Skip to comments.Are Teachers Underpaid? Letís Find Out
Posted on 07/24/2014 7:09:56 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
A teacher in South Dakota with a bachelors degree and 10 years of experience earns $33,600 per year, which is less than the average auto-repair worker. So says Vox. This grievance against salary injustice is nothing new, of course, but this particular example comes to us from a new national study by the Center for American Progress, which details the chickenfeed teachers are forced to subsist on as they altruistically keep your hopeless children literate.
Teachers are underpaid. In politics, and also in everyday life, this is almost universally accepted. Everyone admires teachers. Everyone wants good teachers for their children. And, naturally, liberals believe contrasting these salaries will emphasize the irrationality and unfairness of the marketplace.
But it doesnt. And the first, and most obvious, reason it doesnt is that teachers actually do quite well for themselves considering the economic realities of their profession.
A 2012 study conducted by the Heritage Foundation found that workers who switched from private employment to teaching most often took an hourly pay increase, while most of those who left teaching for the private sector took pay decreases. More specifically, a few years back, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey numbers, the Manhattan Institute looked at the hourly pay of public school teachers in the top 66 metropolitan areas in the country. It found that teachers pulled in around $34.06 per hour. Journalists, who have vital job of protecting American democracy, earned 24 percent less. Architects, 11 percent less. Psychologists, 9 percent. Chemists, 5 percent.
Its also worth asking what an average auto mechanic a person that CAP and Vox intimates is undeserving of a teacher-level compensation might be willing to give up for the security of tenure? What would a guaranteed pension and a lifetime of health care coverage be worth to a plumber? Considering how hard unions fight to keep these things, I imagine theyre worth quite a bit.
Then there is the matter of demand. Or, lack of it. According to Andrew Coulson at the Cato Institute, since 1970 the public school workforce has roughly doubled from 3.3 million to 6.4 million (predominately teachers), while over the same period the enrollment of children rose by only 8.5 percent or a rate that was 11 times slower. Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality found that schools are training twice as many K-5 elementary school teachers as they need every year.
With this kind of surplus, the question we really should be asking is: how are teacher salaries so high?
The second, and less obvious problem, with Voxs mechanic-teacher comparison is the snobbish suggestion thrown around by teachers unions and their allies all the time that working with your hands is less meaningful or valuable to society than working with kids.
Now, auto technicians make an average of $35,790 nationally, with 10 percent of them earning more than $59,590, according to BLS data. According to a number of experts from large car companies, there will be a serious shortage of mechanics in the near future, as demand expected to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. Thats 848,200 jobs, according to USA Today. And judging from the information, mechanics are asked to learn increasingly high-tech skills to be effective at their jobs. It wouldnt be surprising if their salaries soon outpaced those of teachers.
The bottom line, says TAC, is that mid- and late-career teachers are not earning what they deserve, nor are they able to gain the salaries that support a middle-class existence.
Alas, neither liberal think tanks nor explainer sites have the capacity to determine the worth of human capital. And contrasting the pay of a person with a predetermined government salary to one earned in a competitive marketplace tells us little. A public school teachers compensation is determined by a contract negotiated long before many of them had even decided to teach. These contracts hurt the earning potential of good teachers and undermine education system. And it has nothing to do with what anyone deserves.
Example: though we produce too many teachers in general, there isnt nearly enough math and science teachers. Salaries do not reflect this reality. If math teachers pulled in what they were worth say, for arguments sake, $70,000 the problem would be corrected. But that would also mean plenty of other teachers would be making exactly what they deserve. And thats what the NEAs been fighting for 40 or so years.
So if teachers believe they arent making what theyre worth, and they may well be right about that, lets free them from union constraints and let them find out what the job market has to offer. Until then we cant really know. Because a bachelors degree isnt a dispensation from the vagaries of economic reality. And teaching isnt the first step towards sainthood. Regardless of what youve heard.
In Montgomery County Maryland, they make 100K plus after 20 years for sure. They start out around 45K but it is increased every year.
I’d say those teacher salary numbers are fake.
Same in Wisconsin. It isn’t quite the gravy train it was before Scott Walker, but the money is quite good and the benefits are still better than the private sector.
I have friends who are retired teachers. They live on a golf course and have a vacation home next to a former solicitor general of the United States.
FWIW, I don’t make 45k after nearly 20 years in the news media. I chose poorly.
>>Journalists, who have vital job of protecting American democracy, earned 24 percent less.
How can anyone take a story seriously that says that?
When I was a pup, teachers got paid only for the 9-10 months they worked. Almost all of them had summer jobs which, in most cases, made them better teachers.
Some of them even started businesses. My 5th grade science teacher was one of the founders of Swanson`s Vitamins, a highly reputable and successful company.
To the headline - NO NO NO!!!!
“Teachers are underpaid.”
I’m married to one.
Not including extra’s, she makes north of $60 per hour with 20 years in.
In Chicago, 90K plus isn’t unusual, BEFORE BENNIES.
For 185 6.5 hour days.
More if you have a master’s, or a doctorate.
A while back I went on an Earthwatch expedition. You get to participate in a research expedition, as a paying member, in my case my share was a few grand, a little more for the right gear and of course some new lenses for the camera, and plane tickets.
Four members of the expedition were teachers on a grant- they paid nothing in return for giving a one-hour lecture when they got back to school. The grant included funding for camera equipment and airfare.
So while their salaries may have been lower than mine, I had to pay and they rode free, boosting their apparent salaries by three or four thousand.
http://earthwatch.org/ is a good outfit that can get you into some very interesting places, like on a riverboat in the Amazon looking for pink freshwater dolphins.
Working people, you don't perform your job well, you're fired.
Teachers, you don't perform your job well, so what.
My dad taught in Montgomery County High Schools over 40 yrs ago and never once complained about the pay. He always felt he was well paid and loved teaching. He raised 4 kids and had a wife that was a homemaker. He moved us away from that area into PA and would travel 1.5 hrs each way for his job but he was always grateful and never complained. I am just amazed how teachers making $65,000 per year for 180 day act like they are underpaid
I’ve dated teachers in the past and my sister is a special education teacher. They get a lot of freebies like that and many discounts on homes, mortgages, car loans and many other things.
That was thrown in their as red meat for the leftists, the author probably didn’t mean it.
YES. They are not underpaid. Teachers don’t have to compete with each other. Schools don’t have to compete for talent. Teachers can rarely be fired. This is a recipe for lousy unmotivated teachers. Are there good teachers? Certainly. But are the underpaid? Not at all. With their benefits and part time job they are paid a lot.
I teach middle school, and this guy has no idea what it's like to spend all day with attitudinal, hormonal 12-13 year olds, in batches of 28-39, depending on the class. I've done it for 10 years and I feel like Job.
That said, I'm earning about $61,000 (now, started much lower) and I certainly don't feel like I'm starving. Cost of living in Los Angeles is high, but I'm comfortable enough. I figure if you count only the hours I spend with the kids, I'm getting about $2.50 per hour, per kid.
I do think baby-sitters and day-care workers get more, nowadays, and I certainly work more than just 5 hours a day (planning, grading, meetings, fighting with copier machine, cleaning and decorating room and bulletin boards in the hallway)... but it's rather a fun job sometimes, so I don't complain much about the pay.
THAT SAID... if I got $3 per kid, per hour, I'd get about $74,250 just for the time with them. And if I got paid for the... say... 2 extra hours I work per day (one is my conference period, one after work) say I got... $7 per hour for that.... that'd be around another $2310 per year. I'd get around $76,560 per year.
Did I miss the part about being forced to be a teacher? If they don’t like the pay, go find some other way to be useful that pays better.
Here the average teacher makes $65,000 a year. After 12 years on the job they make $90,000. My retired cousin’s pension from teaching, coaching, driver’s ed, etc., is over $100,000 a year.
“They do very well for their level of education.”
That’s the part many seem to forget about. “Education” degrees are some of the least demanding in all of academe, and the SAT scores of Ed-track students reflect that. Particularly in light of that, teachers get paid quite well.
Also married to a teacher. Average per hour (assuming an 8 hour day and 200 days of work per year) is $31. She has 15 years of experience (took 10 years off to stay home with the kids).