A sharp-eyed reader of The Maine Monitor’s recent story on teacher retirements and resignations seized on one mention deep in the article: that the state’s teachers were the lowest paid in New England.
We decided to take a look. Data from the National Education Association (NEA) shows that Maine teacher salaries were, on average, just over $57,000 in 2020-21. That’s indeed lower than the rest of the New England states; Massachusetts leads the pack at over $86,000, on average, and ranks second in the nation, according to the NEA.
As our story pointed out, Gov. Janet Mills approved a minimum teacher wage of $40,000.
The Monitor also reported that more than 1,200 educators, including teachers, education technicians and administrators, quit in 2021 before reaching retirement age, the most in the past seven years, according to data compiled by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. In the same year, another 821 teachers, administrators and other educators retired, a slight decrease from 2020.
The state schools also faces a shortage of “ed techs” who are crucial partners in many classrooms, especially those with special education students. In 2021, a total of 504 people in two state ed tech job categories quit, according to the retirement figures — the highest number in seven years. As of mid summer of this year, 239 ed techs had left their jobs, a slower pace than a year ago, the Monitor reported.
Below is a breakdown of teacher salaries by state, with Maine highlighted in orange and other New England states shown in gold.