The State Auditor says average teacher salaries in Iowa are more competitive than some people contend. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says average teacher pay should be compared to states that have a similar cost of living.Vaudt says among a dozen similar states, Iowa ranks about fifth in terms of average teacher pay. He says that’s a much better measure than comparing Iowa teacher pay to salaries in all 50 states. Vaudt says teacher salaries in places in New York and California obviously have to be much higher because it costs more to live in those states than it does to live in Iowa. But Department of Education director Ted Stilwill says Iowa school districts are competing with schools in every state to recruit and retain teachers. Stilwill says teaching salaries must be considered on a national market scale since schools in places in Texas and California are so heavily recruiting student teachers who’re graduating from Iowa colleges and universities. The National Education Association’s 2003 annual report ranked Iowa teacher salaries 35th in the nation. And Stilwill says an American Federation of Teachers evaluation which did compare states with similar costs of living did not find Iowa’s ranking that much higher than 35th.
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