Putting Education Reform To The Test

Mapping Average Teacher Salary Change in Florida

This map visualizes how much the average teacher’s salary has changed since the 2007-08 school year. Darker reds represent district where average pay decreased, while darker greens represent larger salary increases. Click on individual counties to see more specific information about their teachers’ average salaries.

Inspiration and data via The News Service of Florida.

NOTE: A previous version of this map showed only teachers with bachelor’s degrees. The current version shows all teachers. 

Clarification: Average pay can decrease without school districts cutting pay if higher paid employees leave the district.


  • RCS

    Shame on Florida!

  • I worked (notice the past tense?) in one of the deepest red districts. Not feeling so bad about being laid off now.

  • Mistermysteryguy

    Looks to me like the highly populated counties got paid less and the less populated counties got paid more. Am I misunderstanding this, or should I just have even less faith in this state than I did before?

  • Matt Stiles

    Mistermysteryguy: The answer is yes and no.

    There does seem to be a bit of visual correspondence between salary increases and population in urban areas, but take a look at South Florida. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are the most-populous counties in the state, according to the last year’s census. Broward cut pay, while the other two increase it.

    I’ve attached a side-by-side view of a quick census map and the teacher pay map. (Darker shades in the population map represent more residents). Check them out and tell us what you think.

    Thanks for the comment!

    • Irishrose8585

      I am a teacher in palm beach and I can tell you we have not had a pay raise in 4 yrs!

      • Anonymous


        You raise a good point: A district’s average salary can increase without anyone earning a pay raise. If the district lays off its lowest-paid employees, the average salary will rise.

        • Dirhart

          Average pay is also affected by age and experience of teachers.  It is skewed quite a bit by the simple use of the pay scale in counties to figure it, which can average the top of the scale (30 years experience with a Ph.D—very few are in this category) with the bottom (0 years with B.A.– thus giving an “average” which is way above what most teachers are actually making.  The average mentioned in the map for our county would take around ten years to achieve.

  • Miami-Dade saw the writing on the wall and

  • Miami-Dade saw the writing on the wall in 2008 and began a slow and steady belt-tightening. Got rid of a lot of middle-management, did not rush to replace retiring workers, stopped some school construction plans. Broward School Board kept kicking can down the road until they simply ran out of road this year.

  • Scubus

    Why would anyone come and teach in this state?

    A merit pay system that has no money for pay (but millions going to standardized test development).

    Longer hours and additional classes to teach. With no increase in compensation of course.

    Loss of due process protections.

    More and more standardized tests that are not good for students, tell us nothing about how well a teacher teaches and very little about how well a student has learned.

    A merit pay system based on faulty math and that have been shown to be ineffective and actually harmful in virtually every study and are being abandoned in places that have tried similar systems. But not before decimating teaching ranks.

    Loss of the pension and decent insurance that made teaching not lucrative, but stable and kept a family safe. Again, with no corresponding increase in compensation.

    The exodus of good teachers has already started. If the economy improves much it will pick up steam. Most teachers are well educated and adaptable. They don’t HAVE to teach – they just love doing it. But they still have to raise their own families…

    • Godago

      Maybe Those of us who teach here aren’t in it for the Money, and make the most of the conditions coming by focusing on steweardship of resources & empowering students to know what resiliency really is.

      • Dirhart

        There is truth here.  I don’t know anybody who figured on making a lot of money in teaching, but the pressures of providing for family, etc. are there and get bigger as kids get older, etc.  Dedication doesn’t put food on the table, and the economy in better times does provide lots of better opportunities (with lots less work). It is tough at the end of your career, no matter how fulfilled you feel, to wonder if you slighted your own children to help children.

        • jabbamamma

          Then by all means, please take the better opportunities, and let someone who actually wants the opportunity to teach take it.

          • Arealteacher

            Yeah the ones who want to arent teachers there just there to do a job until there other occupation revives. You must teach at a private school.

          • Melissa M Homan

            There are many who would like that very much. Part of the idea is that we get the old timers out by creating a system that is as frustrating as possible and we leave. Good luck getting people in a few years. We’ll be lowering standards in teaching, like we did a couple of decades ago and we will wonder why they don’t do a good job. I do want to teach BUT I teach in high school. Next year there are 80 days of testing scheduled. The school year is only 180 days long. This works out to 44.4% of the school year will have some kind of testing occurring. I would LOVE to teach!! By the time we are done testing there is almost no time to create any kind of consistency at all. Kiss my grits, jabbamamma!

      • Scubus

        Sounds great.  Which part of that is going to feed my son or pay the rent?

        Like it or not, teaching is still a job, and people, even the most noble, need to be compensated for their work.

        • jabbamamma

          Ahhh….so most teachers work for free then? And here I thought that the compensation seemed perfectly reasonable.

          • dbdefuniak

            Ahhhh so lets let the prison population teach. Then we will really get our monies worth…

          • Ashley Trickett

            Livable-Just, Reasonable- Not so much, What other college educated career do you work 50 hour+ a week and top out around 60,000 a year. I know they get around 11 weeks off a year (unless they coach or get stuck teaching summer school) but your average career will give you 5 weeks that you can use anytime and sick leave you can take and not worry about set your class back days or even weeks.

      • Hall

        Of course it wasn’t for the money, BUT we still have to make a living to raise our families. I don’t know about you, but i don’t want to raise my family with the constant reminder that no matter how hard I teach..if my students don’t perform well on a Well Funded test I could be out of a job, that’s crazy!

        • jabbamamma

          No one is chaining teachers to their desks. All are free to walk out and seek a better opportunity. Please don’t whine over circumstances that many would fond enviable.

          • dbdefuniak

            Are you even a teacher…. Oh your one of the Koch brothers… I see… looking to make people more stupid so we can go back to the have and have nots with no middle class. jabbammammma you are so so uninformed about how real life works. Your buble will burst one day…

      • busy teacher with no time

        Maybe your thoughts are part of the problem. Teacher’s and their families still need to eat. Why don’t you continue to stay bent over so it’s easier for them to kick you.

      • 28yearsandhadenough

        Who pays your bills? You must be one of those who married well or inherited. If we continue to take chicken feed as a salary we will always be chickens.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this analysis, Mr. Stiles.

    As a (fortunately) retired Miami-Dade public teacher, I find it pathetic that most of these salaries do not even warrant COLA increases…insulting. Additionally, the state is now subtracting 3% toward retirement pensions, and didn’t grandfather in those employees who had understood this benefit to have been a perk for years of relatively low “professional” pay. (Oh, and please don’t forget that a new merit pay system, threatening to further decrease base salaries, is also being implemented across the state, based on insufficient data reliant on a poorly written measuring instrument, the notorious FCAT.)

    I’m curious, do these salary averages include charter school teachers? I ask since this growing wave of state-supported privatization hires teachers who, in many instances, are paid lower than the public sector teachers. (The charter school movement is another controversial HUGE issue that warrants massive investigation…”Contract? We don’t need no stinkin’ contract!”)

    Again, thanks, I will be sending this map to former colleagues,

  • Paobstew

    It is not just Florida. This is a nationwide problem. A bigger problem to come is: Who in their right mind will want to make education their career?

    • Godago

      I came into Education as a second career after a post-collegiate high paying managment company offered me the opportunity to meet a lot of people lacking basic problem solving skils, critical thinking skills, abilities to infer, or clarity to step back and see the big picture. I’ve had the opportunity to meet more than a dozen other educators like myself, who are operating from a different place than most education majors out there. We Are In our RIGHT MIND, for we SEE IT RIGHT, and are doing something about it.

      Besides Blogging, what are you doing about it Paobstew?

    • greg

      As a seasoned teacher, this is the question that comes to my mind so often now. I also cannot encourage anyone to go into education as a profession because of the pressures to succeed that are not in our control, not to mention the lack of compensation. Sad.

  • Lbalazs

    I would like to see the actual pay ranges.

    • Georginamae

      Maybe actual pay ranges of teachers and a column for actual pay ranges for Administration & District Office staff?

      • Anonymous

        Lbalazs and Georginamae,

        Stay tuned. We’re compiling that information now.

        • Scout

          Most counties post the pay scale on their websites… They’re not a
          Ways easy to find, though. But don’t think any of the teachers in Brevard are at the right pay scale for their years of service. That’s right, service! We are public servants, which is why we do not have the same rights as private sector employees. I’ve been teaching for 8 years and I’m still getting 3rd year pay.

          • PublicServant

            To show how far behind my district is, they just posted the link to this page in our e-mailed “newsletter”.
            I work in Information Technology (specifically Datacenter) for one of the larger districts and we haven’t seen a raise or step increase in over half a decade while the teachers, secretaries, office staff have seen them every year. I would be keenly interested in seeing maps of the non-teaching and non-administrative staff salaries.
            However, while maps are great, they’re sensationalist at best and deliberate misinformation at worst. They show a decrease or increase of percentage but don’t show whether they accommodate CoL increases. They don’t show whether or not the median is high above the mean, or whether that lowest-paid-per-year teacher is a part-timer making $40 an hour or a full-timer making $20 per hour. They show “teachers and administrative” salaries but don’t say who all is included in that group (I’m technically administrative but because I’m not directly in effect of change to the students I’m not considered part of that elite group of individuals). They also don’t show what the smaller increases and decreases were throughout the areas that affect your readers, such as e.g. K-5 teachers versus high school teachers. Nor does it take tenure into account. I have complained that we have a Kindergarten teacher making nearly $70,000 per year. I was sure that individual has been here thirty years, but the way we give teachers raises every year I’m not so sure any more.
            The biggest thing about this map, though, is it doesn’t tell you what the starting point was. So a county decreased 10 percent. Maybe they were 20 percent higher than they should have been to begin with.
            Your map is nice but it lacks “resolution”. No offense intended.

        • Thelibrarianfromoz

          Can you find out how many teachers in the state of Florida will be retiring in 2016? That is the last year before the Drop change. I have a funny feeling it’s going to be many, because of the decrease in Drop money after that. I think many educators as well as the Dept of Ed. will find it interesting to know how many of our veteran teachers will be leaving teaching and it will impact education in Florida.

          • StateImpactJOC

            Good question. I’ll see what I can find out.

          • jabbamamma

            A wonderful opportunity for students to benefit from young, fresh, energetic, enthusiastic new teachers who they will relate to better by virtue of their relative youth. And the state will save precious taxpayer dollars. A win-win. And the teachers who are so unhappy will have the opportunity to move on to something they fond more rewarding.

    • Melissa M Homan

      Okay, here is one ACTUAL Salary schedule. It is from St. Lucie County School Board in Florida. The “A” is what a first year teacher earns, BEFORE health insurance and 3% is taken out towards retirement (This was recently mandated in Florida. It’s called salary, but we never get care, custody, or control of it. A rip-off by any other name). Theoretically, you go up one slot or step every year. Our district, though is a poor district. The state has to give us money to bring us up to the minimum per student expenditure. Frequently, to make ends meet, the district “freezes” salaries, meaning you can not move up to your next slot. The last freeze was for five years. I have a dear friend who had excellent evaluations who was on the first year teacher slot for five years. During that time, he husband was out of work, though looking desperately. The five of them (they have three kids) were a mere $50 away from qualifying for food stamps. Yeah – because education keeps you from living in poverty.. http://slcsbweb2.stlucie.k12.fl.us/pdf/Salary-Schedules/2%20CTA%202014-15%20-%20Grandfathered%20Schedules.pdf

  • Lol


  • Lol

    There are no intelligent students to teach anyways………………..

    • concon

      Especially if they’re like you.

    • Dirhart

      Not true at all.

  • CBrown

    Deeper pay cuts, yes, a nationwide problem, though that appears more evident in the so-called Red states and in the case of Florida, the so-called Blue-leaning counties. Perhaps the underlying purpose is to eliminate public education and make education available on an affordable basis. Perhaps the purpose is to eliminate the principles of John Dewey and civic democracy in favor of neat little boxes of control. Perhaps yes, perhaps not.

    Some schools are leasing their frontage signs to commercial interests in exchange for cash. On the one hand, great for parents who want to advertise their services, on the other hand, ethical questions of influence and power come to mind.

    Do we want a nation of followers or leaders? We cannot all be leaders, though we should aim to educate all as leaders. Some will choose following, though I suspect we will educate more leaders and brilliant inbetweeners who will choose to follow when appropriate.

    Thing is, regardless of comments, apparently, Floridians liked the Perry history and chose to be followers. With voting changes in the state now, the choice to lead or follow, or even be an inbetweener may no longer be available to many voters, and followers they may remain.

  • Schnursenkel89

    The dark red colors group in two large of a variable (-15% to -2%) when in fact there is only one county that went down -15% (Broward). There should be a -5% to -2% to be more accurate. Then it won’t appear as instantly bad as it does right now because the only county that would be darker would be Broward.

    Regardless, spending redistribution is a bunch of bull-honkey anyway because its based off the false system of the FCAT. Why did my Leon County have to drop 4%?

  • Georginamae

    This visual is misleading in that it does not highlight the main reason for and increase – longevity – not contract pay increase.

    • Matt Stiles

      The map isn’t intended to display the “reason” for increases or decreases. It just visualizes the change over time. This is just one piece of content in a running discussion here about education. Stay tuned as our reporters explore issues like the one you cite. Thanks for your comment.

      • Jet Pilot

        Any chance on showing one for California. My guess is it’s just as bad if not worse.

  • Keri

    What about layoffs in the last year per county?

  • What a misleading map! Shame on you, NPR. There are TWO codes for pay cuts, and it’s 0-2 percent and then 2-15 percent. There are 4 grades for pay increases, and 3 of them cover the 2-15 percent range. If you made the pay increases the same color code range as the pay cuts, it would look like everyone either got cut a lot or paid a lot. Instead you make it look like everyone either got negligible pay increases or HUGE pay cuts.

    I expect more from you. It’s sensationalism like this that drove me from commercial news networks.

    • Matt Stiles

      Fair point. I chose that distribution in an effort to put similar numbers of districts in each change category, not for sensationalism. I’ve updated the map with a different distribution, and I’ve set it to include all teachers, not just those with bachelor’s degrees. Let me know what you think.

      • John

        I’d say it’s also unfair to include areas that got a 0% pay increase with the pay increase areas. If you put 0% as clear it would show the majority of the state had no pay increase or decline in pay.

        But even then this would be flawed because if one area had a influx of teachers at starting salaries, it would present as the average salary going down.

    • Dirhart

      If this is “sensationalism,” you have a really quiet life.

  • serns

    Is that regular dollars or adjusted for inflation? If not adjusted, then almost everyone got a pay cut.

  • I don’t find this map helpful. Not only do I want to see pay ranges, but cost of living allowance, how these salaries stack up against administrators, starting salaries, etc. Without further information this map is misleading.

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Culmer,

      We’re gathering that info now and will write more on teacher pay later.

  • Makes you want to encourage all your students to go into education!

  • Krueger Sharon

    Assuming this study is correct which I question since I know teachers who have not had increases in the areas noted on this report; teachers should be paid more than a non-teacher.  Teachers are responsible for our children, what more important job is there.  If you want a better America then give the children the best education possible and you will have a better America.  Education is not just about the teachers salaries too, the condition and equipment of the schools is critical.  The programs offered outside of the basic are important.  If we want to insure the growth of this country then we need to improve our educational system not take away from it. 

  • Tomelehman

    One of the critiques against the current lack of funding of teachers’ pay is currently the spending of millions on creating standardized tests. I agree with much of this critique–however; I believe this effort is worthwhile if it means that teachers are being brought into test development processes, nationwide. If we must use standardized tests, they should be assembled by people who should know what they’re doing– not politicians- or worse- secretaries of politicians, who haven’t been in a classroom for three decades or more!

  • Flora Tavo

    Did you know
    that government unionized teachers have jobs for life in the form of tax payer
    funded pensions and that they work less than 190 days out of the entire year?
    These teachers also get to go home at 2:30, unlike the rest of the poor tax
    payers paying for all this good living. And their starting salaries of about
    $34,000 per year to $38,000.


    The average
    teacher: School year = 180 days per year and receives an average salary in
    Florida of $50,000 per year in Florida. 


    Holidays/year= -14

    5 personal
    days/year= -5

    Average of 7
    Sick days/year- -7

    Vacation days???

    Total days
    worked 154 Days/ year


    For that the tax
    payer gets the following: 80% of children graduating from the government run
    and teacher union ruined public school mess are unable to read or perform math
    at grade level.

    • Pc

      FYI -  Those 14 holidays are not included in the 180 teaching days, and you are assuming that every teacher takes all of their sick/personal days every year. Most teachers save them in case of emergencies.

      Add in the fact that many of them go to workshops or prepare for their classrooms during the summer at a rate of $0.00/day, and the professional development days required on top of the 180 teaching days, and most (good) teachers work for 200+ days/year.

      I’m also assuming that you’ve never tried teaching in the classroom. Granted, there are plenty of terrible teachers out there that need to lose their jobs, but until you’ve tried it yourself, you’ll never understand how hard it can be to do your job right.

    • person

      teacher contracts in florida are around 200 days each… most folks with a decent vacation package 4-6 weeks off will work around 220-230… Teachers make far less that any comparably educated and certified profession…and teaching is damn hard… bet you couldn’t do it!

    • Kim DeWitt

      I don’t know what school you are thinking of, our buses don’t pull out of the driveway until around 4:15, Our hours go until 4:30 every day, And at my school we are currently not allowed to come in and work on Saturdays, because too many of us were working on weekends and throughout the summer. How about contacting our superintendent and talk to him about allowing us to get in the building on weekends so you can get your money’s worth!

      • Even though our students do leave by 2 and our day ends officially at 2:30, we stay till 7-7:30p.m. when the custodians kick us out trying to prepare for the next day or the next unit or following up on all the paperwork we cannot possibly do during the day. I refuse to take my work home that is my sanctuary. I would rather stay late than take my work home and invade my family’s precious time together. Oh and did I say that we start at 7a.m. so we really need to be there earlier don’t we? It is a long day and after 30 years, I can look back with fond memories on the job I did!

    • Teacher

      Our contract year is 196 days, 6 of which are vacation days. So if a teacher never goes in on the weekend, they work 190 days per year. We get 10 sick days per year and if we use all of them, then we work 180 days per year. Middle and high school teachers have 100-175 students each…that is 100-175 papers that need graded on a daily basis. We don’t go home at 2:30…our day is from 7:30-3:00 and most teachers do not leave at 3. If we do, we go home and do 3-4 hours of grading/planning per night, so now we are up to 10.5-11.5 hours per day while school is in session. Parent teacher conferences are usually about 30 minutes (after our day is over) and we probably have an average of 40 per year, so that is an extra 20 hours per year. We have a faculty meeting at least once a week for an hour so that is 36 extra hours per year. Let’s not forget researching new lessons, shopping for supplies for students who don’t have pencils, pens and paper…another 50 hours per year + the cost of the supplies. That is a total of 2086 hours of work in a year; trust me, this is an underestimate. For a teacher who makes 40,000/year that is $19.18/hour. All teachers must have at least bachelor’s degrees; many have master’s or doctorate degrees. An engineer makes an average of $75,000 with a BS and works 40 hours per week for 50 weeks per year. That is 2000 hours. That is $37.50 per hour. Since you are so smart, maybe you should be a teacher. I know that as a math teacher, I can be an engineer…can you?

    • yesmam

      Ummm, flora dora: teachers do not go home at 2:30. We have 30 kids in our offices all day, so 3:00 is when we can begin the work of planning, grading, etc. for the coming days and weeks. We are there until the usual workday is over, 5:00, 6:00 P.M.

      • 56patty1

        Sorry, but my school opens at 7 and the kids are gone by 2 we leave at 2:30 if we really could!. Yes, we have TEAMUp for those that need to be watched until 5, but for the most part, most go home. We are a self contained ESE public school, ( PLA, Autistic, TBI, EBD, etc) the last possible place for the kids that cannot survive in the public comprehensive schools, so please do not demean the work we all have to do. Testing, lesson plans, curriculum changes, task data, IEP meetings which can take hours, and oh yes, not to mention the days it takes to to write them after collaborating with therapist, behavior situations, students in wheelchairs that need full assistance to take care of everything and I mean full assistance even for toileting care. So, I really do not understand why you would like me to think you or any of us do more than the other! We are all very overworked, but we love what we do!

  • Flora Tabo

    The most
    expensive and wasteful government run and teacher union ruined public school
    monopoly in the history of man. That is what the US has and we are still ranked
    in 23rd place in education, behind every other industrialized nation on the




    Q1: How many
    students are in the state’s public school system this year?

    A1: about


    Q2: How much is
    budgeted by the state to educate these students?

    A2: $ 22.5
    billion is in the State Appropriation Act (32% of total $ 70.3 billion state
    Appropriation Act)


    Q3: Are there
    additional funds supporting the K-12 system NOT in the Appropriations Act?

    A3: Yes, another
    $ 7.2 billion in local school district property taxes helps to pay for Public
    School costs. These funds do NOT show up in the state budget but are in School
    District budgets. State government mandates most of these property tax levies
    on county citizens. In total, Florida spends about $ 30 billion on its K-12
    public schools.


    Source: Bob Graham Center

    • Wow

      And when you get a credible source, then let us know. Also, I’d like to see you in my classroom for a day. I’m sure that you will run out screaming. I’d also like you to grade my 165 + essays and tests. However, based upon the logic presented in your ignorant, one-sided post, allowing you to do that would be a horrible idea.

      Oh yeah, and stop watching Fox News.

    • Teacher

      The only reason we are ranked behind ANYONE is because we educate EVERYONE from K-12. Most industrialized countries pick and choose the students who will continue on past 7th grade based upon potential for success.

  • Flhdari

    Flora, please get you facts straight.  The average teacher is paid for 37.5 hours per week, yet works 55+ hours, all for a salary that places them at the very bottom of other degreed professionals. 

  • The failure of a student usually starts at home not in the school! Did the State of Florida not trust its own educational department? The legislature has wasted tax payer money and time reinventing a wheel that is broken at home and not in the school! The State lied to its taxpayers to push the lottery through! The solution for more money for schools is lower jackpots for players and higher jackpots for schools! Its so simple to solve! I am still waiting for a “Sunshine law request” from 2 years ago about a breakdown of how much money from the lottery actually makes it to the schools and how much is funneled off by fraud on the taxpayers to other State programs!

    • sally callie

      Finally, someone agrees with me that the failure of a student usually starts at home and NOT in the school. After 10 years teaching, I repeatedly see the connection. Parents are failing at an alarming rate and our youth are suffering. And yet, the family is never a factor in determining a students success or failure.

  • Teacher18

    Last year was the first STEP INCREASE in three years in Polk. Also, not explained by this map (and likely it wasn’t addressed) last year Florida eliminated bonuses for Master’s Degrees (which I had been receiving since moving here) UNLESS the name of the degree matched the certified subject you were teaching. Cut thousands in teacher salaries in one fell swoop. For example, my MS Ed. is called “General Education,” with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. Sorry no such certification or teaching position exists. So is this included because it would seem EVERY county cut pay if true.

  • FLtransplant

    I am all for teachers in any state…..but the education system in FL falls way below the norm and frankly I want to see teacher raises based on merit and performance. I have not been impressed with many of the middle school teachers…..too much apathy.

    • Teacher

      And we have not been impressed with parents either…way too much apathy there.

      • yesmam

        Agreed…not failing schools, just failing families.

  • FLtransplant

    Additionally, our dumb governor has proposed raises for teachers…..and he imposed 3% pay cut to all state workers a few years back. Pink slip this bad governor, blackball raises for teachers unless ALL state workers get raises.

  • Mike

    I would do anything to teach in Florida. Try teaching in North Carolina. We are dying over here. I am make moves to get down there and will be happy with whatever salary I am offered. At least I won’t be abused like here. I don’t think the world knows what is going on in this state.

  • sally callie

    That is why I am leaving.

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