Public School Jobs

Teachers in public schools are required to be highly qualified according federal and state law. Some exceptions are made for hard to fill positions. However, those teachers must immediately begin working towards certification. Public school teachers are required to meet their state’s licensing and certification requirements. The minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required and often continued higher education is necessary.

Public school teachers are required to teach the curriculum standards provided by their state. Standardized testing results commonly determine the state funding a school receives. Therefore, a large emphasis is put on teaching the mandated curriculum.

The class size for public school teachers ranges from 21 to 23 students with the lower end of the range representing elementary classrooms. Some states have legislated maximum class sizes while others provide recommended guidelines.

Compared to other types of schools, public schools are required to enroll any student who resides within the district. Therefore, special education programs are often more common and developed within the public schools.

Diversity is more common in public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 63% of students in public schools are white compared to 77% of private school students.

School violence is a more prevalent problem in the public school setting. Public school teachers are threatened at a rate of 13% more and attacked at a rate of 4% more than their private school teacher counterparts reports a NCES study from 2000.

Teacher salaries in public schools are determined by a salary schedule over 90% of the time according to the NCES. Public school teachers on average have the highest pay. The average pay for a public school teacher is US$46,800 reports the US Census.

The hourly wage for the average public school teacher is US$34.06 according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The same study found that an average work week for public school teachers is 36.5 hours yet noted that teachers often work outside of school hours and likely work more hours. Over half of teachers in the 2006 study report bringing work home.

The majority of public school teachers belong to a teacher’s union. Each year public school teachers must pay dues to their local, state, and national unions. In return, the union works to negotiate contracts between the school board and teachers. Unions also address issues like class size, school discipline procedure and work schedules. Teachers receive personal union representation if needed.

Strong benefits are usually provided for public school teachers. These benefits vary according to district and state but commonly include retirement plans, health benefits, sick leave, life insurance and tuition reimbursement programs. The overall average value of benefits for teachers is 26 cents on every salary dollar according to the US Department of Education.

The following are links to the two largest teachers’ unions in the United States. The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest teaching union with over 3 million members. It is typically present in rural and suburban schools and in the western part of the United States. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second-largest union and is typically located in large cities and the eastern part of the United States. Both organizations advocate for teachers’ rights and an effective education of all students.

The National Education Association

The American Federation of Teachers

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