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Superintendent Worries Teaching Less Attractive Than Factory Work
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 6/4/2012 | Tom Gantert

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 bachelor’s 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 teacher’s 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 teacher’s 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 bachelor’s 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 Wilson’s 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. Howell’s starting teaching salary converted to 12 months equates to $49,936 a year.

"Let’s 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 doesn’t work. Isn’t that the way the private market works? I’m 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 bachelor’s 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 it’s not the dream job," Owens said.

Wendy Day, a tea party activist who served on the Howell Public School Board, said that Wilson’s example of the teacher with three children and the stay-at-home wife was about choices.

"That’s 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 don’t 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."


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: michigan; skools; teaching; unions; whining

1 posted on 06/07/2012 7:52:22 AM PDT by MichCapCon
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To: Springman; Sioux-san; 70th Division; JPG; PGalt; DuncanWaring
Something for year round union factory workers to take note of. You ain't crap in the eyes of the oh so superior teachers.

If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
2 posted on 06/07/2012 7:55:41 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: MichCapCon

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.


3 posted on 06/07/2012 7:58:27 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: MichCapCon
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 bachelor’s degree with college loans who makes a similar salary.

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.

4 posted on 06/07/2012 7:59:21 AM PDT by randog (Tap into America!)
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To: cripplecreek

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.


5 posted on 06/07/2012 8:00:06 AM PDT by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: MichCapCon

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.


6 posted on 06/07/2012 8:00:52 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: MichCapCon
"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."

I was going to post words to this effect when I saw that it was already in the article. Good teachers are GOLD to our society. They should be paid extremely well. The problem is that "teacher pay" is monolithic, unlike pay in any other profession. If all doctors made the same amount, the drive to be a better doctor would be minimal. If all baseball players made the same amount, no one would bother practicing. UNIONS ARE THE PROBLEM
7 posted on 06/07/2012 8:01:45 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: cripplecreek
The real issue isn't the pay... it's the environment. Teachers are asked to be parents, cops, guidance counselors, child care supervisors, referees... doing anything and everything but delivering valuable information to children. The situation is made worse when all the tools that might be useful to maintain order and discipline in the classroom have been systematically taken away. That's why cops get called into classrooms; teachers are not allowed to touch a kid who is misbehaving, but cops may legally do so. To this add the fact that school administration is essentially a political function trying to look good for the local community, and you find that the odds of success are badly stacked against both the teachers and the kids they're supposed to teach.

Reason #79 to homeschool.

8 posted on 06/07/2012 8:03:46 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: MichCapCon

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?


9 posted on 06/07/2012 8:05:24 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: MichCapCon

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.


10 posted on 06/07/2012 8:08:28 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: MichCapCon
I would have loved to stay home full time with my 3.....these jerks really are just over the top....

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...

arrogant....

btw...the superintendent just wants his paycheck to increase...the more we have to pay the underlings, the more he'll demand...

11 posted on 06/07/2012 8:09:07 AM PDT by cherry
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To: Dilbert San Diego

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.


12 posted on 06/07/2012 8:10:43 AM PDT by CitizenUSA (Why celebrate evil? Evil is easy. Good is the goal worth striving for.)
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To: MichCapCon

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?


13 posted on 06/07/2012 8:11:23 AM PDT by G Larry (Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding)
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To: cripplecreek
"The average salary of a Howell teacher is $63,359, according to the state of Michigan. "

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.

14 posted on 06/07/2012 8:12:21 AM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: MichCapCon

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!


15 posted on 06/07/2012 8:14:34 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: Dilbert San Diego
"So, 40 grand a year is living like a pauper? "

It's 40 grand per 8.5 months!!

16 posted on 06/07/2012 8:14:40 AM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: precisionshootist
Only people with kids should pay for school and when they are done being educated you get to STOP PAYING!

Or in other words, "private schools."

17 posted on 06/07/2012 8:20:10 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Make sure you notice when I'm being subtly ironic!)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: MichCapCon

I call BS. I started out as a teacher with a stay at home wife at 28K a year.

Stop complaining.


19 posted on 06/07/2012 8:21:13 AM PDT by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
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To: babble-on
"Good teachers are GOLD to our society. They should be paid extremely well."

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.

20 posted on 06/07/2012 8:24:42 AM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: MichCapCon

$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.


21 posted on 06/07/2012 8:37:50 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

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.


22 posted on 06/07/2012 8:41:06 AM PDT by NEMDF
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To: precisionshootist

——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.


23 posted on 06/07/2012 8:42:17 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: MichCapCon

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.


24 posted on 06/07/2012 8:54:08 AM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: MichCapCon
Because there is no longer physical discipline allowed in public schools, two of my friends quit their teaching careers after the second time both were spit on by their students. I guess one could say the job didn't pay enough to put up with that.
25 posted on 06/07/2012 9:21:05 AM PDT by drypowder
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To: Oberon

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


26 posted on 06/07/2012 9:27:22 AM PDT by PA BOOKENDS
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To: MichCapCon

Factory work produces something useful for society...


27 posted on 06/07/2012 9:27:56 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MichCapCon
According to the district's union contract, that teacher would make $40,530 a year. Wilson said the teacher’s children are eligible for the reduced/free lunch program.

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.

28 posted on 06/07/2012 9:58:21 AM PDT by wbill
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To: Dilbert San Diego
Man, I didn't read your post before I posted more-or-less the exact same thing. Really.

Truly, GMTA. :-)

29 posted on 06/07/2012 9:59:58 AM PDT by wbill
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
"Vouchers would be a step in the right direction."

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.

30 posted on 06/07/2012 10:03:15 AM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: precisionshootist

-—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.


31 posted on 06/07/2012 11:14:06 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
"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."

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.

32 posted on 06/07/2012 1:09:19 PM PDT by precisionshootist
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