Skip to comments.Superintendent Worries Teaching Less Attractive Than Factory Work
Posted on 06/07/2012 7:52:12 AM PDT by MichCapCon
Howell Public Schools Superintendent Ron Wilson says teachers need their salaries raised significantly to ensure teaching career stays viable.
He said he recently talked to a third-year teacher in his district who has a bachelors degree, three children and a stay-at-home wife. According to the district's union contract, that teacher would make $40,530 a year. Wilson said the teachers children are eligible for the reduced/free lunch program.
"You're going to see kids making a choice not to go into education because they don't want to live like paupers. It's unfortunate," Wilson told the Livingston Daily newspaper.
"I start to wonder if they're even going to be able to have enough money to put gas in their car and get to work.
Wilson says teachers starting salaries should be raised by $10,000 to $12,000 a year so schools can attract "the best and brightest." The superintendent asked "how do you justify" someone with no education going to the auto industry and making $33,000 a year with someone with a bachelors degree with college loans who makes a similar salary.
General Motors raised its starting pay in 2011 to $16 an hour, or about $33,280 a year.
The starting salary for a teacher in Howell with a bachelor's degree is $37,452. After 13 years, the top of scale is $72,958. The average salary of a Howell teacher is $63,359, according to the state of Michigan.
But many free-market advocates take issue with Wilsons reasoning.
Charles Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said to compare auto workers with teachers is unrealistic because the autoworker works 12-months a year while a teacher is contractually obligated for nine months.
"If he wants to compare apples to apples, we need to do some converting," Owens said. Howells starting teaching salary converted to 12 months equates to $49,936 a year.
"Lets take that autoworker. He gets married and has three kids. Should GM pay him $50,000?" Owens said. "He has three kids at home and his wife doesnt work. Isnt that the way the private market works? Im being facetious.
"If that job in the auto plant is so desirable, nothing stops a teacher from deciding not to go to college and try for that auto job. Are we losing a lot of teachers to the auto plant? I doubt it."
Owens said a teacher's starting salary isn't out of line what other professional earn in other occupations.
A bachelors degree in education has a median salary of $36,800, according to payscale.com's 2011-12 college salary report. That is higher than starting salaries for degrees in criminal justice ($35,300), health care administration ($36,700), paralegal law ($35,300), sociology ($36,100), and public health ($35,500).
"Everybody starts out at the first job and its not the dream job," Owens said.
Wendy Day, a tea party activist who served on the Howell Public School Board, said that Wilsons example of the teacher with three children and the stay-at-home wife was about choices.
"Thats a choice you make. Going into education is all about choice. They always say it's not about the money. They know the consequences. They know the pay level. They also know there are tons of benefits," Day said. "It's almost like they are surprised what they get paid.
"Being a stay-at-home mom with three kids at $40,000-a-year is not a unique struggle. I dont have a lot of sympathy for that. It's a choice to be a stay-at-home mom. It's a choice to have three kids. It's a choice to have that career. They are all great choices and they have wonderful benefits. But it is still a choice."
Michael Van Beek, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's director of education policy, said raising teacher pay scales doesn't necessary reward the "best and the brightest."
He said that's because the public school's pay schedule is based solely on level of education and years of service.
Michigan Capitol Confidential reported that seven gym teachers in Troy Public Schools made more money than a science teacher honored as a national teacher of the year.
"If there were an open market for teachers, high-performing ones would probably be compensated better than they currently are," Van Beek said. "The problem is that union contracts distort the teacher labor market and prohibit schools from paying good teachers more. All teachers are paid the same regardless of their performance, and this artificially reduces the wages of the best teachers."
Can I observe that words have meaning?
They are saying that good people won’t go into education because they don’t want to live like paupers. What the heck kind of word choice is that?
So, 40 grand a year is living like a pauper? I agree that such a person is not getting rich, but such a person is not a pauper. What the heck are they talking about?
And this pauper can make up to 72 grand along with a benefit package after a number of years on the job. That’s living as a pauper, so people will not want those jobs? Really????
I must be missing something somewhere.
Well, if you ask teachers they'll tell you how important their work is, how it's more of a "calling" than a vocation like the rest of schlubs, that they're on a higher level, sacrificing their needs for the good of the community. In fact, most government workers will give you that spiel.
I just bet the supertendent of this obscure school district makes between $175,000 and $300,000 per year (with many benefits and a smooth retirement benefit added to that). These “educators” have such a racket.
You can tell that Mr. Wilson has never worked in a factory if he thinks that teachers are going to be leaving for factory jobs.
Reason #79 to homeschool.
It’s the Supt position that is worthless.
What, exactly, does this loser do that couldn’t be duplicated with greater sucess by a Class of 1948 High School Grad?
Hey Supt, about giving up some of your salary so that the teachers (who are the ONLY ones doing any work) get better pay?
Cut the propaganda! Most beginning teachers in WI make $50k PLUS Cadillac health, life, and retirement plans for which they contribute almost nothing. It used to be that they contributed nothing, but Scott Walker changed that so that they now contribute a small amount towards those benefits.
I just looked at my Mom’s retirement benefit (CA teacher). She’s been retired more than 25 years and she gets zlmost $3000 per month to live on, PLUS quarterly payments of another $3000. Not too shabby, I’d say.
In WI the teachers retire at 50 and go back to work at the same job, same classroom the next day collecting pay PLUS retirement benefits almost equal to their pay. Not too shabby.
I defy you to find a factory job that has anything like that.
if this teacher is so dang smart and talented, let him go find that job that requires only 8-9 months of work, fantastic benefits, and pension, and gets assured that he'll never be fired, ever...
btw...the superintendent just wants his paycheck to increase...the more we have to pay the underlings, the more he'll demand...
72 grand after only 13 years of service in a job that only lasts 9 months out of the year is not a bad deal at all, and that doesn’t include other tangible and intangible benefits like job security and health insurance. Notice that they’re focused on the small starting salaries, but many skilled, even degreed, people don’t make 72 grand in 13 years.
Perhaps if teachers were permitted to enforce discipline in the classroom and TEACH foundational tools of life, rather than indoctrinate a liberal agenda, the career field would be more appealing?
Oh the poor teachers only making $63k per 8.5 MONTHS!!
How long do you have to work at a private sector job before you get THREE MONTHS VACATION!
Its time to END GOVERNMENT EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT EDUCATORS and Take ALL schools private.
End unconstitutional perpetual property taxes to pay for government teachers.
Only people with kids should pay for school and when they are done being educated you get to STOP PAYING!
Sorry for the rant but the government school system is the single most screwed up example of why we MUST have strictly limited government.
This article is full of half-truths.
I live in NY, a state very much like MI. For one, teachers’ salaries may start at the level, but they do rise with seniority. Also, they get excellent benefits. Of course, they only work 8 months per year. Most teachers I know also have summer jobs.
Regardless of what he says, personnel costs are 70-75%% of our local district year budget
Moreover, teachers (or their unions) have chosen to have MANY teachers vs. having fewer with higher pay. Again, here in our NY district, we have a teacher for everything. Computer room? Teachers needed. Guidance counselors? 4 for 400 seniors. Librarians? Several. PE teachers and coaches - many!
It's 40 grand per 8.5 months!!
Or in other words, "private schools."
I call BS. I started out as a teacher with a stay at home wife at 28K a year.
They should be paid what the market will bare just like everyone else.
I think the problem is this BS that somehow teaching is more important work than other careers, its not. This is why the only true fix for our school system is to get rid of government education and take all schools private. The best teachers will get paid like the best and the bad ones will likely have to find other work.
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