With all the acrimony between teachers and provincial governments lately, particularly in Ontario, it may be worth taking a moment to take stock of the big picture, and compare teachers in Canada to others around the world.
On one measure — pay — Canadian teachers are doing very well for themselves, compared to the rest of the world.
The World Economic Forum blog recently ranked the countries with the highest teachers’ salaries, based on data from the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2015 report. It pegged down the average salary for a teacher in a lower secondary public school, meaning a junior high or middle school.
The numbers show Canadian teachers are the third-best paid in the world, behind only teachers in Luxembourg and Germany.
Of course, relatively generous teachers salaries’ don’t mean Canadian governments are running a generous education system.
According to World Bank data, Canadian governments have become much stingier with education spending. Total spending amounted to more than 8 per cent of GDP in the 1970s, and has steadily declined to less than 5 per cent of GDP in recent years.
Total public education spending as a % of GDP, Canada: