Teacher pay up in Miami, down in Florida
Written by Vanessa Zambrano on August 1, 2013
Wages in education in both the public and private sectors have grown in Miami-Dade County in the past six years. However, Florida salaries for educators fell in the same period.
Florida Department of Education statistics show that from 2007 to 2012 the average annual salary for a teacher rose from $50,737 to $54,455 in Miami-Dade. As of last year, it was the second highest-paying district in Florida for professionals in the education sector. Highest was Sarasota with a $55,011 yearly average.
However, Miami-Dade has the 11th lowest average years of experience of its teachers among the 75 districts in Florida.
Numbers from the state education department show that the Florida average salary for teachers has dropped from $$46,922 down to $46,479 in 2012, a 0.94% decline.
The average annual pay has also been on the rise in Miami-Dade for educators working in the private sector. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it has risen by almost $12,000 in ten years, from $31,496 in 2002 to $43,397, which is the preliminary result for 2012. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages section published the statistics based on research done with private employers in the sector.
The bureau estimates that the national mean annual wage for education, training and library occupations was $51,210, as published in its latest survey in May 2012. The same report, conducted by its Occupational Employment and Wages section, stated that Florida has one of the highest levels of employment for those professions after California, Texas, New York and Illinois.
The report lists Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, as the tenth leading metropolitan area for highest concentration of jobs and the fifth highest paying metropolitan area for professionals in the education, training and library sectors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows a continuous increase in employee numbers in the education and healthcare sectors combined in Miami-Dade, from 1,303,000 in 2003 to 1,161,700 in 2012.
The federal bureau says it doesn’t have data available for the number of jobs in education alone in Miami-Dade. However, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages published data on the number of workers that the private education sector employs in the county and it has continued to grow since 2004, from 18,001 jobs to 24,232 in 2012. That census expects the total this year to reach 25,663 jobs.
National projections are optimistic for the sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives the education, training and library occupations an expected employment growth of 15.3% between 2010 and 2020, from 9,193 jobs to 10,597.
However, the trend isn’t quite what statistics show for school teachers, said Fedrick Ingram, president of the United Teachers of Dade. “The state defines teacher as more than a classroom teacher,” he said.
Mr. Ingram said there have been fewer school teachers in the county school system’s annual orientation for new teachers in the school district. In the past three to five years only about 200 or 300 attended, he said, while it reached up to 1,500 back in 1996.
“We’ve seen staggering growth. In the last five years due to the financial recession, there was a decline in all fields. If there has been an incline, it has been very slight,” Mr. Ingram said.
Regarding wages, he said Miami-Dade’s public school teachers have gotten two raises in five years and the cost of living is now on the rise. “There has always been an up-and-down trend in public education. Before the recession it was more consistent,” he said.
The factors at work are political, he said, and he said he believes the state legislature should move up funding for education in the list of priorities.
“The lack of funds is a problem for retaining teachers,” Mr. Ingram said. “We need more resources to operate schools.”