pm

    Florida classrooms are missing 7,000 teachers. Now you know the reason!

    50% of Florida’s third graders cannot read! Now you know the reason!

    Florida teachers are compelled to teach communism to first graders but are forbidden to teach 9th graders racial justice because it might hurt DeSantis’s feelings!

    • KathrynA

      April 30, 2024 at 9:00 pm

      Everything you said is so true and accurate! So sad for our kids and their convoluted teaching and lack of people qualified to teach. If I had children of school age, I would quickly move out of this state or any Southern state.

  • Michael K

    April 30, 2024 at 9:11 pm

    The Florida Republican led-legislature: you are winning in the race to the bottom by destroying public education and demeaning the teaching profession at all levels.

    • John L

      May 1, 2024 at 2:05 pm

      Dont worry, the Republican nutjobs will make Florida the lowest paying teacher salary state in the entire country soon.

      • rick whitaker

        May 1, 2024 at 7:48 pm

        JOHN L, when desantis finishes dumbing down florida, he will then feel smart in comparison, but, he won’t be able to leave the state without looking stupid.

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    May 1, 2024 at 6:45 am

    At some point everyone who chooses to teach will be doing that for the job perks and I don’t mean a faculty parking spot.

    The Republicans claim it’s trans drag queens coming for your children, but whoever it is that comes for your children, it’s the Republican administration that flung the door wide open to them.

    Who is really coming for your children?
    Whoever’s motivated enough to want to be a teacher despite book bans and threats of arrest and lawsuits just for teaching, chaplains, scoutmasters, gymnastics and sportsball coaches, G0P legislators with Taylor Swift tickets, and all the other usual suspects.

    All the well known groomer types are being given keys to their city of dreams, Florida’s schools. And we have Ron DeSantis and his Moms For Liberty to thank for it. Not any Democrat.

  • John L

    May 1, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    Florida is losing teachers by the thousands for 4 reasons. A) almost 90% of the 4 billion in raises over past years has gone to new teacher salaries so basically veteran teacher make a few thousand more than newbies. B) The raises suck for teachers who may get 200 dollars a year C) A lot of teachers flee to states where they pay much better once they have experience.
    D) cra cra policies by right wing nutjob Governor and State legislature

  • Jason Ryman

    May 1, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    This just shows that the funds from the state never make it into the teacher’s pocket. This districts suffer from everything from mismanagement to incompetence. The districts realized that they had a problem when they couldn’t fill their teacher vacancies anymore, so they raised the starting pay to a decent amount. They did not, however, raise the pay for competent, qualified, veteran teachers. This became a slap in the face and will alway be until teachers are fairly compensated for their dedication and experience. This all results in a perpetual cycle of unqualified, inexperienced, and is some case incompetent teachers and it’s only going to get worse. THIS is how you get groomers instead of teachers!

  • Thomas D James

    May 2, 2024 at 12:44 pm

    What’s missing here is the teacher unions bargained away the grandfathered step scale back in 2013 because public school districts told them if they didn’t no one would get a raise again (don’t always believe what public school districts say, they lie a lot). I retired from Miami Dade in 2017 making $85K. Fortunately I had topped out on the step scale prior to that time. Once the unions sold out, wages hit rock bottom. We went from a top pay of $73K (with only a Bachelors and no additional supplements for coaching or club sponsorship) to $60K. The state has increased funding for 12 consecutive years and the unions have gotten billions from Trump and Biden Covid relief bills. And many counties have teacher pay referendums that compensate them above whatever the state raise is for that year. The unions only have themselves to blame. As far as teacher shortage, 1. all the baby boomers who were the backbone of Florida teachers for 4 decades have retired 2. most young people don’t want to be teachers because they saw how mistreated teachers were when they were students 3. discipline is awful and most public schools have major problems with chronic disruption and school crime. School choice is the only answer. Giving public schools more money to flush down the toilet is a sure fire failure. The increased funding rarely ever made it to the teachers, students and classrooms. It was always sucked up by the school bureaucracy. And the union always went along as all they cared about were their officer and staff salaries and sending dues money to the communists at AFT and NEA.

Comments are closed.


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