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.
$40,530 / 9 = $4,503.33 * 12 = $54,040 a year. $33280 / $54,040 = 61.5% of the teacher’s salary.
What this superindent is whining about is that he wants to steal more money from a person making 28.5% less than a teacher so that the teacher can make more. In other words, he wants to WIDEN the income gap. Hypocricy, thy name is MEA.
Yes, think about it. The 3rd year teacher could be only 24 or 25 years old, making over $40,000... with guaranteed raises for time of service and cost of living, cheap benefits, sweet retirement deals, a “can’t get fired” union deal no matter the performance and results. And 2 and a half months off each summer, in which to earn another few thousand dollars. I am getting tired of this mantra about teachers suffering so much financially.
——I think the problem is this BS that somehow teaching is more important work than other careers, its not.-—
You have a point. But it depends on the objective importance of the subject matter (theology/philosophy v. Hotel management) and the receptivity of the learner. Aristotle, as a teacher, would be worth his weight in gold.
But payment for education should never be coerced. Schooling is not synonymous with education, and is often antithetical. Socrates even believed that the professionalization of teaching would obstruct good teaching. Compulsory schooling and compulsory funding of schooling are unjust. Vouchers would be a step in the right direction.
I think Superintendent salaries need to be raised so we get some who are brighter than Ron Wilson.
Ron, send some of your teachers down south. I can probably help them get factory jobs for $10. an hour with no health insurance or retirement.
I graduated in 1970 with a BS in education. It was during that time period (I’d say ‘65 to ‘75) that the profession underwent a sea change. It was the teachers themselves who pushed for more areas of responsibility (i.e. sex ed) because the parents just weren’t as smart as the “experts”.
The educational establishment was behind all the New Age nonsense that has replaced the teaching of fundamentals.
So, if teachers are overburdened with responsiblities previously shouldered by parents, it’s because they asked —— no -—— DEMANDED that they be the sole arbiter of what Johnny would be taught, or with what world view Mary would be indoctrinated.
So now, not only can Johnny not read, Mary has access to birth control or, if that fails, abortion information.
Sidelight: back in the early sixties, when the push for unionization was spearheaded by the AFT, the NEA was adamently opposed to unionizing teachers. Like I said, a sea change
Factory work produces something useful for society...
40 grand sounds like a pretty decent salary to me. Certainly, they're not getting rich, but neither are they paupers.
If they can't get by - perhaps it's time for the wife to work? Or the teacher to take a 2nd, summer job? Or the family to move? Or the teacher to find a higher paying gig? Or any number of other options?
But no. It's easier to sit and whine about the consequences of your decisions.
Truly, GMTA. :-)
I agree but vouchers will never just happen. It will take total commitment to eliminating public education. Vouchers would mean the end of public schools. If people, by choice, could receive a voucher for private schools instead of paying school taxes they would do so in numbers that would financially break the government system. It would also make it obvious to those that don't have kids that they should not have to pay property taxes to pay for schools when the aren't using the system.
If we just put an end to government involvement in education all the other problems will solve themselves. Good teachers and schools will be paid well and bad teachers won't be teachers. Perpetual property taxes to pay for bloated government waste can be eliminated and be a huge step for the reinstatement of the right to own private property.
-—people, by choice, could receive a voucher for private schools instead of paying school taxes they would do so in numbers that would financially break the government system——
Govt school spending averages around $10k/child/yr. Higher in cities.$200k/yr/classroom of 20.
Most school choice plans include vouchers valued at half the per-pupil govt school expenditure. The amount is sufficient to cover the tuition of an inexpensive private school.
Govt schools would lose many students, at first. But competition would force improvement. The resulting system would look like the private college/state university system.
This system would be stable, and could last indefinitely. It would be very difficult to transition to a truly free market. But the possibility of jumping from our current system to a free market is non-existent.
I have serious doubts about this. Government involvement in college education is a complete disaster. The cost is exploding to the point where it's common to debate whether the cost of a college education will EVER pan out for the student.
The same would happen from elementary schools on up.
public schools everywhere, every year are howling for MORE MONEY. Vouchers would cut available funds so drastically they would collapse very quickly without huge tax increases.
And don't forget, the public pressure that will come from those that don't have kids and are not using the system at all. Where is their voucher? Why should they pay anything? If I take my kid out of the local elementary school and get a tax voucher for 5k how do you explain that to my neighbor who has no kids in school but still has to pay the full boat tax?
The Public school system is an unsustainable government cabal. It will collapse. Like a lot of things with big government, it's just taken many years to reach the breaking point. The good news is vouchers would accelerate the collapse and the move to totally private education.
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