Is teacher pay in Arizona 43rd in the country? Or is it 50th? Or 38th? Or 28th?
And we should all pay heed – not because the rankings and data are wrong, per se; they’re not. Or because adversaries in the education-funding realm pick and choose whatever number suits their argument. That’s a given.
It is because the statistical points have merit in helping to frame perspectives, if not the solutions, on how Arizona address teacher pay.
Reports released since last year, including a commonly cited assessment by the Morrison Institute at ASU that many now use as a rallying cry for higher salaries, illustrate the point.
The Morrison Institute report took federal data on salaries, adjusted them with a cost-of-living measurement, and concluded that Arizona’s elementary school teachers ranked 50th and its high school teachers 49th. Another ASU researcher used more granular data with the same sources and similarly found Arizona cities near the bottom among 360 U.S.. cities.