Skip to comments.Eight Reasons Public School Teachers Are NOT Underpaid
Posted on 12/07/2011 7:00:50 AM PST by SeekAndFind
It's one thing to claim that nameless, faceless government bureaucrats are overpaid. It's quite another to argue, as Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation and I recently have, that public school teachers are overpaid by more than 50 percent. This is real money, costing state and local governments over $100 billion annually. Our study generated significant, sometimes hysterical, pushback. But our conclusions still stand, and deliver important lessons regarding education financing and reform.
The claim that teachers are underpaid rests on a single isolated fact: that on average, public school teachers receive salaries about 19 percent less than private sector workers with bachelor's or master's degrees. But it's really not that simple. Here are eight reasons why.
1. All bachelor's degrees aren't the same. No one's surprised when a physics or finance major earns more than the person who studied medieval poetry, even if both graduate from the same college. Likewise, Education is widely held to be a less rigorous course of study, attracting below-average students but awarding the highest average GPAs of any college major. Easy grading both discourages hard work and makes it tough for schools to separate the good prospective teachers from the not-so-good ones. Prospective teachers enter college with SAT scores around the 40th percentile - meaning that about 60 percent of test-takers received higher scores - so it shouldn't be surprising if teachers' salaries after graduation salaries are around the 40th percentile as well.
2. That master's degree may not be worth much either. Many teachers have master's degrees but, as the Center for Educator Compensation Reform summarized the research, "The preponderance of evidence suggests that teachers who have completed graduate degrees are not significantly more effective at increasing student learning than those with no more than a bachelor's degree."
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearmarkets.com ...
This is such a huge story and needs to be shouted from the mountain tops. Thanks for posting.
There is simply no industry in our nation that has so obviously failed and yet remains so incredibly sacred in the minds of so many.
8 months work,no weekends, uncountable number of holidays and tenure...overpaid for sure!
Average salary in our district is about $58K per year. For the Carolinas and Georgia it is about in the mid 30's.
Pennsylvania colleges and universities graduate (surprise!) about a 30% surplus of newly minted education majors. Many of them end up working in (double surprise!) the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia.
Our local district hires some of these U-Turners-- they've gone south and obtained some actual experience, so they tend to stand out amoung the 300 or so qualified applicants for every vacancy.
you can see what your local teachers get paid as it is public record and trust me I looked up many of them around here and they get paid damn well.
50 grand is the average for them down here and that is good money down here and especially as they are only working so long in a year etc
The superintendent gets paid a couple hundred thousand a year to basically run the district into the ground. Their idea for improving schools is to have a full time curriculum staff that is constantly changing the coursework. Every time you turn around they are replacing core academics with more multi-cultural, self esteem based "learning."
Until we get these districts to get back to the basics they will continue to fail their students. How does it help a kid's self esteem when he can't make change at McDonald's without having the register tell him what to do?
There is a reason they call them elementary schools.
When I was in school I had a buddy who was not cutting it and he was told by his academic advisor that he had two choices. Flunk out and go home or switch majors and get and Education degree. The school of education was chock full of the academic rejects from the rest of the university.
and should be an
This is a huge subject, impossible to cover in one post, but I would be more than happy to pay the good teachers twice what they’re making.
Teachers are soooo constrained by cultural marxist bean-counter BUREAUCRATS and administrators, it’s a wonder they maintain their sanity.
I get it, I really do about “the industry”...
I’m suggesting conservatives should focus on the ADMINISTRATORS AND FACELESS BUREAUCRATS.
It’s a win win.
- PR value: conservatives avoid the “mean-spirited” meme.
- it strikes against the REAL PROBLEM...those who have used the industry to set themselves up for comfort. They don’t actually do anything, except enforce their stupid “directives” etc. FIRE THE LOT OF THEM!
Teachers do so well “teaching”. I was Christmas shopping yesterday and my bill came to $56 and some change. I gave the young girl $60 and the change and she got so confused she couldn’t figure out what to do. She picked up a bunch of fives from the cash drawer and started counting out the cash to give to me. I stopped her and told her what my change should be even though it was on the registershe was so flustered I felt sorry for her. Yeah teachers do a wonderful jobat sex ed.
Unless she gets her act together JCPenny’s will lose a lot of money this Christmas season in the junior dept-the crooks will be swarming like sharks.
RE: Flunk out and go home or switch majors and get and Education degree.
Just curious, what did your buddy do?
Teachers sign a contract every year for X amount of dollars. They can take that amount over 12 months thereby getting paid when school is closed during the summer, or, they can take it over the 10 months that school is in session having a higher monthly pay but they do not get any money during the summer when school is closed. They do not get paid a years salary for just 8 or 10 months work.
It is a huge subject, but by free market reality principles, teachers are over paid for one simple reason: there are a lot of folks who can do it and a lot who are willing to do it for far less. You could staff a huge percentage of the work force with business people and other professionals who would love to teach part time probably gratus. I know I would and the kids would learn more about business in one lecture of mine than they do now K-12.
And I know plenty of other professionals as well who would.
The problem is we have invented a “profession” where one was not needed.
Teaching is really imparting life experiences, and the adults in our society with the least “real life” experiences are our “teaching professionals.”
We home school our kids. We have made a ton of mistakes and we do it in a couple hours a day, and all our kids are minimum three years ahead of grade level and usually much more.
It ain’t that hard, but we’ve made it hard.
bump for great justice
The entire argument about how long a teacher works each year isn’t very relevant to overall argument of teacher worth, IMHO. I know that it gets trotted out during almost every debate and it just peeves any person that teaches.
One notible area where that is not true is vocational education. In our state a voc ed teacher needs at least three thousand hours in their field to be considered for certification. In my case I also had a BS in electronics engineering and 9 years in the USAF as well as 12 years in aerospace experience.
The highest compliment I could received was "You're not like my other teachers".
The DoD has an excellent program, Warriors to Teachers, that receives little support through the districts that I am familiar with.
Exactly right. Teaching is not a profession. Professions are self-regulating — like doctors (AMA) and Lawyers (Bar Associations). Teachers belong to unions in most places and collectively bargain for wages and benefits. Their behavior is regulated by administrators appointed above them. It’s more akin to a skilled trade.
If pay was ‘results-oriented’; teachers would be paid the rough equivalent of a teen-age babysitter.
That says it all.
I think teaching is a talent that can’t be learned in college. That means teaching effectiveness can’t be improved greatly with degrees, particularly advanced degrees.
Everyone has encountered some PhDers who can’t communicate basic ideas.
I don’t teach but some of my friends do. They explain their frustrations over how they’re perceived. They’re just as much victims of the systems as the kids. Any wrong move they’re fired. It gets deeper but many of them are just plain frustrated. They’re between a rock and a hard place.
Bump that! Recruit people with ACTUAL SKILLS to impart same to our children.
>> If pay was results-oriented; teachers would be paid the rough equivalent of a teen-age babysitter. >>
And the irony is, if we went to a full choice school system, then that would be the equivalent of “free agency” for teachers - which would be a boon to the good ones.
But who fights that tooth and nail? The teachers’ own unions. That’s proof right there that as a group, they are economically ignorant.
(as are the pupils they teach as well...)
Sure, but that's just like in Philly when everyone complains about corruption, scams, crime but elect the SAME people into office time after time.
Until the teachers do something about it (other than preaching from the red book and organizing the next generations of serfs) they are the problem.
They experience frustration; I see business opportunity.
He switched majors.
Very true. My wife retired after 30 years of teaching last year. It had gotten to the point the school board backs the parents the majority of the time and teachers just need to suck it up and deal with it.
The pay was OK but not exorbitant and her retirement is less than 50% of what she was earning. I don't consider that out of line with private industry.
But what the heck, it's easier to paint with a broad brush and declare all teachers are overpaid and underworked.
where do you think administrators come from?
They are former teachers.
They are asked to manage an unmanageable bunch without the power of rewarding excellence, or firing poor teachers.
Teachers unions “are” the teachers.
Same here. I have a lot of friends who are teachers. I’ve noticed the same frustrations. I’m sympathetic up to a point.
I’ll discuss conservative ideas for reforming education. But I’ve learned to avoid opening the discussion with, “You get paid for 12 months but only work 10.” It tends to end the debate prematurely, and it doesn’t approach the central problems of public education.
I admire you for your efforts, for your attention to your children. You are doing us all a favor I reckon, by raising honorable and respectful children. You truly ARE voting “present” in their lives.
It’s a jiggered system. Would that free-market principles rule!
Nope. The UNIONS. The teachers I know are forced to pay tribute, and that ends their (coerced) involvement. The ‘faces’ are activists, thugs, and useless bean-counters.
Good teachers are too busy trying to teach through the shackles imposed upon them by the UNION ADMINISTRATORS, and are not otherwise involved. They are at home at night grading math.
The teachers are not the problem. I wish we could focus on the power-broker UNION ADMINISTRATORS, and not the front-line grunts, who by-and-large, get through it and teach their passion by keeping their heads down.
I don’t know how decent folk do it, and MOST TEACHERS ARE DECENT FOLK!
I’d push for de-funding, and DISBANDING the dam union and doubling teacher salaries.
Now there’s a winner for whichever candidate dares suggest such a radical thing...the grunts would vote our side in droves!
(Then I’d work for vouchers)
...any wrong move and they’re fired..
you’re kidding right? google nyc teachers rubber rooms.
a family member is a principal. it is next to impossible
to fire a teacher.
...any wrong move and they’re fired.. lol hahahahahaha!
They're not teachers...they're "educators".
You just watch them for a while and you'll get a great education on the "education" industry and what a load of crap it is.
Who is really overpaid considering impact on the future of the country, teachers or stockbrokers? If you want the best pay the most. If education is failing pay more for teachers.
...so we have children that can’t make change, but they sure now how to argue the ‘rights’ of homosexuals with Presidential candidates...
Doesn’t matter. It hangs over their heads like Damocles sword. They have to report every incident no matter how minor. That’s why kids get hauled off by cops for stupid reasons.
I have watched them for awhile!
I feel bad for the good teachers - and there are many.
But the system is rigged to prop up the incompetents.
They “were” the teachers, I agree. But their hearts were for power and bennies, NOT the children. They are sellouts for comfort. (and they weren’t good teachers to begin with - you can spot them a mile away!) The teachers I know despise that type.
any wrong move and they’re fired? really?
wow. what state are you from?
“... a lot of folks can do it...”, well let them is my answer. We loose about 1/2 of our new teachers each year. They cannot take it. My wife is a professional and she has told me a number of times she could not do my job. Teaching your own kids is one thing. Teaching those of others is another story. We are social workers, psychologists, parents, and much more to these kids. Many do not have anything like a normal life. I have kids just out of jail and kids in high school who can barely read. We do the best we can with what we are given. I am just telling you the reality of the situation. People tend to think in terms of “Leave It to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best” times. Those times are long gone. Think “Married With Children” if you want to know what the parents and children are like.
I have had jobs that had different pressures. Teaching, if you do it right, has its own pressure. It is not uncommon for me to work nights, weekends and on my vacation periods.
I don't mind the work as I enjoy the job. I have had many jobs in private and public life before I started to teach.
That makes me somewhat different but more and more people in my position are going into teaching. We are older and have seen the outside world of which you speak.
I have no problems with home schooling and I wish you well. It is a viable option for many people. I home schooled my daughter many years ago as she had a medical condition and could not be in school. She did fine. Good Luck.
We need to stop peeving off the teachers, the VAST MAJORITY of them are good people...in truth, they hate the unions more than we do - I SEE AN ELECTION OPPORTUNITY!
Great tactics, poor strategy (sometimes). When Pennsylvania started the steady increase in teacher compensation all it did was delay the retirement of a lot of 'deadwood'. Tenure and Union Protection have to be dealt with at the same time. A series of nice pay raises my mother-in-law in the game way past her expiration date.
Administrators and teachers are like Dogs and Cats — they view eachother with suspicion. This is why conservative ideas about paying teachers for performance don’t gain any traction. Teachers don’t trust administrators not to play favorites. That’s almost a direct quote.
wow! you like to paint with a broad brush!
I’ve seen future administrators be groomed because they stand out from the rest.
I’ve seen teachers recommend fellow teachers for the jobs.
And so...just like there are many good teachers and some bad ones, so too - there are many good administrators and some bad ones.
And just as teachers despise many things about administrators...it doesn’t seem to occur to the teachers that the feeling is quite mutual.
Children in the sixties KNEW how to make change...now they can’t. Solution? Give teachers a raise...then our children will know how to make change again. Hallelujah!
It’s unfair to those that actually do the WORK, to be ruled over by incompetent, power-hungry administrators.
That’s like saying; “I view socialists with suspicion.”
I’m not the problem. I work, and only eat what I kill.
Socialists are the problem... telling others what to do while they enjoy the fruits of others’ labors.
That’s what unions and administrators are.
THEY DESERVE being “viewed with suspicion” -
We conservatives are like the teachers here - we need to see this and harness this potential energy. The reason the unions and gubmit “views US with suspicion” is because united, we can take their power away.
Sorry about the brush. I know there are good ones. My HS geometry teacher moved into admin after 30 years of teaching, and she was one of the best. I loved her, and saw her in September - took a trip to the old stomp - she’s STILL full of vinegar.
My opinion is that those who love to teach will do it for as long as they can - not taking note of the encumbrances here (burn out/frustration).
The system is top-heavy with admins. Fine get rid of bad admins and teachers, I’m good with that.
But “the system” is RUN by unions, goons, and admins. The teachers are just cogs.
DISBAND the union.
Whittle out the bad admins and teachers.
To me, teachers are always the ‘little guys’ in these discussions, and I wish conservatives would target the unions and admin bean-counters.
#1: I'm married to one and she has to support my lifestyle.
Well, they’re smart enough to have school board and school levy elections during the Spring. Just because they’re not very smart doesn’t mean that they’re not greedy.
” The tools for quality control are there, but they are not used by the responsible administrators.”
And what tools might these be?
If you don’t get rid of incompetents prior to tenure - or refuse to grant tenure to certain teachers - they pretty much have to assault a student or commit a crime to get fired.
” but in the trades and maintenance departments”
Oh - so you never had to fire a teacher. Ever see that manual?
“The solution in my opinion is simple; no District Administrator, up to and including the Superintendent of Schools should come from the educational system”
That’s easier said than done. While it would make good sense , perhaps, from a business/management aspect - you are asking people with no educational background to deal with state ed? deal with endless issues concerning the teachers & students, and parents?
Maybe the problem is with the higher educational institutions that are “training” the teachers and administrators in the first place.
“The system can be fixed; but the problems can not all be put off on the teachers, the biggest problems start at the administrative level.”
Even if you get your wish fulfilled - your “dream” administrators will still have deal with the unions, the budgets, and state ed.