Are teachers in your country being paid adequately?
The World Economic Forum publishes data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that tracks the average salary of teachers across nations. Given the obvious disparity, the natural question arises: Are teachers in your country being paid enough?
Overall, I like the data because it spurs a deeper conversation that is needed across society, but we should realize the data is not a true comparison. These figures are not adjusted for standards of living, average national income, or take into account taxes, healthcare, or other differing expenses based upon the country. For example, many countries on the list have government provided healthcare, while the U.S. does not. Varying tax rates can have a big impact on take-home pay as well. For big countries, geographic regions within their borders may have greatly different averages, some less than half. That is a big range and is not reflected in the overall chart.
Educators Help Build the Economy that Pays Them
I would like to see salaries as compared to other workers in their respective countries. How much does a teacher make compared to an engineer, construction laborer, or government worker? Pay should be framed in comparison to other work within a society.
Educators' efforts, in general, will help an economy grow and raise the standard-of-living as well. An educated populace has a greater range of salary potential. If we looked at a country that the average worker only made $9k a year, then $15k would be a great salary. But if the average wage is $70k a year then a teacher's $15k salary would be paltry.
As a conversation starter, this interactive chart is great. But as we all should explore a level deeper, we need to evaluate ties to local economic comparisons to provide a more valid context to answer the question "do they make enough".
Data Leads to More Questions
Although a great disparity is highlighted by the data, showing a wide range of average salaries between countries, it does not provide enough information to answer the heart of the question. As teachers are a major force in educating and preparing the next generation, this is an important topic that has long term ramifications. But without a more comprehensive picture we are each left to our own opinions based upon personal experiences.
The inequality of pay between nations may not actually represent inequity. If anything, this discussion should drive the education community to provide more data so a collective and definitive position can be reached. We all should be rallying to support education and be armed with the right information to drive proper compensation.