New teachers would have been making an average of $46,762 per year if salaries kept pace with inflation for the past 30 years, according to a My eLearning World report. However, the current average starting salary for a new teacher is $41,780, according to the data.
This equates to a nearly $4,982 difference in pay per year, "representing an earnings decline of just under 11%," according to the report.
On top of that, the report also revealed that new teachers are pulling in 25% less each year compared to the average college graduate. According to the report, the average new college graduate will earn more than $55,000 per year.
Consumer inflation jumped 7.9% in February over the past year, the sharpest spike since 1982, the Labor Department reported in March. The spike has made it harder for many consumers to afford even necessities like food, gas and rent even with pay raises.
For years, many districts already had trouble filling vacancies, particularly in poorer areas. However, shortages are being felt much more widely now due to absences during a pandemic that is testing educators like no other stretch of their careers.
There are 567,000 fewer teachers working today compared to pre-pandemic times, according to the report.
"The severity of the teacher shortage crisis cannot be overstated," My eLearning World founder Scott Winstead said in a statement. "We simply do not have enough new teachers to fill the vacancies, and it’s starting to affect the quality of education and support our students are receiving."
A shortage in teachers can lead to "crowded classrooms, less one-on-one support for students, and potentially even some schools being forced to close," Winstead said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.