How Much Are Teachers Paid?

A helluva lot, according to a new Manhattan Institute Study by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters. Among the findings, which are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics workplace surveys:

According to the BLS, the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005.

The average public school teacher was paid 36% more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty and technical worker.

Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.

Compared with public school teachers, editors and reporters earn 24% less; architects, 11% less; psychologists, 9% less; chemists, 5% less; mechanical engineers, 6% less; and economists, 1% less.

Compared with public school teachers, airplane pilots earn 186% more; physicians, 80% more; lawyers, 49% more; nuclear engineers, 17% more; actuaries, 9% more; and physicists, 3% more.

Public school teachers are paid 61% more per hour than private school teachers, on average nationwide.

The whole study is here. Note that the BLS is designed to capture all hours put in by workers, so the comparisons between teachers and other workers are apples to apples. Greene and Winters also find very little (read: no) correlation between how much teachers are paid and student performance.

For a Wall Street Journal op-ed version of the study, go here. There, the authors argue that

Evidence suggests that the way we pay teachers is more important than simply what they take home. Currently salaries are determined almost entirely by seniority--the number of years in the classroom--and the number of advanced degrees accumulated. Neither has much to do with student improvement.

There is evidence that providing bonuses to teachers who improve the performance of their students does raise academic proficiency.

Thanks to reader Willfox23 for the tip.

Lisa Snell looked at the massive potential of "weighted student funding" to revolutionize American education here. And I cast a cold eye on most merit-pay schemes here.

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  • ||

    I have my doubts about that 36.5 hour a week number - I'm not sure it covers the hours my kid's teachers are in the school, let alone the lesson planning and homework/assignment checking that happens outside "school hours."

    I'm not a teacher - does that number pass the reality test for others?

  • ||

    This strikes me as a little odd too. When school is in, a teacher generally must put in 12+ hour days, what with classes, secondary duties, grading, lesson preparation, after school assistance and the like.

    Granted, they might get the summer off with pay, but that time is generally spent on training.

    I think they are using too small a denominator.

  • Brett||

    My wife used to teach public elementary school and always thought they were definitely adequately paid, considering the hours, # of work days per year, etc.

    Perhaps elementary school skews the numbers? Classes from 7:45am to 3:00pm, then 30 minutes for student dismissal duty. That's about 8 hours a day. I'd guess on average another hour per day on paper grading or lesson planning, perhaps more during certain periods. So the 36.5 hours/wk does seem a bit low, but not by a huge amount.

  • CJ||

    Check the first link. The article claims to count hours fairly:

    "Some may fear that the extra time that teachers spend grading, preparing for class, and assisting extracurricular activities is not included in the BLS figures, but the BLS appears to include all these activities in its work-hour calculations..."

    "Even if we assume that teachers work the same hours as others, they still have higher average pay per hour."

  • ||

    Whether or not this study means much, the point remains that teacher performance is not rewarded, teacher longevity is and public schools need competition from the private sector for a healthy system.

  • Franklin Harris||

    When I was in high school, the worst teacher in the English department was department head, simply by virtue of her having been there the longest.

  • Andrew||

    Lost: I don't think that the "private sector competition is necessary" is an unavoidable conclusion one can make from the observation that teacher pay is based solely on seniority. The obvious and simpler solution would be to simply remove or de-emphasize seniority and make performance the criteria for pay raises, something that nearly all administrators and competent teachers support.

    The real problem is how to determine performance without causing things like teacher-supported cheating on standardized tests or pay raises based more on which kids are being taught than how well they're being taught. I think this problem of accurately evaluating teachers would be as much of a problem if all schooling became private as it is now, and solving it would do a lot more to help both private and public schools than would simple privatization.

  • Grotius||

    tarran,

    Isn't the case that a lot of teachers take on a "second job" in the summer time? That is they take the time they have off in the summer months and do something else for pay?

  • ||

    I think this problem of accurately evaluating teachers would be as much of a problem if all schooling became private as it is now

    If all schooling became private, the cost of making evaluations would be borne by the parents instead of taxpayers. And parents, on a student by student basis, should be able to do the job more efficiently, since they will have first-hand information about what their kids are learning. I work in a county where a lot of parents send their kids to private schools, and there's a very dynamic flow of information about what school is doing better/worse at any given time.

  • Grotius||

    jp,

    ...since they will have first-hand information about what their kids are learning.

    How will they garner this information? I hate to bring out my knowledge of the classical world, but I will say that Roman parents (if the sources we have are indicative) consistently complained about the education their children were getting (and remember, Roman education was almost wholely privately funded).

  • Edward||

    Carping about public education is a favorite libertarian hobby horse, but hobby horses never go anywhere. In an increasingly populist climate, corporate welfare is the horse to whip. You have to pick your fights.

  • ||

    I like the way the authors switch back and forth between taking the enforced time off during summers into account, or not, depending on whether or not it helps make their point.

    The carefully report the average per hour worked, instead of annual salaries, so that the summers off make the teachers look more highly paid.

    However, when calculating how many hours they work per week, they divide the annual number of hours by 52.

    What makes them think their audience isn't going to notice this?

    Then again, Nick didn't.

  • ||

    Brett,

    "I'd guess on average another hour per day on paper grading or lesson planning, perhaps more during certain periods."

    You'd guess wrong. Try 2-4.

  • ||

    My father's a teacher and he certainly works more than 36 hours a week. In fact, he puts in more time than that in the classroom.

    Teachers get paid well--their jobs are just highly unpleasant, due to lousy curricula, uninspired students, crushing bureaucracy, and standardized tests. If they're getting paid more than other professions, it's because (a) demand is high, and (b) supply is low.

  • ||

    Grotius -- People consistently complain about everything. Nothing is as good as most people wish it would be. Complaints across the board don't really tell us much.

    As for how parents would gather information about the quality of their kids' education, they would get primarily by talking to their kids and seeing what kind of homework they bring home (or not).

  • TCR||

    Granted, they might get the summer off with pay, but that time is generally spent on training.

    This is a somewhat common misconception about teachers. Yes, we do get entire summers off, but whether we receive a paycheck during that time varies from district to district. In my case, I do receive pay for the summer, but it's pay I've already earned. Teachers are only paid for the 10 months out of the year that they actually work. In districts with a 12-month pay scheme, that pay is spread out over the entire year; i.e. I get paid a little less each month so that I receive a check for the six weeks I'm off. Yes, we do get paid during our time off, but we don't get paid for our time off. A small distinction I know, but there you go. And yes, for many teachers, the time off is spent in training.

    Isn't the case that a lot of teachers take on a "second job" in the summer time?

    Yep. I've done it before, and know plenty of people who do as well when I worked for a district with a 10 month pay scheme. Alternatively, they save throughout the year to make it through the summer.

  • ||

    FYI - You can get free access to Wall Street Journal with a Netpass from: http://news.congoo.com

    I thought this was a great tip!

  • ||

    National statistics aren't that useful anyway, considering how much average teacher pay and requirements to be a teacher vary from state to state or even district to district.

    Some states require bachelor degrees, while others require masters. Urban schools often pay a lot better than rural school, mainly because no one really wants to work there.

  • ||

    Good points Joe. The beat up on teachers and their "evil unions" is one of those scratch my head part of libertarianism. I mean, if teachers can collectively bargain for good pay or bonuses on merit, who are we to cry foul? Do libertarians cry fould when a jet airliner company gets a better bargain on fuel because of the size of their order?
    It's also interesting that Reason seemd to not note this bit of news (maybe they were hoping it would just go away?):
    PHILADELPHIA, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Philadelphia's groundbreaking privatization experiment with 46 of its worst public schools not only failed to significantly improve academic performance but cost an extra $300 per pupil, a new report said on Thursday.

    The analysis by the Rand Corp. and Research for Action may lead other U.S. cities to reconsider contracting out school management, given that Philadelphia is a test case in the field, said Henry Levin, director of Columbia University's National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

  • TCR||

    I usually get to school about 7:30 a.m. and leave around 4p.m. Because I get 30 minutes for lunch, that makes it a full 8-hour day, so I average about 40 hrs/week. Technically, I am "off" 30 minutes after the end of the school day, or about 3 p.m. That extra hour is spent working with students in various afterschool activities, most of which I'm not paid for. And that doesn't include the hours I put in over the weekend - almost every weekend. And I actually put in less time than many of the teachers at my school.

    According to my contract my hourly rate is about $38; but that's figured on a 6 hour school day. It's closer to $31 in actuality.
    FWIW, I spent 7 years in school gaining the necessary degrees and credentials needed to even get hired in the first place and I have another year to go before I'm "completely" licensed. 8 years of college!

  • ||

    Ken -- Privatization is not the same as giving everyone school choice. Privatization is simply delegating to a for-profit company the task of running the government school system.

    BTW, just for the record, I think comparisons between the salaries of public-school teachers and those of people in other jobs are pretty meaningless, since the market for public-school teachers is so distorted.

  • ||

    Teachers certainly get paid more per hour than game designers, let me tell you.

    Onwards!

    Ken,

    The reason teachers' unions are insidious is that they have a lock on staffing in an industry whose services are required by law. This gives them a lot of political power, and they don't always (or even generally) apply that political power to furthering education.

    And as for the article you mention: Just because it says 'privatization' in the text doesn't make it so. Unless it's illustrating the failure of a school choice/voucher program, it's likely that it doesn't have anything to do with any cause libertarians give a damn about.

  • ||

    According to the study, the time TCR puts in working with students in afterschool activities, and the time he spends on paperwork over the weekend, aren't counted as hours he works under the study.

    The reason given in the study is that these "hours" are not required by his employer - although the work is, they don't count those as hours worked - they pay him on the 30-hour week.

    The Manhattan Institute's methodology - counting only the number of hours listed on the paycheck seems very skewed towards under-counting teachers' hours. They try to pass this off by noting that other professionals report taking home work, too, but any figures about how much work each group takes home is glaringly absent. Anyone who knows teachers knows how many hours they put in outside of school hours, and at home.

  • ||

    An honest analysis of teachers' salaries would conclude that they are, finally, paid something roughly equivalent to their professional responsibilities. This wasn't always the case, and the fact that school teacher is no longer a scandalously low-paying position is realy news. They were so underpaid for so long that the image has outlasted the reality.

    But that story doesn't seem to be the one the Manhattan Institute wants to tell.

  • ||

    joe wrote:

    I like the way the authors switch back and forth between taking the enforced time off during summers into account, or not, depending on whether or not it helps make their point.

    The[y] carefully report the average per hour worked, instead of annual salaries, so that the summers off make the teachers look more highly paid.



    Seems reasonable to me. If you're trying to quantify how much someone is paid for his work, it doesn't make sense to include the time he's not paid for.

    However, when calculating how many hours they work per week, they divide the annual number of hours by 52.



    This is also reasonable if you're trying to come up with a single average number to compare to those of other professions. If you included only the time a person is working in the denominator, you'd end up with 100% for all professions.

  • ||

    It shouldn't matter whether they're paid more relative to other professions. Teacher salary is based on:

    1) Negotiations between the union and the boards of ed, which are driven by:

    a) Demand for teachers (very high--in NYC alone I think they're looking at a shortage on the order of 78,000 in upcoming years).
    b) Supply of teachers (It's not a pleasant job, as professional jobs go, it has long hours, and requires more schooling than many other professional jobs).

    So with a powerful union, high demand, and low supply, you're going to get high wages.

  • ||

    My Dad taught and coached for 33 years. When he started, (the 1940s) teaching was indeed a low-paying ptofession. But, for someone who grew up during the Depression, and had survived close to 4 years as a G.I. in the South Pacific, it had its benefits. Young people were often advised to "go into teaching or the Civil Service. You won't get rich, but the work is steady, the benefits are good, and your pension will be safe."

    Unionization changed the equation. My father taught in one of the first states to embrace unionization of public employees, and consequently his salaries rose, due to improved contracts, increased seniority, and earning an M.A. He was also paid for some extra duties. Besides coaching, he eventually was made Athletic Director of his district. That latter job meant he worked for the District in the summer. He still had a heck of a lot more time off in the summer than my classmates' Dads, which made up for the afternoons, nights and weekends he put in with his teams on game and practice days.

    When he was a young man with little experience he worked every summer. Sometimes that was teaching Summer School in his or a neighboring district. He worked for local recreation programs, doing everything from organizing activites for the kids to driving the big yellow bus. He umpired and refereed youth and adult sports when his coaching seasons ended. he scratched for every dollar.

    Many of his colleagues did summer work, too, whether in seasonal businesses, or going full-time in something they did part-time during the school year. Selling insurance was a popular sideline, but not all summer jobs were so white collar. One of Dad's pals used to go clamming in the summers.

    One thing that changed in those years was the labor force. When Dad started, teaching was a mostly female profession, and the married women in it were often secondary earners in their families. For the "teaching Moms," having the summer off was a major benefit. For 3 months they were like the other ladies on Apple Blossom Lane, kissing their husbands good-bye in the morning, taking care of their released-from-school children, and having a hot diner ready upon Pop's return. Every once in awhile, one of these teachers would quit, short of retirement, because her family could get by on one salary, and she'd rather be a full-time homemaker. That became less and less common, and the 2-earner marriage moreso. There was also the surge in divorce, leading to more female-headed families. Those certainly couldn't look on a teaching salary as "pin money." Getting better pay was a survival issue for them.

    Once the unions organized the last resisting parts of the country, the folk wisdom that "teachers are underpaid" lingered. Now the contracts in areas where they have long had a foothold could be called lavish, especially when health insurance and pensions are accounted for. The private sector workforce has had the first of those eliminated or transformed into defined contribution plans, and we all know how employees have had to kick in more for health plans in recent years. In my state, the teachers don't have to pay penny one towards their health plan, which the districts buy from a division of the union! Even the city and county workers haven't pulled that off. The old "low pay/good benefits" tradeoof is now "good pay/great bennies."

    When contemplating a career change, I have pondered whether I might like to get certified and follow in the "family business." (My grandmother taught, also.) I could only stomach working at private schools, which, certain elite ones aside, still follow their traditional "bad pay/lousy benefits" formula. On the plus side, private schools still allow some modicum of disciplne, so I might survive the experience. When I looked into what junk you have to sit through in order to get that certificate, I let go of the notion.

    Kevin

  • ||

    joe wrote:

    An honest analysis of teachers' salaries would conclude that they are, finally, paid something roughly equivalent to their professional responsibilities.



    What is the "correct" amount to pay someone for teaching, and how do you arrive at that figure?

  • uncle sam||

    Read "Inside American Education" by Thomas Sowell.

  • ||

    What exactly is 'good pay/great bennies'? I have taught for 5 years with a Masters, and make about 33,000 a year. Our district has chosen BC/BS as our health insurance, and the cost for employees keeps going up. Three or four years ago, our district told us that we were going to get a raise less than Cost of Living, and if we wanted to argue, well we would then get a raise of 0%. This idea that the unions are uber powerful only really applies in a few states, certainly not in Florida.
    And, kevrob, you could always go to a private school that doesn't require certification. There are plenty in Florida!

  • Samuel Gompers||

    I would say the "correct" amount to pay anyone is what is necessary to hire the people qualified to perform work and retain those who perform it well.

    I don't think that is the way most labor markets work however.

  • Samuel Gompers||

    Substitute teaching is an interesting labor market. Some districts pay as little as $50 per day with no benefits yet seem to fill all the slots. I would assume the flexibility allows this as college degrees and a limited certification are required.

  • ||

    Steve M:

    Our state outlawed strikes by publik skool teachers, but has mandatory arbitration of contracts. The first move in that process is for the district to make a "Qualified Economic Offer" that increases total personnel compensation (salary + benefits) by a minimum amount, currently set at 3.8% a year. One perverse result of this is that the tenured staff at the top of the payscale agree to contracts that reduce starting pay, in order to protect their Cadillac health care plans and pensions. Districts also make a practice of not re-offering a contract to untenured teachers in order to keep staffing costs down. It is eerily similar to the way adjunct faculty are treated at colleges and universities.

    Our local private schools like to have certified teachers, especially those that are accredited. Accreditation is now necessary for participation in the state's private school choice program.

    If $33k a year is too little for you, might I suggest that you:

    1.) Move up North to one of the states with powerful unions? New York City would like to have you, I bet.

    or

    2.) Stop making your living from coerced payments from the citizenry?

    Kevin

  • ||

    Read "Inside American Education" by Thomas Sowell.

    Also take a look at "The Underground Grammarian" newsletter, by the late Richard Mitchell. All issues are available at www.sourcetext.com

  • vault_dog4||

    I'm a teacher and a coach, so I arrive at work at 7 a.m. and generally do not leave until 5:30-6 p.m. in the evening. And if we are in a sport's season, I work even later and every Saturday.

    During football season, all of the additional work PLUS the grading of papers during my free time at home, I easily put in 85+ hours a week.

    Even the teachers that have no extracurricular assignments still put in at least 40 hours a week and this doesn't include the grading of papers, lesson planning, and class prep (studying, researching, etc.).

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    As a high school senior my Econ teacher casually informed us that even garbage collectors made more money than teachers. So, I called VC Disposal and asked them how much the highest paid trash guy made. Next day I came in and wrote it on the black board (yes, I'm that old--hell they don't even have green boards anymore). Mr Gilchrist wouldn't tell the class how much he earned but he did acknowledge that it was more than the highest paid trash collector in the city, who incidentally, worked 50 weeks per year rather than the mandated 36 weeks that teachers worked.

    I was a jerk back then too. And it cost me a good grade in the class as well. When I argued about it he showed me my homework file that was mysteriously missing almost every assignment for the entire semester. Well, TWC, he said, homework is a big part of your grade.

    I've gotten smart in my old age though. I keep my mouth shut around people that have power over me. Like Building Inspectors & Cops.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Vault, I was under the impression that coaches received a premium for coaching. Not true?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Great article by Lisa Snell.

  • vault_dog4||

    We do receive a stipend for our coaching duties. They range from district to district, but with my coaching duties during football season (for example), I receive $2,000 extra for around 350 extra hours of work added to my teaching.

    This averages out to around $5.70 an hour during football season just for coaching.

    Starting pay for teachers in Texas is around $27,000. 36.5 hours per week divided by 5 (days in a week) = 7.3 * 187 (days of school) = 1365. $27,000/1365 = $19-20/hr.

    It varies from district to district and there are benefits, so this isn't an definite value.

  • ||

    Despiute the article's claims, this is not an "apples to apples" comparison. This obviously covers only the schoolday, which does not cover all of the hours a teacher works, from (often required) extracurriculars and hours of home time spent grading papers, planning classes, etc. School districts typically give a teacher less than an hour a day to accomplish these things, and I know of no teachers who work less than fifty hours a week.

    I'm a college droput, and I make twice what a teacher with a Master's degree makes. That's sad.

    But we can keep complaining about all these wealthy teachers* and wonder, wonder, wonder why our kids turn out dumber and dumber.

    *They drive those old beaters to hide their fantastic earnings- the Lexus is for the weekend!

  • ||

    In the discussion about outside prep hours, one should note that these can vary widely, depending on the individual. Notice if a teacher is teaching straight out of the textbook, page by page, or are they coming up with original ways of getting the material across and (*gasp*) teaching how to think critically? Assigning multiple choice or essays? Does grading homework involve looking at the process, or just the end answer? These are all factors that could make the difference between 1 hour a day of outside time or 3-4 hours. I had teachers at every range of the spectrum, and it really makes a difference in the quality of education.

    I also work in a profession in which a portion of one's work is expected to be done at home; and I also see how unions (and by extension, the contracts they negotiate) don't really recognize the difference between someone doing their job well and someone just putting in the minimum to not get disciplined. It's pretty maddening.

    As for coaching, isn't that voluntary? Don't get me wrong, if you do it despite lousy pay, thanks, but I don't see it factoring into the discussion about pay levels if it's voluntary.

  • ||

    I think unions, especially in this context, are basically rent seekers. I would predict that starting salaries at private schools are competitive with public schools, but that salaries for senior teachers are much higher at public schools. This would be typical for what I've seen with unions.

    Unions are labor monopolies for the union members. The seniority system is the mechanism for the monopoly control. Since the union controls all labor at your school, they have a monopoly on senior labor. Anybody can get a job at the school, but there are only a few people who have a job at that school with 10 years+ of seniority, and there is a 10+ year long barrier to entry for that position. So, they earn monopoly pricing on their labor. So, entry level jobs get pushed to low levels & the senior folks, who control the negotiations, make sure that seniority is important & pays well. As a starting teacher, you either go to private schools, or you might decide to take low starting pay at public schools & put in your time so that eventually your seniority will also provide you with monopoly surplus wages. The kicker is that if you go the private route, your seniority means nothing, so once you make that decision, your stuck with it, unless you want to start back at the bottom of the ladder.
    Then, as a bonus, the unions can use the low starting salaries that they have negotiated to create an image of how low their pay is.
    Just about every union displays this type of behavior. Because of the incentives, this is really the raison d'etre of unions, in practice, in my layman's opinion.

  • ||

    Ummm....there's one thing about having fixed salaries: teachers not amendable to pressure by parents.

    If everything went to "merit pay", how long do you think that salaries wouldn't be distributed with the number of As the teachers handed out? And how long do you think it would be before we'd see massive grade inflation (even more than present)? Or at least, As, handed out to the students whose parents bitched the most?

  • ||

    Vault:

    As a coach's kid, I believe you about the time you put in. But $5.70 an hour to coach H.S. football in Texas? I take it that you aren't a head coach yet.

    Kebko:

    There's another pattern of employment that isn't too unusual in and around big cities. Large, urban districts have a high turnover rate among substitutes and junior teachers. New graduates just out of Ed School will often sign on as a sub or a full-timer in our local City District, then jump to a suburban school when they get a chance. The city does itself no favors by requiring all new permanent hires to live within the district boundaries. The politicians claim that the residency requirement is an important one, making sure that the teachers are part of the community they serve. More cynical observers think that they are motivated by seeing to it that part of the cash they lay out for salaries is used to shore up property values in various city neighborhoods. The Teachers' Union is also a reliable source of funding and volunteer effort for the Democratic Party, and if their members, or those of the city's and county's other civil service unions, could move live where they please and jeep their jobs most would buy houses in the `burbs once their own kids came of school-age. As things are, publik skool teachers are notorious for not wanting to "eat their own cooking," sending a far higher percentage of their children to private school than the general public does. (See this School Reform News article.) My Dad taught in a decent suburban district, and we lived in the next one over, so there was never any problem with his not wanting to deal with the hassle of teaching or coaching his own family, but all of our large brood were sent to parochial schools for grades 1-12. All but one of us matriculatd at private colleges, too. (Yes, there were significant scholarships, loans and financial aid money involved.)

    The teachers' union constantly calls on the state legislature to take the power to require residency away from districts. There is nothing stopping the union from negotiating that clause out of their next contract, but that would involve giving up some other bargaining chip, and, however much the rank-and-file might want to see the restriction lifted, either the union negotiators fear the wrath of the membership if they gave up too much, or they actually enjoy wielding the clout in city politics that representing such a block of reliable middle-class voters brings them.

    Kevin

  • Sam Franklin||

    teaching is the only place where unions still really rule, so of course they are going to seem "overpaid." as other posters have pointed out, they have leveraged consolidation of the labor supply in order to get a better deal. Teachers may be even more consolidated, in some meaningful sense, than the districts who employ them.

    I would think of this as a problem, except this place doesn't see consolidation problems in other sectors of the economy where these problems are much worse. So it is hard to cry about the teachers.

    A lot of ppl think teachers do extra noble work, but I think teacher is a job like any other.

    Disclaimer: If I heard the story correct, my brother has recently been hired by a public school system to teach one (very troubled) child. That is kind of a shocker, tho.

  • ||

    The figures are reasonably accurate in accordance to contracted duty hours, but do not include the work or expenses that are accrued outside of duty hours.

    At my school, a regular duty day runs 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, and those who arrive a 7:00 am and/or leave anywhere between 4:00 or 4:30 pm (grading/planning/IEP, etc.) are not compensated for their extra hours. Granted, factors of seniority, education and positions (special ed. vs. regualar ed.) plays a major role in salary, but time accumulated outside of duty hours are not added on as over-time.

    Long time reader, first time writer...

    Teacher, but NOT A UNION MEMBER!

  • ||

    Prehaps we pay teachers so little is because what they do (despite credential requirements) requires such little skill. After all, it's only grammer school & high school, the material is by definition not that hard. From an administrative pov however it's a nightmare. Social engineering and enforced attendance plus much after school falderal. Lets get back to the 3 r's and lose the clubs/atheletics/socialization so that the teachers can get back to teaching. If they wish to volunteer for the after school specials that's their business. BTW let's stop sending everyone to college, some people might do better off in a "vocational" environment. An auto mechanic needs lots of technical training but may not benefit from our current version of acedemia. If they wish to study the more subjective aspects of our culture they may do so on their own.

  • ||

    Has anyone really seen the parking lot of a school half an hour after school gets out? It's a ghost town - particularly elementary schools. And 99% of hs/ms school teachers who are seen on site after school are coaching/band-directing/club-leading anyways. Where they receive supplemental pay.

  • edna||

    Read "Inside American Education" by Thomas Sowell.

    worst book he ever wrote. basically, a collection of unsourced phyllis schlafly anecdotes.

    did the study in question take into account benefits and job security? i'm astonished at what a good benny deal the teachers in our district receive.

  • Warren||

    Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.

    The figure for teachers looks low to me too. But so do all the others. I don't know anyone on salary who puts in less than 40. Most people I know do closer to 50, and not a few put in more than 60 week in and week out.

  • ||

    Russell H,

    When you report hourly wages for two professions as if they are an apples-to-apples comparison, the fact that one of them is only on the books for a fraction of the hours makes the comparison meaningless.

    I don't have a "correct" figure for teachers' salaries, just an observation that they are now, as opposed to the past, in the middle of the range of what people with similar work-loads, education, and responsibility earn.

  • ||

    The authors of the study discuss the BLS figures on hours worked here and I think their discussion, which acknowledges the difficulty of figuring out precisely how much any of us work on annual basis, should satisfy most commenters here.

  • ||

    I used to be a teacher, and know I am not because I just couldn't afford it. $34/hour? Yeah, with a mandatory 3 month lockout. 36.5 hours per week? Who are they kidding? That is only classroom time. It doesn't include afterschool programs, coaching sports teams, advising clubs, PTA meetings. What a damn joke.

    All their statistics are based on hourly pay, which, if I'm not mistaken, is not really how one measures the compensation of a professional. I guess that's their subtle point. Teachers should get lawn mowing jobs for the summer. If teachers make so damn much money, why do most teachers with any kind of talent leave for those "less paying" white-collar non-sales jobs?

  • ||

    "FWIW, I spent 7 years in school gaining the necessary degrees and credentials needed to even get hired in the first place and I have another year to go before I'm "completely" licensed. 8 years of college!"

    Gosh- I wonder where all those "professional qualifications" came from. I'm sure the fact that they act as barriers to entry and hold down the available supply of teachers ("degreed educators") is totally coincidental.

  • ||

    The authors acknowledge that they don't count any hours not included in the workers' scheduled time, and then assume that "off-books" hours are the same for teachers and other salaried workers.

    That is an extremely specious assumption, and every knowledgeable commenter who addressed it has disputed it.

  • Grotius||

    I figure something is either specious or it isn't. ;)

  • ||

    That is an extremely specious assumption, and every knowledgeable commenter who addressed it has disputed it.

    Could be more, could be less. The salaried people I know tend to put in more than 50 or more hours per week. 50 weeks a year.

  • ||

    My parents are teachers and TCR is correct about summer pay. Teachers have no paid holidays, either - all holidays and Christmas and spring vacations are also unpaid.

  • Dan T.||

    Gosh- I wonder where all those "professional qualifications" came from. I'm sure the fact that they act as barriers to entry and hold down the available supply of teachers ("degreed educators") is totally coincidental.

    Yes, much like the way we'd have more doctors if just anybody was allowed to practice medicine.

  • ||

    start funding education, no excuses

  • ||

    I don't know what world y'all live in, but I have a sister who teaches in Hartford, CT and a brother who teaches in Kalamazoo, MI. Neither one of them ever grades papers for one second at home. They laugh at us "fools" who work 50 weeks a year.

    When I went to school, the teachers had us trade papers and grade them in class. Half the teachers wouldn't even show up to teach class two or three days a week, never mind take papers home.

    What is the fantasy world you're living in? I'd say the average teacher in my high school put in maybe 20 hours of actual work per week.

  • ||

    "second job" in the summer time?

    In theory, that sounds great, but can anyone tell me what kinds of jobs they can actually get for two months out of the year? I imagine a lot of teachers are mowing lawns or delivering pizzas, if anything.

  • ||

    Joe:
    By leaving out the hours that teachers have to work but don't get credit for, the Manhattan Institute has shown that it either has an axe to grind or that it really knows nothing about how education works. There's no money in the system, and dedicated people work a heck of a lot more than shows up on the paycheck.

    I am a lawyer now, and if you look at my pay per billable hour, I make a lot of money. If you look at the hours that I have to actually work, I make a normal middle America wage. Yet, my employer only requires that I work 8 hours per day. Have you ever tried to bill 8 hours? It takes more than 8 hours.

    What is the motivation behind this crazy study?

  • ||

    I am a lawyer, and my brother-in-law and two of my best friends are high school teachers. We have had numerous discussions about this topic and all agree that there is a trade-off, but in the end we all get basically the same pay for what we do.

    1) As far as hours worked "off the books," most professionals do quite a bit. It's that good ol' American work ethic. We want to do a good job, so we put in time that doesn't count. The three teachers I know all talk about how, after the first 2-3 years, the prep time and grading doesn't take all that long.

    2) Don't whine about being paid $2000 to coach a sports team. First, many of us non-school employees give our time to sports teams for free. Gee, I guess we kind of enjoy it, as I assume every high school football coach likes football. All the teams my kids have been on are coached by a combination of teachers and volunteers. Only the teachers get paid for it (although it does basically equate to minimum wage).

    3) Don't say the summers off and the spring break, winter break, presidents day, Martin Luther King day, etc. are unpaid. If you compare annual salaries, that's where the equality comes in. If an attorney makes $80,000 for 50 weeks of work (and a lot of work during those two weeks off - calling in to make sure things got filed, etc.), and a teacher makes $45,000 + paid health insurance for 38 weeks of work, where is the inequity.

    4) Pure anecdotal evidence: my teacher friend asked me at the end of the summer a couple of years ago how much golf I got in that year. A: Once, a firm outing that we use to schmooze clients. His response? He had gone 20+ times that year, wasn't sure of the exact count.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    According to Reason's Director of Education California teachers averaged 56k plus 16k in benefits for 2004. While technically true that the summers are unpaid, the rest of us have to work all year for the same salary.

    Teachers are pretty well paid, they have fantastic retirement benefits, and all the perks that any decent white collar office job comes with.

  • ||

    Todd,
    You are right, there are tradeoffs. For example, $80,000 vs. $45,000. By the way, I get your whole thing about coaches making only $2000, but you are forgetting that coaching is an extention of the job, i.e., all the responsibilities of the classroom are still with you at the away team's stadium. Volunteer coaches can't lose their day job for stuff that happens on the field. Volunteer coaches don't have the responsibility for the kids that a teacher does. Sure, a responsible volunteer might take on those responsibilities, but it is not inherent in the volunteer job.

  • ||

    Wow, I sure wish I taught in California. It looks like they have a high paying system. I could make, say, almost 60% of what I make now.

    I guess if you look at the per hour numbers, it looks almost plausible that teachers make good money. Try telling that to your spouse when you don't have this month's mortgage payment. Yeah honey, I make a lot of money per hour. *smiles proudly*

  • ||

    Besides delivering pizza, here are some summer jobs that are teacher-friendly:

    • Teaching Summer School.

    • Working for summer recreation programs.

    • Driving bus for either of those.

    • Working in a summer day camp. For those who haven't started their own families, working at a sleep-away camp. Many of these now have academic elements (Computer Camp, Band Camp, Debate Institutes, etc.)

    • Work for travel agencies who want tour leaders with foreign language proficiency.

    • If you are in a area with a lot of summer tourism, hotels and attractions will hire for the summer. If the place has a bunch of teenage employees, hiring a teacher as their supervisor might be smart.

    • Sign on with Kaplan or another test prep outfit.

    I'm sure there are others so removed from teaching that they wouldn't occur to me, like that friend of my father's who taught from September to June, then took his boat out onto the bay and raked clams in the summer.

    Kevin

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    but can anyone tell me what kinds of jobs they can actually get for two months out of the year

    How about teaching summer school? Or a summer class at the local community college?

    However, if I were a teacher, I'd be in Hawaii like my friends Kerrill and Don, building my own house.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Lamar, it's great that you're doing well and you can turn and spit at the thought of making 56k.

    Like many successful people I work with you don't seem to appreciate that you're doing well for yourself. Instead, you seem to see yourself as an average Joe, just getting by. That's not that abnormal I suppose, when I look back at my days in the barrio I wonder how the hell those people that were my neighbors could even feed their kids.

    But, it isn't that being a teacher sucks, it's that lawyers are paid a lot more than teachers. So are pro baseball players, but that doesn't change the fact that teachers are well paid either.

  • dhex||

    nyc's teaching fellowship program is chewing through people, which is unsurprising considering the setup (they pay for people outside the field but with professional experience to get an ma in education while you teach at something like 35k a year in whatever hellhole they drop you into.)

    yet every month when the brooklyn superintendents meet down the block from me, it's nothing but escalades and the odd scion. on top of what administration generally messes up in the day to day, etc.

    not that the uft isn't annoying or often disengenuous, and not that many, many parents are utterly failing to discipline or educate their own children...there's plenty of blame to go around.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Even in the midst of the bulge of baby boom kids (larger than the original baby boom) moving through the educational system and the class size reductions in K thru 3rd grade, it is difficult to find a teaching job. It just can't suck that bad or available teaching jobs would be plentiful.

  • ||

    My point was that 56k is an anomaly. I made in the high 20's, went broke, said screw this. I'm not an expert though. All I know is what financial problems I went through making the super-awesome money the study says teachers make.

    dhex: I looked into going back to the classroom. The pay, even with a J.D., isn't near $56k that they get in CA, and NYC costs as much if not more than San Fran.

  • dhex||

    lamar: i considered it a few years back when i was unemployed, but after a friend of mine got stabbed out in east new york, and i talked to other participants about the actual setup...it's damn near a pyramid scheme.

  • ||

    "By leaving out the hours that teachers have to work but don't get credit for, the Manhattan Institute has shown that it either has an axe to grind or that it really knows nothing about how education works."

    Well, that's my point about these kinds of things. Ideological Think tank research is a priori suspect. These guys are not being paid to better understand American education, they are being paid to come up with arguments and analysis that support the ideological leanings of their donors. Hence they will cherry pick findings and facts and present them in the way that best reflects their bosses leanings.

    It's interesting to speculate as why conservative think tanks always take it to the 'teachers unions.' Why not police unions? Could it be that its because teachers unions vote Democrat, so we gotta make them look bad? Go to Cato or Heritage and see how many articles they have blasting the teachers unions and how many they have blasting police unions. Interesting?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    And speaking of Lamar's billable hours, arguing the merits of teacher salaries at H&R is most definitely not going to pay the electric bill or the house payments. Maybe I could bill Nick.

  • ||

    The variability in teacher pay makes this study fairly meaningless.

    NYC doesn't even pretend to pay enough for their Manhattan teachers to live in Manhattan, but pays nearly twice what teachers make in Grants NM. The teachers in Grants NM are better off when you look at cost of living. Those in Jal make more actual dollars than their counter-parts in NYC, but they have to live in Jal... this means the teachers in NYC are better off.

    The number of hours teachers spend outside of the classroom is highly variable depending upon how long they've been teacher, their particular subject, and their particular teaching style. I don't think it correlates very well with quality.

    The study does not figure in the amount of money that teachers spend out of their own pockets for supplies necessary to do their job. In many districts this is a large amount.

    I disagree with joe. These seems to fairly compare, but once you have averaged something like wages with such a huge range across the population, you are working with pretty meaningless numbers.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ken, Jay Greene is no slouch.

  • ||

    Conservatives tend to share Calvin Coolidge's attitudes towards public employee unions.

    There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time. - Telegram from Governor Calvin Coolidge to Samuel Gompers September 15, 1919.



    Teacher strikes are more frequent than that of police and fire departments. Cons are also more likely to favor breaking the education near-monopoly, while supporting government monopolies on policing and fire fighting.

    I've been been reading articles in Reason on privatizing all these services for close to 30 years.

    Kevin

  • ||

    "... we'd have more doctors if just anybody was allowed to practice medicine."

    This will undoubtedly come as a great shock to you, Dan, but a large proportion of what "doctors" do could be quite effectively replaced, and at vastly reduced expense, by anyone capable of uttering the phrase, "Don't be such a baby!"

  • ||

    Dan T. takes the top troll for comparing teaching certification to licensing doctors (by the by, how do you think teachers would react if they were asked for testing equivalent to medical board exams?), but grumpy realist comes in a close second. GR, parents will likely be more concerned about their kids actually learning instead of getting some meaningless marks. What good does straight As do a kid if they score miserably on their college entrance exams and are unprepared for the work if they do get into college? What a pair of boobs.

  • ||

    So many quibbles in this thread about the numbers, and so little attention paid to the basic conclusions of the study: that it is the WAY we pay teachers (seniority and credentials rather than performance), and not how much, that matters. About that, I couldn't agree more. I'm hard pressed to think of any other professional occupation where pay for performance is not the norm. And I don't buy the argument that teaching is so different from other professions that we somehow can't measure performance.

  • ||

    It's not the norm in many, if not most professions. Teachers, firefighters, police, most get more pay the longer they are there...In a sense they are bargaining security. Again, cons don't go nuts when large companies enter into requirements contracts that utlimately become almost unfathomable (they agreed to buy ALL of company x's product at WHAT price???). But the company bargained for a secure source of the product. Here unions bargain with the state, and one of the things they ask for is rewards for those who stay with the job. If you think the state should not be in the business of providing education, that is one thing, but once they go in why bitch about the fact that the unions bargain collectively.

  • ||

    I just noticed another flaw. The study does not take into account any differences in northern teachers unions and southern teachers unions. What a farce. Teacher's unions in the south are basically rubber stamps for the school boards. In the north, they are much more aggressive. Do they balance out? I have no idea, but by not distinguishing between the two, the study gives the impression that teachers everywhere make $56k.

    Also, we can argue whether pay based on seniority sends the right incentives, but it appears to me that whatever the incentives might be, there will always be a lack of talented teachers. You can mash up the $39/hour or the $56k in a thousand different ways, but if teaching really paid well, you wouldn't have the teaching shortage apparent across the country.

  • ||

    Kevrob,

    Yes, and one can certainly live well in NYC on 33,000 a year, right? Yes, I know, the salary is higher, but so is Cost of Living. As far as 'Cadillac' health care plans, well, nice for them; the health care plans for teachers in other parts of the country suck. And yes, I make my living on 'coerced payments' from the general citizenry. So do military members, which I was for 6 years, and police officers and firemen and numerous other occupations necessary for the public good, no doubt a loaded term around these parts.
    And, by the way, calling them 'publik skools' simply makes you sound snarky and ill-mannered. I'd be willing to put the best public schools against the best private schools anytime. Comparing the two, I will continue to insist, is comparing apples and oranges. PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE TO TAKE ALL STUDENTS. Private schools can pick and choose; that is going to skew numbers. Mandate that private schools have to take all applicants and apply the same curricular and testing standards, and see where the comparison ends up.
    Look, people have been complaining about education for 400 years. The Puritans, for example, constantly argued that children didn't do what they were supposed to, that literacy was lacking, and that discipline was horrible among kids. We will be arguing over it for the next 400 years.
    Hey, you want to let kids choose, let them. I have no problem with that; but we better make sure that children that remain in the public schools are getting a quality education. And, by the way, how do we make sure they have a choice? Some areas only have two or three schools? Who pays for busing hours away to other schools? Who builds new schools? Who will teach at these schools (Florida has a shortage of 30,000 teachers this year, I believe). Should we relax qualifications? What qualifies someone to teach? Content knowledge? Certainly a chemist knows chemistry; doesn't mean he can teach it!
    Rant over. Back to studying. And no doubt there are typos plenty in this comment.

  • ||

    Teachers probably shouldn't be considered professionals as much as tradesmen and they should be payed accordingly (and they probably are).

  • ||

    Pigwiggle:

    They are paid like tradesmen, and the study in question perpetuates that characterization by putting such heavy emphasis on the per hour pay. My only input there is, hey, if you want a iron worker to teach your kids, be my guest. The less you expect of teachers, the less you get. With what teachers get paid, at least in my experience, you aren't going to get anything approaching competence.

  • ||

    You can mash up the $39/hour or the $56k in a thousand different ways, but if teaching really paid well, you wouldn't have the teaching shortage apparent across the country.

    The teacher "shortage" is mainly an artifact of the union-driven quest for smaller classrooms, so I wouldn't exactly call it market-based evidence that teachers are underpaid.

    Google up "teacher shortage" and you will find lots of skepticism.

  • ||

    "It just can't suck that bad or available teaching jobs would be plentiful."

    teaching jobs are plentiful. just not in places that anyone wants to teach.

  • ||

    certainly no parents would want their kids to have smaller classrooms.

  • ||

    RC Dean: Re: "The teacher 'shortage' is mainly an artifact of the union-driven quest for smaller classrooms, so I wouldn't exactly call it market-based evidence that teachers are underpaid."

    There is a shortage of about 30,000 teachers in Florida and the unions are virtually powerless in Florida. My first year teaching, I had 225 students, I was supposed to have around 175, and even that was a high number. There is a teacher shortage, not just a scare. Having 40+ kids in a classroom is basically a waste of everyone's time.

    As for your skepticism, all of the first page google items admitted that there is a teacher shortage. The one skeptic, from a 1998 WSJ article (calling Clinton a scaremongerer), states that there is a shortage, but that it isn't as large as claimed. I've lived the shortage, and I've never seen a report that flat-out denies the shortage. If I did, I would think, hey, when I was breaking my neck trying to deal with close to 40 kids, 6 periods a day with no planning period, I was just imagining things.

  • ||

    I'm a college professor (a category not covered in the report), and I spend a ridiculous amount of time working outside of class. While class is in session, I regularly work 70 hour work weeks, including prep, grading, and other administrative duties. In addition, I work my ass off in the summer and during vacations because I need publications. And I get paid $41,000 a year. I haven't calculated this on an hourly basis, but it is nowhere near $36.00 an hour . . . Actually, I just calculated it (averaging 60 hour work weeks), and it comes to less than $14 an hour.

  • ||

    Lamar,
    Your point about paying the mortgage is something that I can relate to. I work only 40 hours a week (if that, to be honest), have great benefits, flextime and work at a place that is great. The only problem that I have is that I just don't make that much for the area I live in. The mortgage is definitely where it hits the hardest. As enviable as my job may be, I have seriously thought about delivering pizzas with all that spare time I have.
    That's also why I was interested in what kind of summer work a teacher could get. None of those options looked all that lucrative (with the possible exception of clam-raking). If you could maximize your income substantially over the summer, that would be one thing but...

    Of course, I have spent some of my spare time coaching. Those restaurant giftcards I got from the parents did make some difference :)

  • ||

    One contributing factor to the teacher shortage is probably the bureaucratic shenanigans necessary to become a teacher.

    For a while, after college, I was planning to go into teaching. I looked up what was required in CA, and it was astonishing. I had to take many, many hours of classes on topics that ranged from the banal to the ridiculously inapplicable (no, I don't want to teach elementary school. No, I don't need a class to tell me how to do so.). After that was a gauntlet of certification testing and (finally, something justifiable) background checking.

    And after all that, there wasn't any way to guarantee where or (more importantly) *what* I'd be teaching.

    I had a head full of Roman History and composition skills, a desire to teach history and writing to kids, and no way to do so. Meanwhile, the dimwits I went to college with were fast-tracked into classrooms via Teach For America, and were ineptly stumbling through half-understood textbooks. (I had a TFA teacher in high school -- someone who's since parlayed his ineptitude into a writing career on 'inner city schools' -- and let me tell you, those folks are morons).

    I had an urge to help and the knowledge to do so, and the educational establishment really didn't give two shits. For people in a terrible state of emergency, the rank-and-file of the CA education establishment is awfully blasé.

  • ||

    hey, if you want a iron worker to teach your kids, be my guest. The less you expect of teachers ...

    What qualifies teaching as more than a trade, you know, other than the 4 year degree requirement? And what exactly consumed all of 4 years? I'm not looking down my nose at teaching anymore than I would carpentry or locksmithing or any other skilled trade that requires a certain amount of inherent talent. The trade model is probably better as well; the whole apprentice, journeyman, master advancement business.

  • ||

    "What qualifies teaching as more than a trade, you know, other than the 4 year degree requirement?"

    It's the 4 year degree requirement. Plus, tradesmen make things.

  • ||

    I have a hard time believing the 30k teacher shortage in FL. Dade County, one of Florida's most populous counties, lists less than 100 teacher openings, with the largest percentage of those special ed & reading specialists. Brevard County, a medium size county, had three openings for elementary art teachers, 1 k-6 & 1 HS physics teacher plus a dozen or so requisitions for reading specialists.


    http://jobs.dadeschools.net/IOpenPositions.asp

  • ||

    aPheasantPlucker:

    That was an offhand number, but it isn't too far off. It isn't just lefties

  • ||

    Cont'd:
    It isn't just lefties saying so. While I can't address your anectdotal evidence, I can add my own. There simply were not enough teachers, and many of us, including me, left after a short period. Besides, if you knew how teacher positions are filled, you wouldn't be surprised that so few are advertised. Plus, even your figures (assuming that Levy County attracts teachers as easily as Broward) lead to a 7,000 teacher shortage.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Although it's counterintuitive, there is absolutely no correlation between class size and achievement outcome.

    Larry, I don't know where you work but Mrs TWC was earning substantially more than that teaching part time at Cal State Fullerton fifteen years ago. Her out of class time was about equal to her in class time. 3 hours in class, 3 hours grading per week for 13 or 14 weeks for $3,500.00. She also taught at the community college level on a similar basis except the pay was $2,500.00 for an 18 week semester.

    However, she did not receive any benefits because she was part time.

    Had a friend who applied for a job at Riverside Community College. There were over 100 applicants.

  • biologist||

    perhaps there's no correlation between class size and achievement, but there's definitely a correlation between class size and workload (grading, other paperwork tracking students)

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    True enough bio, but for most of the 20th Century standard class size in most districts was 33 to 40 students per class. IOW, the workload hasn't changed until recently and has declined somewhat with smaller class sizes, particularly in Ca where K-3 class size is mandated at 20 max.

    As so many have stated, there is no question that teachers work hard, we'll give you that much. The important difference is that everyone else works hard as well.

    For six decades we've heard that teachers are overworked and underpaid. So, if you skip that noise, you'll find that the flak will diminish substantially.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    For clarity, Mrs TWC was paid $3,500.00 per class she taught at CSUF.

  • biologist||

    that's substantially more than adjunct instructors are paid in Florida. of course, the cost of living is different.

  • ||

    "Although it's counterintuitive, there is absolutely no correlation between class size and achievement outcome."

    Not true. Even skeptics make the argument that the improvements aren't worth the money, etc. Though there is certainly no silver bullet study, and I even think I did a better job when I was loaded down with students, there is NO SUCH CONSENSUS. You may choose to disregard certain studies, but that doesn't make your statement that there is no evidence of positive achievement outcomes more accurate. It just means that you ignored or disregarded the evidence to the contrary.







    "Teachers work hard." OK, so they do. Of course, I've never been successful with such a pussywillow argument. Bosses care about how much value you bring to them. The fact is that there is a teacher shortage, somewhat due to crap pay, somewhat due to other stuff. Many of us moved on. Even if there weren't a teacher shortage, you would probably find a competence shortage.

  • ||

    I give up.

  • vault_dog4||

    Well, I'm not going to get into a spitting contest with people who think that teachers are dummies with a degree. There are poor employees in every sector.

    And I've been in the private school sector and (anecdote alert) I know that grades are bought and paid for largely. That's what your merit pay gets you - richer teachers and dumber kids.

    I coach because I love it and have no problems with the pay.

    However, teaching requires a great deal more than simply reading from the book. And there is no such thing as a three month holiday. Even without the summer workshops and mandated work days, there is barely two months off. I know that is more than other sectors, but just pointing it out.

    Nights and evenings are spent grading and weekends are spent planning. And other extracurricular events are used to enhance and enrich the learning. And without athletics, many wouldn't even show up, wouldn't care about the grades, and definitely wouldn't graduate. Athletics has done more for academics than any standardized test ever will.

    The bureaucracy has grown and we are required to do increasing amounts of paperwork, tracking students, tracking ourselves, observations, professional development, etc.

    The reason that I'm leaving the profession in a year or so is simply due to the fact that 50% of my day is spent doing paperwork unrelated to teaching and also I know that I can make double doing pretty much anything else.

    JMHO

  • Paul||

    Granted, they might get the summer off with pay, but that time is generally spent on training.


    Tarran, don't know which teachers you've been hangin' out with, but the group (and I know many) that I hang out (or are at least acquainted with) with are gone so fast at the beginning of summer, the only evidence they even exist are the hair-pins floating in the air. It's three months of camping, traveling, hanging out, sitting on the beach (if you have one, admittedly).

    Now, I've been hard on teachers over the years. So let me set the record straight. Few teachers get rich being teachers. So what it all really comes down to for me is the bitch factor. Frankly, I don't care if teachers made six figures, that's not the point. But if you're OUTEARNING and OUTBENEFITTED and OUTVACATIONED when compared to, oh, me, then quit whining to me 24/7 about how underappreciated and underpaid you are. I mean, think about it. How would you like to be working three jobs, making minimum wage, supporting two kids and driving a beater-- and have some idiot making considerably more than you bitch NON-stop about how awful his pay is, how terrible it is to be a teacher, how downtrodden he is-- and then be one of the most powerful constituencies on the planet, AND (somebody stop me) if you live in the right swanky urban area- actually become a PROTECTED SPECIES receiving housing subsidies and all other manner of special perks merely because you made the choice to become a teacher. It's like watching a longshoreman who earns $120,000 year, screaming on the picket line about how hard life is for the workin' man.

    Up yours. Bugger off. Teachers are doing fine.

    Oh, my sister-in-law who is..yes, a teacher, very quickly corrected me about her work schedule. She says that because of snow days, her district has to work-- -are you sitting down-- as many as 192 days per year. So my glib, flippant remarks about only working 180 days a year were way...wwway off. So sorry. Whelp, better get back to my high-earning 250 day a year job.

  • ||

    Responding to Steve M:

    ...live well in NYC on 33,000 a year, right? Yes, I know, the salary is higher, but so is Cost of Living.



    The a starting salary for a new hire, isn't too bad - $42,517 . You could rent in the outer boroughs on that salary, though you might need a roommate. As you move up the salary schedule, you'll do alright, especially if you have a working spouse. Is that enough "combat pay" to offset the hazards of working in a NYC P.S.? Maybe not.

    ..the health care plans for teachers in other parts of the country suck.



    I think the discussion has established that in some areas the unions are entrenched and strong and the benefits are subsequently generous. In others the unions don't have as much clout, and the bennies aren't as good. Point taken.

    And yes, I make my living on 'coerced payments' from the general citizenry. So do military members, which I was for 6 years, and police officers



    Equating teachers with policeman is ridiculous. The hallmark of a state is its monopoly on the initiation of the aggressive use of force. Yes, we libertarians can point to municipalities who have hired private firms like Wackenhut or Pinkerton to do part, if not all, of their policing, but we generally don't countenance competing enforcement agencies, except as thought experiments. Private sector military work is a step even farther.

    Government ownership, funding and/or management of schools is a much more recent development, and try as they might the progressives and KKKers have never actually stamped out the remnants of private education.

    ... and firemen...



    In much of the country, firemen are volunteers, and a substantial part of VFD budgets come from donations.

    ...and numerous other occupations necessary for the public good,...



    Given the recent lousy record of publik skools - yeah, I wrote that - arguing that they serve the public good is problematic. in fact, I'd argue that the entire Mann/Dewey enterprise has been damaging to the nature of the Republic.

    .... no doubt a loaded term around these parts.



    Of course. Libertarians are skeptical of claims that a service is so different from others that its provision must be made in common, controlled and funded by the state. Grocery stores serve the "public good," as most of us would starve without access to them. That's no reason to nationalize the grocery industry. Even our welfare system knows enough to provide "grocery vouchers" to its clients: the Food Stamp program.

    ....calling them 'publik skools' simply makes you sound snarky and ill-mannered.



    Maybe so, but calling Government Schools "public" was always a rhetorical trick. The English "public school" was a private creature, called "public" in contrast to private tutoring.

    I'd be willing to put the best public schools against the best private schools anytime.



    Go right ahead. I might disagree with you on which schools are "best." I'm sure the heads of students at Sidwell Friends are filled up with as much PC crap as they are at Suburban Estates Public High.


    ...is comparing apples and oranges. PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE TO TAKE ALL STUDENTS.



    Except when they expel troublemakers into "alternative schools," a policy I find eminently sensible.

    Private schools can pick and choose; that is going to skew numbers.



    That's not always true. In the Milwaukee Choice Program that isn't the case. If a kid has a voucher, he can attend any participating school that hasn't filled up its "choice slots." As for the rest of the country, most private school kids go to religious schools. I haven't heard that they discriminate against non-members of their faiths. The Catholic Schools in many big cities educate significant numbers of minority students. You might expect that mostly Catholic Hispanics would take to Catholic education, but mostly Protestant African-Americans are served, also.

    Mandate that private schools have to take all applicants and apply the same curricular and testing standards, and see where the comparison ends up.



    In other words, replicate the format of government education, with perhaps a tacked-on religion class? That's silly. The differences in curricula, discipline and often religious content is what makes the two types of schools different. A Chevy could match a Ferrari sometimes, if you made the Italian car use a Detroit engine.

    The problem of teaching "special needs" children could be dealt with by assigning students eligible for such help a "super voucher" that is worth substantially more than the normal ones. Parents may choose to spend those at schools especially suited to their child's particular needs, which might thwart the militant mainstreamers. But as long as any such segregation is self-segregation, I wouldn't object to it.

    I remember having to take Iowa basic skills tests and the like in Catholic grammar school, and we took the New York State Regents exams, just like the "public" kids. That may have been state-required or voluntary, but either way our schools held their own against the Scarsdales and Great Necks.

    (More to come)

    Kevin

  • ||

    ...additional


    ...people have been complaining
    about education for 400 years. - Steve M.



    Don't be a piker! Go back to Plato, Aristotle and Socrates! What is The Republic but the mad dream of the West's first Edu-blob thinktanker?

    ..you want to let kids choose, let them. I have no problem with that;



    I'd prefer their parents do the choosing, but I suppose the rare child could be trusted to do that job. Good to know you aren't reflexively anti-choice.

    ....make sure that children that remain in the public schools are getting a quality education.



    At least for our inner city schools, nobody seems to know how to do that in the current model.

    And, by the way, how do we make sure they have a choice?



    ***snipping workability objections****

    The Milwaukee experience shows that, when funds are made available, schools will be organized to spend them. Shopping out in the boonies can get limited, so I suppose those in densely populated areas will have more choices in schools as they do in stores. As for busing, in the Northeastern state I grew up in, the government paid for busing of all students to schools within a certain radius from their homes, assuming you didn't live close enough to walk. The government provided private school children with textbooks, too. "Aid to the student" is constitutional, even if state aid to a religious organization isn't. As for qualifications for teaching, I am not exactly sure what they should be. I'd let the market decide them. Various certification groups could arise, just as there are competing accreditation outfits for schools. From what I can tell about Ed School, much of what they teach is actively harmful to kids, so I wouldn't trust the Blob to set standards.

    I'm not going to bust anyone over keyboarding errors in posting on H&R, unless it produces something that's accidently hilarious. I make enough of my own mistakes.

    And, generally:

    As for class size, when my elementary school still had a significant number of nuns teaching, and tuition could be kept low enough, there would be 50 students in a first grade class. By the time 8th grade graduation rolled around, and the post-Vatican II vocation drought had caused the school to hire a majority of lay teachers, class size was down to a little over 30. That was similar to what we had in our Catholic H.S. classes. What we lacked was the most modern science equipment, anything like a language lab, and minimal art and music training. We had to be satisfied with a 90%-plus college acceptance rate, and every 40th kid in our graduating class a National Merit finalist. Small class size may mean more work for teachers, but it doesn't necessarily hurt student achievement.

    Vault: I've got a brother who eventually took after my Dad and became a coach. For several years he worked as a volunteer, just to get enough experience to land a paying part-time coaching gig. He was working in Arizona and Texas, and his main sport is football, so he could relate to you. he didn't care how poorly a high school paid him. His goal was to get noticed by some college, and move up into those ranks. Not all compensation is monetary, or immediate.

    Kevin

  • vault_dog4||

    After looking at those stats for starting teachers in NY, it's looking like I picked the wrong state!

    Starting teacher salary in Texas: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/school.finance/salary/sal07exp.html

    1st year - 27,320

  • ||

    Starting salaries for Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio all start around 35-38k a year. So it isn't as bad as it seems.

  • ||

    "Up yours. Bugger off. Teachers are doing fine."

    Teachers are doing well...except the ones who leave the profession to make a decent living. It is interesting how everybody seems to know all these party-hound teachers who run off to the tropics for three months every year. The only teachers I knew who did that had non-teacher spouses or no kids.

    Silly me, I was thinking about whether I could raise a family on the wage, not dick around for a couple of months over the summer. Like I said, teachers are doing fine, except the ones who leave because it doesn't pay very well. I guess market forces for wages don't count here.

  • ||

    huh?

  • vault_dog4||

    I don't know what the solution to all of this could be, but I know at least two things that won't help: vouchers and merit pay.

    The free market is great, but you can't put free market parts into a non-free market system and expect it to get better.

    And we would have to overhaul everything about education that we have accepted for over a century (especially with educational psych and cognitive development).

    Not saying public education is perfect, but privatized schools are not a panacea.

  • ||

    Quoting vault_dog4

    ... two things that won't help: vouchers and merit pay.



    Why not? The Milwaukee School Choice program seems to satify the parents of those children. Along with other choice options, including virtual schools, open enrollment, and charter schools, they look to be saving students one kid at a time. Now, the standard issue government schools are having problems improving performance, but that's not the fault of the choice alternatives.

    As for merit pay, I don't know if we'll ever see that in an unadulterated form. I expect that, where a union is strong, there will be a bad case of "everybody gets a bonus."

    ....you can't put free market parts into a non-free market system and expect it to get better.



    Sure you can. Contracting out a service can be more efficient than a municipality managing a program. Our colleges and universities are well-thought-of internationally, and many of them are private. Some aid follows the student at both types of institutions - Pell Grants, subsidized loans, G.I. Bill, etc.

    And we would have to overhaul everything about education that we have accepted for over a century (especially with educational psych and cognitive development).



    I don't have the expertise to criticize that, except to wonder whether whatever the accepted orthodoxy is actually works. Alternatives such as Montessori and Waldorf have their proponents, and parents that use them swear by them. I'd prefer a universe of theories competing to prove themselves to top-down dicta from state Ed Depts.

    Not saying public education is perfect, but privatized schools are not a panacea.



    I'm not saying private education is perfect, and it's no panacea, but separation of school and state conforms more to liberty than state-run systems. A ban on governments owning and operating schools was a serious oversight in the writing of the First Amendment and its state counterparts. Pehaps that's because, at the time of the founding, secular common schools paid for by the state were virtually non-existent.

    Kevin

  • vault_dog4||

    There are too many problems with allowing children to have vouchers and move to new schools where they feel they are better served.

    First, in rural areas (in Texas, where I reside) there are a limited amount of choices. Kids will be stuck no matter how many vouchers you give them. To ask a family to move or to send their kid to a boarding school or relative is almost laughable.

    Second, schools are fairly inelastic in size. If a school is popular enough and in a metro area, they will not be able to take all kids that want to go there. There are only so many kids you can fit into a classroom or school until you have to build new buildings. And since property taxes, not vouchers, pay for school improvements (as is in Texas), the schools will not receive any additional funding to help increase the size.

    Third, since only children with available options will be the ones changing schools, it will be those that are able (city children with means of transportation). These will typically be your upper class students that have good grades anyways (primarily) and want to get away from whatever is plaguing them in their current school. In Texas, we call this 'white flight'.

    Due to this, obviously schools that take in these great number of scholastic overacheivers will have terrific scores and wonderful success.

    Merit pay will award those teachers that have great kids. Teachers that deal with learning disabled kids will have a harder time receiving merit pay than a teacher that only deals with AP or Honors students. Hence, it will pay more to teach smarter kids. Actually, the more important part is that is will pay LESS to teach the not as intelligent kids.

    Poorer schools will get poorer and richer schools will get richer. Inner city schools will continue to lose teachers and quality of instruction.

    As for the ed pysch, just my opinion that all kids don't learn at the same rate and grade placement should depend on intelligence level, not age. Of course, if your pay depends on children passing to the next grade level, we're back to square one.

    Just my observations.

  • ||

    First, we shouldn't let the peculiar circumstances of rural children make the rule for kids who live in cities, suburbs and close-in "exurbs." If people choose to live in areas where population density is so low that only one school is economically viable, that's no different than the days when one's alternatives for shopping were the General Store or the mail order catalog. In pioneer days, families would sometimes send their children to boarding schools. If that's too unrealistic for today's students, home schooling is an option, and the virtual school might be especially appealing to rural folks.

    As for schools having to turn away students, that can be handled several ways. Where I grew up, placement in many of the the local private high schools was determined by an application process centered around a cooperative entrance examination. You picked 4 schools in order of preference, and waited to see if you got into your top choice or got on the waiting list. There were no vouchers involved, however. Milwaukee is the city whose voucher experiment I'm most familiar with. As of now, only low-income students can participate. When there is competition for slots at a school, a random selection lottery is turned to.* I believe Cleveland does the same, and Florida did, too, before their state court struck down their plan. I'd prefer vouchers to only extend to poorer families, as parents who can afford it ought to pay tuition. Then we could take a whack at some state and local taxes. New choice schools don't tend to be large. Older participating schools haven't ballooned in size, in part because the state has set caps on participation in the program. If that is a real problem, the changeover could be phased in, and the caps slowly lifted, giving schools time to organize and/or expand.

    As for "white flight"...

    ... it is often not the "good" students who leave. Their parents are often satisfied with how they are doing. Citing research from University of Wisconsin professor John Witte, Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, and Kim Metcalf of the Indiana University School of Education, Caire and Fuller point out that it is failing students whose parents are desperate to find alternatives who are flocking to school choice programs. Casey Lartigue Jr - Helping Kids Succeed in School Is Not "Creaming"



    Calculating merit pay could be tricky. Having better students could be offset by pretesting classes, and judging the teachers on student improvement. Moving an D- student to a C would be more of an achievement than getting an A student up to A+. Again, LD students ought to get a super-voucher, and their teachers should be judged on their charges' relative progress.

    It's still a damned bad idea to have children spend their formative years in the grip of an essentially socialist institution. It's bad for the formation of the citizenry. Citizensgip training was part of the original excuse to get government involved in schooling in the first place, wasn't it?

    Kevin

  • ||

    Like all new programs, school choice has some ups and downs. Kevrob alluded to one situation I think is very true. Good students don't necessarily change to the best schools because they are successful where they are. A lot of this has to do with the participation of parents in their child's education. A lot of the parents of underachieving children want to send them to different schools not realizing that they have the tools at the local school, just not the right participation in their child's education. That's a long-winded way of that parents blame the school for their own shortcomings.

  • Bryce McMinn, Meriden||

    According to the BLS, the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005.

  • Bryce McMinn, Meriden||

    Teacher are

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