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NEA report: Florida’s teachers remain among nation’s worst paid

TALLAHASSEE — Despite Gov. DeSantis’ claims about educator salaries, Florida continues to rank 48th in the nation for average teacher pay, according to figures released this week by the National Education Association (NEA). For the 2018-2019 school year when the governor took office, our state ranked one notch higher, at 47th.

“Gov. DeSantis has been focused on divisive culture wars while our students and their families need real solutions to real problems, such as our critical shortage of teachers and staff,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andrew Spar. “Ask educators why they’re leaving the profession, and they’ll tell you low pay and a lack of respect. This governor has failed to adequately address pay while actively promoting political division in our schools.”

Florida lawmakers have bumped up starting pay for teachers in recent years, but experienced educators have been left behind, due partly to a complex tangle of 20-plus laws that govern teacher salaries. Some experienced teachers now find themselves earning about the same as a new recruit.

This year’s NEA report, the Rankings of the States 2022 and Estimates of School Statistics 2023, shows that average teacher pay in Florida remained at 48th in the nation for the 2021-2022 school year, the same as in the previous school year. Starting pay meanwhile jumped from a ranking of 29th for 2019-2020 to 16th for 2020-2021 and held that ranking in the newest report.*

As has long been true, average teacher salaries remained higher in neighboring states for 2021-2022, with Alabama ranking 33rd and Georgia, 21st. Meanwhile, inflation is taking a bite out of paychecks nationwide. In real dollars, average teacher salaries are down 6.4 percent across the United States over the past 10 years, NEA reports.

“What we need is a significant investment in raising pay for educators at all levels of experience, including for veteran teachers,” Spar said. “All of our students deserve a high quality education in Florida’s public schools. To state the obvious, it takes teachers and staff to provide that.”

The NEA has released four reports on education funding and salaries:

  • Rankings and Estimates, which provides a wide array of school funding statistics and includes the average teacher salary by state and nationally.
  • Teacher Salary Benchmark Report, which provides information from nearly 12,000 school districts on average pay for new teachers, as well as additional career points.
  • ESP Earnings Report, which offers a breakdown of educational support professional (ESP) pay in K-12 and higher education.
  • Higher Education Faculty Salary Analysis, which looks at full-time faculty and graduate assistant salaries at the national, state and institutional level.

To view the reports, go to http://nea.org/educatorpay.

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CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org, (850) 201-3223


The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

* This press release was corrected on May 4, 2023, to reflect the NEA’s recalculated ranking for beginning teacher pay in Florida for 2021-2022. The correct ranking is 16th, not 15th as was initially released.

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