The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk, on Oct. 12. (Photo by Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)

The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk, on Oct. 12. (Photo by Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)

Same data, gentler framing: State publishes previously suppressed wage analysis for teachers

An article in the latest issue of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s magazine outlines the data behind shrinking teacher wages in Alaska.

Dunleavy administration staff stopped the publication of the article last month, which was slated to be the cover article. It was published in this month’s issue, but not as a cover article and with a different headline, after reporting from multiple news outlets and op-ed pieces from current and former Labor Department leaders who expressed their discontent with what they said was censorship and suppression of state data.

The new framing of the article is gentler: The headline went from “Teachers’ shrinking wage advantage” to “How teachers’ wages compare,” but little in the article itself changed at all.

The numbers bear out what teachers and education advocates have said for years: Alaska’s teacher wages have dropped and it is the only state in the country without a defined pension for teachers.

Between the 1980s and the 1990s, Alaska lost much of its competitive pay advantage, or pay premium, which has hovered closer to the average national pay since. New teachers now make less over the course of their careers — educators who started careers in fiscal year 2012 earned roughly $2,000 per year less than those who did 10 years before — and the state is losing teachers faster than it can hire them.

The report comes as Alaska school districts report problems hiring teachers. Earlier this year, Dunleavy vetoed half of a $175 million one-time boost to education funding that was approved by the Legislature.

• Claire Stremple is a reporter based in Juneau who got her start in public radio at KHNS in Haines, and then on the health and environment beat at KTOO in Juneau. This article originally appeared online at alaskabeacon.com. Alaska Beacon, an affiliate of States Newsroom, is an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on connecting Alaskans to their state government.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of March 4

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Micheal Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, March 3, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Issa Spatrisano, Alaska state refugee resettlement coordinator for Catholic Social Services, speaks Monday during a presentation to the Alaska Legislature. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, Alaska’s refugee picture looks wildly different

Alaska has welcomed more than 1,000 refugees from Ukraine since the war began

A view of Gastineau Channel, where a second crossing between Juneau and Douglas north of the current bridge is in the evaluation stage. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Second Juneau-Douglas crossing to cost about $400M, be completed by 2030, in revised state transportation plan

Update also envisions Cascade ferry terminal by ‘25, safety fixes at Fred Meyer intersection by ‘26.

The State Office Building in Juneau is seen on Tuesday, Jan. 16. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska plans to ease rules on state purchases without multiple price quotes

The state of Alaska is planning to raise the maximum size of… Continue reading

Emergency response officials probe the wreckage of a simulated avalanche site during a training exercise in Lemon Creek on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Simulated disaster strikes — repeatedly — as do rescue efforts during avalanche training exercise

Staged burial of three homes implores multitude of agencies to share specialized response skills

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, March 2, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, March 1, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read