When my wife and I got serious, I eventually learned how much she made. Because my mother was a teacher, I knew they didn't make the "big bucks." Nevertheless, it seemed smaller than I expected. I know my old employer paid more to recent graduates for entry level positions than experienced teachers seemed to make.
Years later, teacher pay is a big issue in her school district. It is semi-rural and many of the residents are opposed to spending much on education. Indeed, her district spends less per pupil per year than similar districts and the town has a very low tax rate. Nevertheless, the economic crisis has given anti-education zealots the excuse to try to break open the union contract. Simply put, unless the teachers agree to reduce their pay (despite a contract), the district will lay off a number of teachers. Furthermore, they are making comments that it is criminal for teachers to allow the layoffs to occur.
Watching this drama unfold, I have been struck by the venom of people who want teachers to make as little as possible. If you read their comments in the papers, you would think teachers make CEO salaries with enormous bonuses. While I do not know the exact number, I would guestimate the average teacher in the district makes $50K per year + benefits.