Washington Post’s Andrew Van Dam reports that, back in the early 1990s, teachers and support staff enjoyed above-average paychecks in 26 out of the 42 states in the Labor Department’s database.

By 2017, only one state, Rhode Island, could make that boast, while the largest drop was in Wisconsin. In the 90s, its teachers earned 1-1/2 times more than the average worker. Nowadays, it’s down to 9/10 of that average.

Looked at another way, female teachers used to be on par with other workers’ salaries, but, as of 2017, they earned 15.6% less, while their male counterparts earned a whopping 26.8% less than comparable workers.

As for why…

47% of funding comes from the states, which cut their budgets in 2008’s Great Recession. Fast forward to 2018 when many states increased K-12 spending to the tune of $294 billion—a 4% increase. Nevertheless, the average teacher’s paycheck decreased between 2010 and 2016 in 39 states.

As for what happened to the rest of those dollars, some went to…

  • Pay down pension obligations;
  • Bring back support staff furloughed during the recession; and/or
  • Hire more teachers to decrease class sizes.

Meanwhile, in 1970, about 50% of all college-educated women went into teaching. Today, according to Census data, it’s down to less than 10%. Other options have more appeal and no wonder.

According to a USA Today/Ipsos Poll of 504 K-12 teachers:

  • 79% bought school supplies with their own money;
  • 64% spent off-school hours helping students;
  • 38% had to work a second job to pay their bills;
  • 29% went into debt to make ends meet.

The upshot: While 92% of teachers say they love their jobs, 54% have considered quitting.

Says Cliff Young, president of Ipsos, “It’s clear that what sustains teachers is love for the job, not money. But love alone does not pay the bills. Indeed, 75% of teachers believe nowadays in the right to strike.”

Plus, in the good old days, teachers were right up there with doctors when it came to respect…