Cost of a Good Teacher: 131 City Teachers Make $100k

Originally published on FOX 45 NEWS - Baltimore

MPPI in the News Chris Papst | FOX 45 NEWS Apr 30, 2018

Teachers across the county are walking out, demanding more pay. Educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona have all gone on strike this year. Project Baltimore looked into what teachers in our region earn and why some say it’s also not enough.


“If a teacher can provide a good education for my child or anybody else’s child in Baltimore City, absolutely pay them,” says Caron Gilliam, a Baltimore City parent who spoke with Project Baltimore.


At $48,430, Baltimore City teachers have the highest starting salary. They also have the region’s highest top salary of $102,832. Though, neighboring districts are close.


“Our stance is, we try to get the best salaries for our teachers because our teachers in Baltimore City don't just teach,” says Baltimore Teachers Union President, Marietta English. “They become the mother, the doctor, the social worker, the psychologist for our students. So they're not just a teacher. They become all things to some of these students.”


Through a public records request, Project Baltimore obtained City Schools’ employee database. The District has about 4,900 teachers. In a city where the median household income is $44,000, we found 1541, or 32 percent of all teachers, made more than $80,000.


“Eighty thousand dollars in Baltimore City to teach? That’s absolutely enough. And if they are not producing, they may need to find another profession,” says Gilliam.


Project Baltimore also counted 131 teachers who made more than $100,000 in 2017.


“I would ask, where are the results?" says Jennifer Butler with the Maryland Public Policy Institute.


Butler says teachers earning six-figure salaries can attract and retain the best talent. But the highest salaries, she says, should be tied to improved student outcomes.


And in Baltimore, outcomes are the lowest in the region and not getting better. Recent federal government test results show Baltimore is third lowest performing city in America, behind Detroit and Cleveland.


“You pay for results. And we're not getting results there. I think what it tells me is that there really needs to be greater accountability and top-to-bottom transparency,” says Butler.


But English points out that city teachers deal with city problems. And a 2016 Baltimore Teachers Union study found those individual teachers who earn higher salaries tended to produce students with higher test scores.


“Everybody comes through a teacher. Everybody. So, I don't think we're ever paid enough money for the work that we do,” says English.


According to Business Insider, Maryland teachers are the 8th highest paid in America with an average salary of $66,961. But recent federal test scores show state students perform at just slightly better than the national average.