By Susanna Kim (ABC News)
Teacher pay is back in the headlines as the Chicago school teachers went on strike Monday.
The average teacher salary is $71,236 in the Chicago Public School district, which includes elementary schools and high schools, according to the Illinois Interactive Report Card of Northern Illinois University. The average in the state is $64,978.
Jackson Potter, staff coordinator of the Chicago Teachers Union cautioned that the average salary figures likely include a large number of veteran teachers who retired this past spring: More than 1,000 teachers retired, according to the latest figures from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
While negotiations in the nation's third-largest school district are focusing on a number of issues, including job security and teacher evaluations, the complicated issue of teacher pay will always be a point of discussion across the country, said Chris Swanson, a vice president at Education Week.
"The idea that teachers have much more generous benefits packages than other occupations is complicated to get into," Swanson said.
Education Week's "Quality Counts" report published in January looked at teachers' pay parity, which measured teacher pay against 16 comparable occupations in each state.
The analysis found that public school teachers make 94 cents for every dollar earned by workers in 16 comparable occupations, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data from 2010.