Things You Should Know About Teacher Pay: Part 4 –Shouldn’t We Compensate What We Value Most?

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

August 3, 2016

By Marianne Lombardo

This is Part 4 of a new blog series responding to renewed interest in teacher compensation. We’re featuring infographics to convey what we know about teacher pay and its relationship to ensuring equal education opportunity for all students. 

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

teacher pay pic

In Part 3, our two infographics showed that 1) we lose far too many of our most effective teachers – aka the “Irreplaceables” – and 2) strategic compensation plans can help retain great teachers in schools with students who most need them.


It's not just Beyonce who's irreplaceable.
It’s not just Beyonce who’s irreplaceable.


This week, our infographic conveys how teacher compensation systems reflect a community’s priorities and values. The debate is not whether there should be differential compensation for teachers and other school staff but rather which types of differential compensation districts already employ and toward what ends.

It probably comes as no surprise that when it comes to the state of “Friday Night Lights,” coaches are highly paid. But what’s disappointing is that similar investments are not made in Texas’ classroom teachers. We found:

  • In Houston, Texas, the average public high school head football coach out-earns the average high school teacher by about $30,000 per year; and,
  • The annual salaries of the highest earning football coaches exceed the maximum annual salaries of teachers by nearly $50,000.

teacher-coach pay infographic


We are not calling for drastic reductions in football coaches’ salaries. What we would like to see is parity between sports and academics. Our children are our most precious resource. Equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets they need for a quality life is the most important thing we can do as a nation. It’s time to live up to our values, to put great teachers in front of all our children, and to compensate them at levels that they – like their colleagues in athletics – so richly deserve.