Women administrators “have to work longer, harder and smarter” to get equal pay
In Idaho, school administrators who are female make about as much money as their male counterparts, but they achieve higher levels of education and work more days to do so, according to a recent study by the Boise State University.
The study looked at the salaries of K-12 principals and administrators in non-chartered public schools and found that female superintendents have an income advantage of about half a percent over their male counterparts. . But women in those positions are more likely to have doctorates, work more days each year, and on average have two and a half more years of study on their resumes, according to figures from the past two school years. Women superintendents also run larger districts, on average, to get these comparable paychecks.
In contrast, women who are principals earn about $ 2,300 less per year than the senior man who earns on average in Idaho – an average of just over $ 87,000 per year.
Women “have to work longer, harder, and smarter” as school administrators, said Heather Williams, BSU education professor and study co-author.
Wendell Middle School Principal Brian Jadwin led the research while completing an Honors Masters in Education at BSU under the teaching of Williams. Earlier this month, Williams and Jadwin presented the results of their study to some of his subjects – school administrators in Idaho – at an annual conference for principals.
The differences in the way women and men are paid can be explained by a wide range of factors, Jadwin said.
One is the lack of a state administrative pay scale. While teachers are paid according to a career ladder, which awards salaries based on experience and education level, districts have more leeway to negotiate salaries for superintendents and principals. While some districts have created similar salary ranges for their administrator, the lack of a statewide executive can create pay gaps, Jadwin told conference attendees.
But the co-authors point out that several other factors could play a role in the pay differentials, including:
- Women may be less likely to negotiate their salary with school boards, especially if their salary is not listed as “negotiable” on job descriptions.
- Women are more likely to be principals in elementary schools than in middle schools, where incomes are higher for both women and men. This lowers the average income of women.
- The types, sizes and locations of schools can all help explain the differences in administrator salaries, according to the study. This can make it more difficult to isolate the influence of gender on earnings.
Administrators in urban school districts also tend to earn significantly more than those in rural districts, the researchers reported.
Also note: Most K-12 administrators in the state are men. Of the BSU directors examined, 44% were women, but among the superintendents, 26% were women. This could be the result of steering or social expectations making women less likely to take on these roles, the study suggests.
Pilotage, along with slower-than-teacher salary increases for administrators, can prevent teachers from moving into administrative jobs, or “going to the dark side,” as Jadwin joked.
Charter schools were not included in the study, Williams said, because their varying sizes and styles make comparisons between traditional school districts even more complicated.
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