The latest rankings from the National Education Association indicate the average pay for Iowa teachers ranked 40th in the nation during the last school year.
That is up from 42nd in the country the previous year, according to Linda Nelson, president of the Iowa State Education Association. Nelson says revised figures show Iowa’s 2004/2005 ranking was worse than originally thought, at 42nd instead of 41st in the country. But an “infusion” of state taxdollars this spring raises Iowa’s ranking to 40th among the states — $24 million in new state money was dedicated to raising teacher salaries. “Coupled with that, there was a lower-than-expected health insurance premium cost, so that really did boost salaries,” Nelson says.
The national data shows the “downward spiral” in Iowa teacher pay may be ending, according to Nelson. “We’re moving in the right direction with teacher salaries,” Nelson says. “The commitment is there from legislative leaders to over continue over a four year to raise Iowa teacher salaries to at least 25th in the nation.”
The average Iowa teacher salary for the last academic year was just under $41,000. Nelson says that is still $8,200 less than the national average and significantly less than the salaries paid to teachers in neighboring states like Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. She says teachers can cross the Mississippi River and earn nearly $17,000 a year more in Illinois than they do here.
The Iowa State Education Association represents about 32,000 teachers.