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Then and Now

At the Arlington Sun-Gazette’s “Editor’s Notebook” blog today, Scott McCaffrey provides a “historical” comparison for teacher salaries” after researching their “local history” columns:

“This month back in 1968, for instance, the Sun reported that Arlington's maximum teacher salary for the coming school year would be $11,532.

How does that relate to 2008 dollars? Well, hopping on the Internet, I found an inflation calculator that converted that $11,532 to $72,941 in 2008 dollars. (Full disclosure: Since I couldn't use 2008 on the converter, I substituted 1967 for 1968 and then substituted 2007 for 2008. Close enough for government, and media, work.)

The maximum salary for teachers in the Arlington school system today is well over $90,000, so it turns out that pay in the profession has outpaced inflation pretty well through the past 40 years, at least at the top end if not at the bottom of the salary scale.

In the same edition, I discovered that Fairfax had set a salary of $6,700 for starting teachers in 1968. That converts to $42,378 in today's money. Starting teachers in Fairfax earn a little more than that amount when they start today, but not a whole lot more.

In that respect, it's mirrored a national trend: those at the top take the elevator, those at the bottom get the shaft.”

Scott's comparison of Arlington vs. Fairfax school spending is equally interesting. 

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