U.S. teachers work hard. They clock a ton of hours every week but how do they stack up against the rest of the world? What about how much they’re paid? According to a new set of statistics by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, it’s easier than ever before to compare and contrast the U.S. education system on a global scale. While the charts are mainly from 2007, they provide a holistic perspective that has been missing.
- U.S. teachers spend more time teaching than other countries. But the salaries don’t reflect this. Mexico is in a similar boat.
- 15-year teachers get paid the most in Luxembourg, Korea and Switzerland.
- Teachers in Korea spend the fewest number of hours teaching but get paid more than almost all other countries.
- Russia, Italy and Hungary have the most female teachers. Turkey and Japan have the smallest percentage.
- There are many takeaways from this study and also more than a few questions. For example, this is obviously not enough information to draw any real conclusions. Is it better to work in Korea than in any other country? Probably not. Is Japan sexist in hiring teachers? Relative to other countries, yes. In reality Japan has about 50% female teachers which wouldn’t scream out sexism to me, in my opinion.
American teachers spend on average 1,080 hours teaching each year. Across the O.E.C.D., the average is 794 hours on primary education, 709 hours on lower secondary education, and 653 hours on upper secondary education general programs. The following charts are via The New York Times. Be sure to check out additional information here.
American teachers’ pay is more middling. The average public primary-school teacher who has worked 15 years and has received the minimum amount of training, for example, earns $43,633, compared to the O.E.C.D. average of $39,007.
Comparing each country’s teacher salaries to the wealth of that country makes United States educational salaries appear lower. In the United States, a teacher with 15 years of experience makes a salary that is 96 percent of the country’s gross domestic product per capita. Across the O.E.C.D., a teacher of equivalent experience makes 117 percent of G.D.P. per capita. At the high end of the scale, in Korea, the average teacher at this level makes a full 221 percent of the country’s G.D.P. per capita.
The demographics of teachers in the United States look similar to those of teachers elsewhere in the developed world.
Across public and private institutions at all levels of education, 69.4 percent of teachers are women, compared with 65.1 percent across the O.E.C.D. Among those developed and developing countries covered by this report, the percentage is highest in Russia (78.3 percent, and the share of women reaches 98.7 percent if you look at only primary education), and lowest in Turkey (46.8 percent across all levels of education).
The percentage of women instructors in post-secondary (also called tertiary) education is 41.6 percent in the United States, compared to 39 percent across the O.E.C.D. Of the countries for which data are available, the share of women teaching higher education is lowest in Japan, at 17.9 percent.