Once, teachers in New Jersey were the highest paid in the nation.
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics and analyzed by Philly.com, show that New Jersey and Pennsylvania teachers are still among the highest paid in the nation, but have lost more ground salary-wise than other top states since 2000.
In New Jersey, public school teachers earned $68,797 in estimated average salaries among all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2012-13 school year.
However, they were the highest paid in the 1999-2000 school year when they earned an average salary of $71,216 in inflation-adjusted dollars. That represents a 3.4 percent drop in pay over the period in real earnings.
Pennsylvania teachers, currently at ninth on the list of estimated salaries, saw a four percent drop over the same period of 2000 to 2013. Teachers in the Commonwealth ranked fifth in salary at the millenium.
In fact, of the top 10 states for salaries this year, New Jersey and Pennsylvania teachers saw the biggest drop in earning power since the millenium. That came as teachers in most of the other states experienced salary increases, except for Connecticut which saw a small salary drop.
For New Jersey, the trend of dropping salaries came as standardized test scores of fourth graders (the benchmark used) began increasing over the average scores of their peers nationally in math. The trend is similar in Pennsylvania, although students slightly less so, on average, as those in New Jersey.
The table below shows salaries over the years: