The pay penalty would be even higher if it weren’t for the positive impact of strong benefits. Compared with other professionals, teachers receive better benefits for health care and other nonwage compensation, the EPI said. Based on wages alone, the teacher pay gap would be 18.7 percent, the EPI said.
School districts may be making a trade-off by offering better benefits, yet failing to provide pay raises, Mishel said. Even so, that doesn’t make it easier to swallow a growing wage gap between educators and other professionals, he said.
“You do need wages to pay rent and food and college tuition for your children,” he noted. “You can’t spend benefits.”