Are Public School Teachers Overpaid or Are Private School Teachers Underpaid?

There's no question that it's difficult (though not impossible) to do straight-up apples-to-apples compensation comparisons between the 9 percent or so of public-sector workers and the 91 percent of private-sector drones.

But when it comes to paying K-12 teachers, the issue at the heart of Wisconsin's recent protests and a bunch about to erupt all over the country, that comparison is relatively straightforward because there are private- and public-sector teachers who do the same basic task.

So what gives when you look at public-school and private-school teachers? The National Center for Education Statistics puts it this way: Using 2007-2008 data (the latest available), the average "total school-year and summer earned income" for public school teachers was $53,230 . The equivalent for private-school teachers was $39,690.

That's a whopping $13,540 differential on salary alone. And in virtually every subset (highest degree earned, years of experience, you name it), the public-school teachers do far better than the private-school ones. I've yet to come up with good comparative figures for health and retirement benefits, but there's little doubt that it will widen the gap between public and private (if you've got the datasets, please send 'em my way!).

Question: Do you think that private-school teachers are underpaid or that public-school teachers are overpaid?

Bonus questions: Would reducing the average public-school teacher salary (not to mention compensation) decrease the budget deficits facing somewhere around 48 or 49 states? And would reducing those salaries drive out all the decent people so that only the sorts of dregs teaching in private schools would remain?

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  • Old Mexican||

    Are Public School Teachers Overpaid or Are Private School Teachers Underpaid?


    I'll put it easy for you: Public School teachers are overpaid by 100% of their current salary, by virtue of it coming from thievery (waht some call with a very sick sense of humor taxation.) PERIOD.

    When public school teachers begin to be paid by voluntary donations, THEN we can talk about who's receiving more or less.

  • 7||

    Are you that old guy who stands up and rants at my City Council meetings until Betty the Chairwoman thanks you for your contribution and civic-mindedness and asks you nicely if you could please sit down now so they could get on with it already?

  • db||

    Yeah, because people who dare to disagree with the Council and demand that their money be spent responsibly or not at all are just goofy old coots who are best handled by patronizing them. You suck.

  • ||

    No, Old Mexican's demand had nothing to do with government money being spent "responsibly." His demand was that the government not spend any at all (at least for schools).

  • wat||

    That's the only responsible thing to do.

  • db||

    Low reading comprehension scores?

  • db||

    On your part; I realize it's 24 hours later so you'll prob. never see this, but read my original comment more closely.

  • ll||

    11/12 times private school students do better than public school student on gov. tests.

  • ||

    In Los Angeles, public school teachers earn an average of about $2 per student per hour (before taxes).
    What are babysitting rates are these days?

  • ||

    sorry..."Wonder what babysitting rates are these days?

  • ||

    Let's not forget the elephant in the room: prisons spend $34,000 a year for each prisoner, while schools spend maybe $8000 or so for each student.

  • ll||

    Average student in LA cost 15k per year.

  • ||

    I just watched a segment on CNN where this idiot, Steve Perry, compared teacher wages to private sector employees without mentioning that most private sector employees don't have college degrees.

    Aside from CNN and others jumping on the anti-teacher bandwagon, to compare private school teachers to public school teachers is also moronic.
    Private school teachers do not require the same state teaching credentials as do their pubic school counterparts...nor are they held to the standards of "No Child Left Behind."

    FYI - Teachers should not be responsible for solving the issues of poverty and race when research shows that parental involvement plays the largest role in a child's academic success.

  • ||

    I have not read any of the comments yet, but here are my thoughts.

    1. Question re public teachers being underpaid/overpaid.

    First, I would say that beginning teachers and those with middling seniority are underpaid. Those with extensive education and seniority are adequately paid and most probably are not overpaid. With regard to either group, I would say there should be a fair system of merit pay. Also, perhaps these teachers could pay a bit more toward their pensions, health insurance, and other benefits.

    Second, with regard to private school teachers, you have to sort out the nature of the private school.

    At schools run by churches, I suspect most are underpaid, but some/many of these teachers are teaching at these schools by choice (for religious reasons, e.g.).

    At the amalgam of alternative schools (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.), teachers probably are underpaid, again perhaps because of their choice to teach at such a school.

    At prep schools traditionally aimed at the kids of wealthy families, I would guess the teachers are paid adequately.

    At public charter schools, teachers are probably paid on par with other public school teachers (see above).

    At charter schools run by private, for-profit corporations or nonprofit groups (churches, civic groups, etc.), I suspect the teachers are underpaid; again, some of the teachers at these schools are there by their own choice.
    At most of these private schools, I suspect teachers have inadequate benefits and thus shouldn't be forced to pay more for them. It would be better if they had better salaries and benefits and could afford to pay more toward their improved benefits.

    2. Would reducing the average public-school teacher salary (not to mention compensation) decrease the budget deficits facing somewhere around 48 or 49 states?

    Answer: Either yes (minimally) or no. If they paid a bit more toward benefits there might be a slightly noticeable reduction in the budget deficits of the states/school districts.

    3. Would reducing public school teachers' salaries drive out all the decent people so that only the sorts of dregs teaching in private schools would remain?

    Shame, shame, shame on Nick Gillespie. What makes you condescendingly state that private school teachers are dregs? Do you have A Ph.D. -- Arrogance piled higher and deeper?

    I believe the predominant majority of teachers at any sort of school, private or public, are honorable, intelligent, well-intended people.

    The answer to your question: most teachers' salaries need to be increased. As most studies have found, whether there are unions or no unions, government jobs at any particular level of education and experience pay less than similar jobs in the private sector.

  • ||

    Public school teachers are UNDERPAID. Private school teachers are also UNDERPAID. there is a serious prob if u think teachers are overpaid

  • robc||

    Private school teachers make what the free market bears, so they are paid the "right" amount. Thus, that answers your first question.

    However, if we eliminated government schools, would that lead to that number being higher, lower, or the same? I cant say. And that is the true "correct" number.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: robc,

    However, if we eliminated government schools, would that lead to that number being higher, lower, or the same?


    Depends. If all public schools were closed AT ONCE, the wage level would necessarily drop because of increased supply. Once more private institutions are open (and I would be one to open one in a jiffy with such supply), wage levels would stabilize, possibly LOWER than current, because remember: The private institutions are NOW competing with the public institutions in wages, and the public institutions are not playing fair (as their money comes from thieving the public, not from voluntary exchange.) Once that unfair competition is GONE, there's no saying the wage levels will reach the same level. Maybe it would, if people are enticed to be something else besides a teacher. Maybe there's already an INFLATED number of teachers because of the higher wages and benefits for relatively easy work.

  • DNS||

    Maybe there's already an INFLATED number of teachers because of the higher wages and benefits for relatively easy work.

    DING! DING! DING!

  • Pedant||

    OMG, easy work! Clearly you're not a teacher!

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    Clearly, you've never been self-employed.

  • JD||

    Another factor leading to an oversupply of teachers has been the push to train more teachers so as to lower class sizes, despite the fact that studies have failed to show a benefit of small class sizes (except to teachers' unions).

  • ||

    I remember when the teacher unions were screaming for more pay and teachers to reduce class size to beat the Japanese, but refusing to acknowledge that the Japanese used a lot of memorization and had bigger class sizes.

    I'd have liked to shove some of that magic have-it-and-eat-it cake in their silly faces.

  • ||

    What if the closure of all public schools brought increased competition to all the newly private schools. Parents, instead of being stuck sending their kids to underperforming, crappy public schools, would try to choose the best schools they could-- especially since they want quality for their money. More concern about the quality of education for which they would be paying out of pocket may increase the competition for really good schools and therefore good teachers who would be rewarded according to merit. This demand for quality teachers might cause bad teachers to leave the market (no one would hire them, at least not at high salaries) and the remaining quality teachers would raise the average salaries.

  • ||

    And you know this to be easy work because?... If it is easy work than you suck as a teacher and should be doing something else anyway.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Not to mention the sheer number of customers compulsed into school.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Or compelled. That's my publik edumakashun for you.

  • Old Mexican||

    The National Center for Education Statistics puts it this way: Using 2007-2008 data (the latest available), the average "total school-year and summer earned income" for public school teachers was $53,230 . The equivalent for private-school teachers was $39,690.


    Even accounting for years of experience, that is one whopping gap between private and public. Unless students receiving public-funded education end up becoming Rhodes scholars compared to their privately-taught counterparts, that gap is NOT justified.

  • Zeb||

    Remember that private school salaries include parochial schools and other charity based schools where pay may be artificially low. Fancier private schools pay their teachers quite well. I expect that in a market based education system (which I support) there will be a much wider spread of pay rates among teachers.

  • freedomsadvocate||

    guess that means we need to pass a law to pay private-sector teachers more?

  • prolefeed||

    Question: Do you think that private-school teachers are underpaid or that public-school teachers are overpaid?

    My sister-in-law works as a teacher at a private school (Maryknoll) and makes way less than she would as a public school teacher. When I asked her why she didn't go for the big salary increase, she gave me one of those are-you-fucking-kidding-me looks and said "Because then I'd be working for the DOE."

    So, perversely, the higher pay for public school teachers might be considered a fair differential to compensate for the bullshit attendant upon working for the state.

    The solution, of course, is to get rid of public schools and get happier teachers getting paid less.

  • Neu Mejican||

    So, perversely, the higher pay for public school teachers might be considered a fair differential to compensate for the bullshit attendant upon working for the state.

    This is, actually, very true. Think of it as combat pay. Indeed, even public school districts pay teachers more to work in the tougher schools. I wonder what the numbers look like when you control for class size.

  • prolefeed||

    Not so much combat pay as put-up-with-bureaucratic-bullshit pay. I have a friend who teaches in a really rough neighborhood on Oahu and her complaints mainly aren't about the students, who she loves despite their dysfunctional families and upbringings, but about the effing DOE (Department of Education) getting in the way of her teaching effectively and getting results.

  • B||

    Having talked to teachers over the years, I have noticed that the good ones don't like bureaucrats whose silly rules prevent them from teaching effectively.

    The principled teachers who actually care about the kids are willing to take lower pay to actually get to TEACH in a private school. Many who teach in the public schools don't mind the bureaucracy because they aren't there to teach at all - just to draw a salary - or because they are too stupid to realize that they don't have a clue what they're doing.

    The good, principled teachers who remain in the public schools necessarily have some other good qualities too, such as perseverance, bravery, and patience.

  • ||

    My coworker's wife gets retard pay, even. Seriously. She gets paid a lot more because almost no one is willing to deal with the 'tards, who can sometimes be dangerous. She got smacked around a little just a few weeks ago.

  • prolefeed||

    True story: a bright, perceptive person in my reader's group mentioned that he was a special ed teacher. I asked him how many kids he taught -- long silence, then he said with this puzzled look like he was thinking "why am I explaining the obvious?":

    "One."

    He teaches ONE kid. That's his entire job. One bright, potentially productive person is doing nothing but teaching a single kid who will almost certainly never amount to much.

    So, those averages for public school costs per kid might not mean a heck of a lot unless you break it down into special ed teachers and their "students" versus everyone else.

  • B||

    "One bright, potentially productive person is doing nothing but teaching a single kid who will almost certainly never amount to much."

    Yeah, I've always wondered about this. I mean, I want to be kind to everybody and all, but I wonder about stuff like this. If one teacher could three or four retards to be dishwashers some day, maybe that would be worthwhile and life-affirming and everything - but ONE? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just send them to a giant playground with minimal staffing for life?

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    That is my sister's big selling point too. She also has said that a lot of the growth in education spending (at least in her district) has been in special education, working to make sure those 5 kids manage to get to an 8th grade level someday.

    It does lead to the inability to talk to her rationally about special education. I proctored an exam last year where one of the engineering students got double time on exams as a 'reasonable accommodation.' We had quite an argument over how 'fair' that was. As for my view on speds, fuck em. One of them threw up on me in high school.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Epi, there are probably more private 'tard schools than there are public schools taking them. A friend's wife teaches special ed and she taught both public and private over her career - and they have an autistic child. She teaches special ed at a public school to pay for the special ed at a private school for her kid because she knows first hand how much better her kid's needs will be met at the private school but they wouldn't be able to afford it on a private school salary.

  • ||

    Most private schools offer free tuition for teachers' kids. Mine did.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Well that sparked some pretty ignorant anecdotes.

  • Sand||

    Am I in your vagina, NM?

  • ||

    Both are overpaid... not because I don't value teachers but because higher salaries in the public sector invariably increase the competitive pressure to pay private teachers more than a true market equilibrium.

    As for the second question (which I assume is tongue-in-cheek), private school teachers have more freedom and flexibility than their private counterparts. While I'm sure some private school teachers suck, they are also easier to fire and have to please their customers, i.e., tuition paying parents. That said, can someone tell me what private and public college professors so often suck?

  • ||

    Oops... I'm pretty sure I know "what" they suck. The real question is "why"? Though... what is funnier.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Jose Ortega y Gasset,

    Both are overpaid... not because I don't value teachers but because higher salaries in the public sector invariably increase the competitive pressure to pay private teachers more than a true market equilibrium.


    Shit - you beat me to it. I explained the same to robc above, but posted later than you.

  • ||

    The young Spaniard outdraws the Old Mexican.

  • Old Mexican||

    Like a Sergio Leone movie script...

  • Sergio Leone Script||

    [creak]

    [hard stare]

    [wind whistles]

    [worried hispanic woman bites lip]


    [tough hombre suck at a blade of grass]


    Clint Eastwood: Whisky!

  • robc||

    can someone tell me what private and public college professors so often suck?

    It depends on the school but primarily because they are being rewarded for research, not for teaching skills. If you hire and promote the best researchers, the teaching is going to be a crap shoot.

  • ||

    I was think more a price signal flaw, perhaps because so many of my professors sucked so hard.

  • prolefeed||

    It's more a flaw of having the people in charge of hiring being almost unanimously statists, and hiring more of them.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    The best teacher at my engineering undergrad was not involved with research at all (well, maybe 10 hours a month). He was teaching because he liked teaching and dynamics.

    The worst was an esteemed biomedical researcher. He was teaching because he needed to teach 3 courses a year to keep his research lab.

  • Mensan||

    I had a professor who would somewhat regularly forget to show up for his lectures. You didn't dare leave, however, because sometimes he just showed up 30-45 minutes late, and then gave his lecture, and all exam questions came directly from the lecture.

    But he was tenured and brought the most research grant money into the department.

  • ||

    "Good teacher. He really seems to care. About what I have no idea."

  • ||

    Ah Sam and Rodney, may they rest in peace.

  • robc||

    I was having a similar discussion earlier and wondered something...First, Milwaukee teaches will avg over 100k in compensation in 2011 (56k salary, 44k benefits). Also, Milwaukee, as far as I can tell from googling, has absolutely awful schools. So, is it possible that there is an inverse correlation (at the high end) between compensation and quality?

    Here is my rationale, good teachers are good because they care. They arent in it JUST for the money. However, as teacher salaries have gone up, it has attracted people who care more about the money than educating, and 100k in compensation while being difficult to fire is hard to get other places. Thus, you have people who dont care about education and the quality goes down.

    Thoughts?

  • Humble Lee||

    ^THIS

  • ||

    Education has always been a place for the underwhelming to thrive. K-12, higher ed, it doesn't matter. Good teachers are rare because "good teaching" has very little to do with surviving the educational bureaucracy where mediocrity and political correctness are venerated. A system driven by mediocrity attracts the mediocre. A system that makes it nearly impossible to fire a teacher attracts people who would be fired by any other employer. So it goes.

  • New York City Rubber Rooms||

    Lots of them wind up here where they still recieve a full sallary while not actually having to teach anyone.

  • Uncle Chester||

    Of course, the damned schools actually keep OUT those of us who would really love to teach your kids.

    Seriously, I'd pay $10K a year to teach the 5th graders.

  • some guy||

    I think bringing up a specific school district offers the opportunity to talk on this topic with some specificity. It's fortunate for all of us reading these thoughts and an economist at the university of Wisconsin has researched the compensation for public school teachers in Wisconsin and I think offer some real nuts and bolts to the discussion. Here is a link to the research. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2470.....-Underpaid

  • rather||

    Private school teachers are 'underpaid' but they voluntarily choose the system because of the benefits. They receive a substantial discount/free tuition for their own children, and the work environment is dedicated to learning, and not disciplining difficult children.

  • Pip||

    Christ are you stupid. Public teacher's kids get "free" tuition at public schools.

    You really are fucking stupid.

  • PIRS||

    And this is why a disproportionate number of Public School teachers send THEIR kids to private schools where they have to pay?

  • rather||

    Pip, I am sorry your mother dropped you on your head

  • The Gobbler||

    Hello Shit Factory!

    (and hello Pip)

  • rather||

    STFU idiot-another fucking bore. At least Pop's retardation amuses me. I don't think he even knows how stupid he is, but 'Shit Factory' is as interesting as the Golden Girl meme.

  • Nipplemancer||

    Hellooo Pickle Factory!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,

    They receive a substantial discount/free tuition for their own children


    I thought public education was JUST as good as private education, so how can you argue that tuition is an added benefit seeked by the private teacher? That makes no sense under that view.

    NOW, if you want to argue that private schools are BETTER, well well well well! Then what DOES justify the higher salaries and benefits of the public school counterparts???

  • rather||

    Who said I am defending public schools?

    WTF, I advocate a private education but not all our parents can afford it, and unlike you 'let them drop dead'/Charity Fairy™ HC 'realist', I want the 'Lord of the flies' mob to get SOME education.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,

    Who said I am defending public schools?


    If you argue that private school tuition is something sought after by the private school teacher, then it FOLLOWS that private education MUST be better ENOUGH for the teacher to accept the discount. This only makes sense IF public education is really worse than private education.

    If SO, the discount makes sense. If NOT, the discount makes NO sense.

    Since you are the one arguing this, you must accept the fact that private education is indeed BETTER than public education. If that's the case, then the GAP between salaries becomes even MORE obvious and cannot be explained simply by private teachers accepting a discount - the public teachers are STILL being overpaid since it is obvious their product is WORSE! Their productivity to cost ratio has to be worse than that for a private school teacher.

    So, again, what are you trying to say? That private school teachers are NOT being underpaid because they take a "discount" in exchange for free tuition? If that's the case, that leaves the gap because of demonstrable UNDERPERFORMANCE of the public school teacher. Otherwise, you're just uttering pure bullshit.

  • Rather||

    I'm saying that private school educators choose less salary for the benefit of tuition assistance or gratis and that they can make the choice based on their personal circumstances. IOW, it is not a black & white issue because:

    #1 some areas do not have private education because of their excellent public choice

    #2 Lower salary may not be beneficial if a teacher is childless

    Isn't that how your free market works?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rather,

    I'm saying that private school educators choose less salary for the benefit of tuition assistance or gratis and that they can make the choice based on their personal circumstances.


    For that to happen, it follows they value private education more than public education enough to take the discount (the lower wage) and not send their kids to a school they still pay with their taxes. So either you're implying that public schools have to be, generally, crappy, for the above to make sense, or you're just pulling one out of your ass.

    IOW, it is not a black & white issue because:
    #1 some areas do not have private education because of their excellent public choice
    #2 Lower salary may not be beneficial if a teacher is childless


    And so what explains the disparity, then? Is it tuitions, is it NOT tuitions, is it something else, or maybe YOU HAVE NO IDEA and you don't really have an alternative theory to "public teachers are overpaid."

    Because no matter the angle, the taxfed leeches ARE overpaid. From my perspective, 100% of their salary overpaid.

  • rather||

    what part of the world isn't black or white do you not understand?

  • DNS||

    I want the 'Lord of the flies' mob to get SOME education.

    Then open a school or a Math-nasium.

  • Humble Lee||

    "Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year."

    - NEA General Counsel (now retired) Bob Chanin in 2009

  • Virginia||

    Classic. Thanks, Mr. Chanin!

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7f5_1285637004

  • ||

    Very different candidate pool. Private school teachers rarely have "education" degrees. The ave degrees in English, Math, History, etc. The Ed courses are very effective in filtering anyone with intellect and imagination out of the system.

  • ||

    +1

  • dmoynihan||

    This!

  • Fluffy||

    You know what?

    Getting drawn into comparisons of compensation is a sucker's game. The left doesn't really care.

    They also don't care about all the material you dig up showing how public employees abuse the system to avoid actually having to work.

    That's because to the left, it's good that public employees are overpaid and don't actually do their work except when they feel like it.

    That is the way the left thinks the world should be.

    They see a story about how some NYC teacher is getting paid 100 grand a year to sit in the rubber room where they put the worst teachers, and they say, "That is how the world should work. How wonderful it is that at least a few people are spared the relentless evil of dog-eat-dog competition."

  • ||

    Exactly. Businesses and governments exist to provide jobs divorced from concerns of profit or effectiveness. It really quite a perverse viewpoint.

  • Robert||

    That's ridiculous. The "left" are consumers too. They prefer bad service?

  • DNS||

    The "left" are consumers too. They prefer bad service?

    There are two types of lefties Robert: The Haves Lefties and the Have Not Lefties. The Haves, who pay lip service to the Have Nots, don't have to worry themselves. They get to choose the level of service.

    Neither prefer bad service; the Have Nots will demand better at the expense of others.

  • cynical||

    I think they just don't think about the implications of their viewpoint.

  • Apogee||

    They prefer bad service?

    They prefer bad service for others.

    As DNS said:
    You can see it in where the Haves send their kids to school. The Have Nots don't realize that they are the 'others'.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The table linked does not indicate (unless I missed it on my quick browse) the range of salaries in both groups. From my experience, both public and private school salaries for teachers vary widely between districts within a state (public) or from institution to institution (private).

    The highest salaries in the industry are at posh private schools and very remote public schools.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Neu Mejican,

    From my experience, both public and private school salaries for teachers vary widely between districts within a state (public) or from institution to institution (private).


    Fluffy: "Getting drawn into comparisons of compensation is a sucker's game. The left doesn't really care."

    Gee, you read them like a book, Fluffy!

  • Joe||

    That is not accurate. Posh private schools do not pay the highest wages- and the remote public schools pay a pittance vs those in major urban areas. Your facts are wrong.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I'll go with my facts.
    They are more accurate than yours as far as I can tell.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And Joe,

    It is true that the average rural salary is lower than the average in large urban areas. I am talking about the salaries on the margins. Also, urban districts keep their teachers longer which skews the averages. The remote districts tend to start teachers nearer the top of the wage scale in order to attract new teachers.

  • Apogee||

    I'll go with my facts.

    It looks like you'll just go with your ideology.

    Don't worry, you'll always be able to identify some variable that will produce the outcome you're looking for.

  • Neu Mejican||

    What, pray tell, is my "ideology" about teacher salaries? And what outcome am I supposedly looking for?

  • Mensan||

    Neu Mejican|2.23.11 @ 2:47AM|#
    I'll go with my facts.

    fact noun \ˈfakt\ : a piece of information presented as having objective reality

    You cannot have your own.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Mensan,

    fact noun \ˈfakt\ : a piece of information presented as having objective reality

    And, of course, I was going with the pieces of information that were presented by ME as objective reality.

    I will note that this is an odd definition, what with the "presented as" hedge.

  • Zeb||

    I would like to see more data on that as well. A few especially egregious examples don't really give a fair sense of what compensation for public school teachers looks like. I think that you are incorrect about the remote schools paying well, though. At least where I live, the very rural schools do not pay all that well.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I am going with my own experience. Highest wages I have heard of for teachers are in northern Alaska. In New Mexico I could have almost doubled my salary by teaching in the sticks. But I didn't want to live in the sticks. It may vary considerably state to state in that sense...it may take a state like NM or Alaska where being in the middle of nowhere MEANS something to see rural salaries higher than urban salaries. Perhaps.

  • Apogee||

    I am going with my own experience.

    Yet you demand statistics and studies from others.

    When produced, you say: "Hmm, those don't seem right."

    Look, you're going to believe what you want about salaries, that's obvious, but you have to admit that the above quote about it all being about dues and power from the former NEA head points to a problem that makes the salary issue somewhat moot, regardless of the impasse.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Actually, all I "demand" is something more than unsupported assertions that I am wrong IF I am going to be convinced that my own experience is incorrect. I am pretty willing to change my mind based on facts. Joe didn't provide any...just an assertion.

    When produced, you say: "Hmm, those don't seem right."

    Only when they don't seem right. In that case, I investigate further. In the case of my initial comment here...there was not "that doesn't seem right" implied. I just wondered about information not provided.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Kids don't get "free" tuition, PARENTS and single people are paying through property taxes. I don't have any kids but if Aunt Jemima decides to breed ten chillen then I'm paying for all of them.

    As for those teachers being underpaid, hey, they get PENSIONS at our expense.

    BILL THAT WOULD HAVE BANNED SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS FAILS.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....smoke.html

  • ||

    if Aunt Jemima decides to breed ten chillen

    That is some sweet, fake-maple-flavor racism right there. Please fuck off forever. Please.

  • Joe||

    +100

    Plus, not mention of Mrs. Butterworth? I mean, sure she's a little thick, but c'mon.

    (I thought all racists who would say such things as "aunt jemima" were dead.)

  • rather||

    Joe, I grant thee the Mark Twain of H&R

  • ||

    I'm reading the new Mark Twain autobiography. It's like 1,500 pages. And it's Volume 1.

  • rather||

    I loved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court-really, a kiss to time travel

  • Almanian||

    My daughter got that for me. I'm hoping to get through it before I DIE.

  • rather||

    It takes patience; I would put it away, and go back to it but it was a book you think about afterwards-I don't say that often

  • ||

    I love, love, love Twain.

  • Sudden||

    Besides, I think the more contemporarily accurate reference would be to a Hispanic woman. Then it would also fit with the "They're takin' our JERBS!!!!!11!!!" meme.

  • ||

    You know what's weird? My kids prefer fake syrup to the real thing. I can't contend with that sort of insanity.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Your kids are barbarians. You have lost my respect forever (unless you build a space elevator and let me produce space beer).

  • Sudden||

    Space beer with caffeine? BANHAMMER!

  • ||

    Caffeine? Don't be absurd. Space beer with the spice, melange.

  • Zeb||

    You know, I had never really thought much about how low gravity brewing would work. That could be interesting. The yeast would probably not settle at the bottom/top for one thing. Why hasn't more research been done on this?

  • db||

    Just wait until you find out that all the basic equations for multistage distillation have to be re-derived for low gravity environments: It'll blow your mind! All the columns have to be taller!

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I would note that I was considering a zero-g application (in orbit) more than a low gravity application (the Moon).

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I have had a detailed hour long discussion of this with one of the PhD's in my department. It's actually a legitimate research topic with a lot of interesting fluids aspects, as well as some biological ones (plus the stuff would sell like crazy). If this could be my thesis I'd be willing to go for a doctorate.

  • ||

    I didn't realize your kids had one chromosome too many (to quote Devo). They must have inherited it from you.

    Fake maple syrup is an abomination. To even offer it to me is like slapping me in the face.

  • ||

    It's not from anything I do. I agree completely that fake syrup is anathema.

    Should I use corporal or even sergeant punishment?

  • The Gobbler||

    Most times, General Punisment is the way to go.

  • ||

    Wow, straight to the top, huh?

  • 7||

    Who says libertarians are elitists?

  • ||

    Parents have a responsibility to raise their children properly. By any means necessary. I'm beating libertarian values into them as well.

  • Mensan||

    Just don't use lieutenant punishment. Sure, it's technically higher than sergeant punishment, but in reality it doesn't produce the same results.

  • ||

    I blew it with my kids by telling them my syrup costs about a quarter compared to their $2 bottle of crap syrup.

  • ||

    Having not had real maple syrup in a long time (maybe ever), when I got hold of some I was surprised at how runny it is compared to the store-bought stuff. I was assuming since it was sap from a tree that it would be thick, but it is only slightly thicker than water.

    Tastes really good though.

  • ||

    It's all about the flavor. Some hot maple syrup on waffles with butter and fresh blueberries is one of those good things. Ditto pancakes.

  • ||

    Maple sap is so thin when harvested, you generally have to boil off 98% of it to reach even that consistency.

  • ||

    No matter. That corn syrup shit is the reason we think we're alone in the universe. Pour it on pancakes! Sweeten soda!

    Bah. Maybe Dave W. was right all along.

  • ||

    The problem is that people like me have been raised almost our whole lives on Corn Syrup products (HFCS going back to the early 80s). It's what we're used to and sometimes we disfavor even superior versions of products we've become accustomed to.

    With Coca Cola the only noticeable difference is the real stuff tastes a little sweeter, but in stuff like pancake syrup the difference is jarring, and that can be difficult to overcome.

  • ||

    Corn syrup is an abomination. Maple is all I will ever put on the waffles and cakes. I even have the kids trained on it too, who will now settle for nothign less. Thank Zod Costco sells a 32 oz bottle for about 12 bucks.

  • ||

    I bow before your superior parenting.

    Besides, if we don't buy the maple, what will happen to Vermont? I think it might vanish or something.

  • Robert||

    For a second there, I thought you'd written "varnish".

    Last maple syrup I bought was from Quebec.

  • ||

    The Canadian menace! NAFTA!

  • Zeb||

    Canadians put antifreeze in their syrup. Stay away.

  • Almanian||

    Michigan Maple Syrup only - from Shepherd, of course, the home of the annual Maple Syrup Festival.

    Mmmmmmmm....sugar maples are such wonderful things!

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Little known secret (don't tell the flatlanders): We're actually the same place.

  • BakedPenguin||

    My uncle in NH used to make his own maple syrup. As a kid, I once walked with him while he went from tree to tree, checking the sap spikes & buckets.

  • ||

    We should wait for "Waffles" to check in on the syrup debate. It seems she/he should be the in-house expert.

  • ||

    Fake syrup is way cheaper. don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • ||

    You don't fool me, minion of Big Corn!

  • ||

    I just had pornographic thoughts when you said 'Big Corn.'

  • ||

    Thus do we see demonstrated the sheer power of Big Corn marketing.

  • prolefeed||

    My kids prefer the fake stuff too.

    Which is fine with me, because the real maple syrup has gotten fucking expensive.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    You just gotta get the connections.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Oh, so it's not racist when blacks use "cracker" or "honky" or when they make movies like "White men can't jump" or that white people can't dance, nut it is racist when I say "Aunt Jemima?"

    Yeah, typical double standard.
    Here's a few movies I'd like to see:
    "Black men can't be faithful to the same woman."
    "Illegal-aliens can't learn English."
    "Arabs can't stop hating Jews."

    Whatever, blacks ain't better than anyone else, they deserve to be treated just like I'm treated.

  • ||

    The classic "tu toque" gambit.

    (don't worry, it's wrong when "they" do it too...)

  • B||

    The poet Robert Browning had an Aunt Jemima. Are you suggesting that this poster hates the English?

  • Joe||

    pay them less and hire more of them. still saves money in the long run, but when they complain about how hard their jobs are we will know (even moreso) that they are lying.

  • ||

    Hey, don't public school teachers have to get paid more to make up for their union dues?

    *ducking*

    I'm not jumping into the overpaid/underpaid argument but I have more of a problem with the public perks - benefits, pensions, and not being able to be fired because of tenure and so forth.

  • ||

    Tenure in higher ed is only barely justifiable, but it makes no sense whatsoever in K-12. Not if you care about quality of education and silly things like that.

  • db||

    Seriously. Tenure is supposed to allow academics to take up controversial positions without worry that they willl lose their jobs for disagreeing with the consensus. There is no need for such a construct in elementary or even high schools.

  • ||

    I do wonder what a truly private education industry (i.e., one with no public education system to compete with) would look like. Especially in regards to compensation. I imagine that the best teachers would be paid considerably more than they are now, even taking into account the market distortions the government creates today, only because a robust teaching market would offer all sorts of options for skilled teachers.

    Also, a private educational system would differ significantly from today's in that private schools wouldn't be so largely parochial. Which, I imagine, creates its own distortions of wages.

  • NPD||

    Also, a private educational system would differ significantly from today's in that private schools wouldn't be so largely parochial.

    Red herring. Exhibit A: Jerry Brown, who received a Jesuit education.

  • ||

    I'm having trouble seeing the relevance of that to my comment.

  • DNS||

    Just because one receives a parochial education does not translate to faith based sympathies. There is nothing wrong with parochial schools, but I submit that a secular private school would probably not be as successful at producing well educated pupils. Or worse, would produce even more rabid socialist, collectivist students.

    But then, I could be wrong.

  • ||

    Oh, okay. I wasn't really going there so much as I was noting that in the current system, a big chunk of private schools are parochial. In a totally privatized educational system, that probably wouldn't be the case. I don't think it matters that much, either way, just going by my friends who went to private (and mostly parochial) schools.

  • DNS||

    That is probably true, as it would break up the parochial private school monopoly, such as it is. Parents who want a fine arts education for their children without the theistic emphasis would have more options.

  • ||

    Options are what we free marketeers are all about.

  • ||

    he's having a bit of a problem differentiating between "parochial" and "Parochial".

  • ||

    "received a Jesuit education" is code for taking it in the ass.

  • Tank||

    Good teachers (particularly young ones) are typically underpaid. Bad teachers (particularly old ones) are typically overpaid.

  • Sudden||

    Not to mention good young teachers are the first to get their pink slips, while the 72 year old bat that the kids hate will be the last on the chopping block when cuts come. Seniority is the among the biggest problems when it comes to actual educational results.

    My fiance is a public school teacher, just recently hired. Her kids love her and in talking with the administrators and educational assistants in her classroom, she is actually pretty darn good at it. But she will be the first released when cuts come, meanwhile the old and decrepit will continue in the classroom boring kids and achieiving no progress, and quite possible regress.

  • ||

    Until public school teacher and students are held accountable, how much the teachers get paid matters only at the margins.

    We don't fire enough teachers, we don't expel enough students. A lot of both need to be left behind.

  • ||

    Agreed.

  • CommentARRRR||

    "we don't expel enough students"

    This is one downside to the dying newspaper market. These brats need to be biking a paper route before school. Let them get first hand experience with the alternative to being a decent student.

  • ||

    Kids need more time on farms--baling hay, slopping pigs, shoveling shit.

  • ||

    I kid you not, I have sworn to do that, if I could find a working farm that would take kids in for a few weeks in the summer. I have had it with their impertinent whining because the microwave is too slow. They need to know what real chores and hardship are.

    Unfortunately, the liability costs alone would probably make that impossible.

  • ||

    Two things. First, there are farms you can go to for vacations. Working farms. Although the work isn't mandatory on such farms, it can be made so by parents.

    Second, I have a theory about the decline of the U.S. When most of us had worked on farms, we kicked ass. As we worked less on farms, we kicked ass less. Case in point: My grandparents did all sorts of farm and ranching work as kids. My dad did it for whole summers. I did it for whole weeks in summers. My kids do it not at all.

    My great-grandfather used to kill rattlesnakes by stomping on them. My kids (not all of them, to be sure) run screaming from bees. Decline.

  • ||

    When Apocalypse finally comes, I, for one, will welcome our new overall wearing overlords.

  • ||

    They could kick our pansy asses, no doubt.

  • ||

    I would never want kids who couls stomp on rattlesnakes. That would be one less thing I could scare the fuck outta them with.

  • ||

    No, if you love America, you'll strengthen your kids by having them stomp on rattlesnakes.

    Really, why do you think we've historically dominated the world? It's because they all think we're scary insane and dangerous. In fact, the average non-American has, until recently, viewed us as violent people who stomp on rattlesnakes.

  • ||

    I'm a rattlesnake stomping type of girl, and I don't want another me. Nope, don't want that fuckin' type of trouble. I'm too selfish to want to put that much effort into childrearing. Or money. Hence the fake pancake syrup. I need the money to finance my single malt scotch and cigar habit. I really don't think I should breed anyway.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I really don't think I should breed anyway...

    Aw, shit. I was hoping to have kids with a girl who had pornographic thoughts about Big Corn.

  • ||

    Children of the Corn?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hmmm. Good point...

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Well, you started out good with the 'rattlesnake stomping type of girl', but then went downhill starting with the next line. You made a valiant effort to come back at the end, but even with the scotch there was no recovery from your syrupy heresy.

  • ||

    I always use maple syrup; I just wouldn't buy it for my theoretical offspring. Less maple syrup for others--more for me...I wouldn't think you would consider this syrup selfishness heretical.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Anything short of swimming pools full of maple syrup is heresy. My favorite dessert is maple dumplings: you cook biscuits in bowling maple syrup.

    Think of me as the maple syrup version of Epi and pizza.

  • ||

    I bake a few things with maple syrup...I make a mean pumpkin and maple cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. To me, syrup heresy is people who pronounce syrup "seer-up" instead of "sir-up."

  • Mensan||

    sailshonan|2.23.11 @ 8:52AM|#
    To me, syrup heresy is people who pronounce syrup "seer-up" instead of "sir-up."

    Well, some of us can't really help our regional dialect.

  • ||

    I have a feeling that you'd like to see cars powered by maple syrup.

  • ||

    Meaning Vermont Gun Owner--damned threaded comments.

  • ||

    Instead of corn, like now?

  • Brett L||

    It goes back much further than America. The Greeks, Roman, and English all had substantial agrarian free citizen populations at the times they became dominant military forces.

  • ||

    See? Thousands of years of history agree with my premise.

  • ||

    I thought rattlesnakes were indigineous to the New World...and the rattlesnake symbolizes a self-defensive posture and not one of attack, therby making it a beloved symbol of libertarians. Therefore, what would rattle-snake stomping symbolize? Plus, I just think it would be fuckin hilarious to scare the shit outta kids with rattlesnakes.

  • ||

    Tough, old-school Americans stomped on rattlesnakes to demonstrate their independence. Remember, it's "Don't tread on me."

  • ||

    Send them to me for the summer. A few months down the slash/fic mines will toughen them up.

  • ||

    Farms where they grow stuff, not sex farms.

  • ||

    Ahhh, Spinal Tap flashback...

  • ||

    Indeed!

  • ||

    Sorry Sug, they already know to rub the lotion on their bodies.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    As much as I hated growing up on one, I'm going to send my kids to my parents' every summer. They can't get out of it until they get a job.

  • ||

    I endorse your plan.

  • Paul||

  • ||

    Private schools can determine their student pool and can expel trouble students (combined with parental expectation of making tuition worthwhile, thus holding their kids' feet to the fire.) For this reason, it could be argued that private sector teachers need not be compensated as highly as those who must take everybody.

    In other words, if education was a free market and school choice actually existed, teachers who deal with trouble students or ESL students would rightly demand more compensation (as do teachers who deal with special needs students).

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "In other words, if education was a free market and school choice actually existed, teachers who deal with trouble students or ESL students would rightly demand more compensation (as do teachers who deal with special needs students)."

    If education were a TRUE free market, education services would only be provided to those whose parents were willing and able to pay for it themselves.

    That would cut out a whole heap of the problem children right there.

  • Warty||

    My school teachers mostly would have been grossly overpaid if they had been working for free. My kids aren't going anywhere near a public school.

  • Sudden||

    Public schools serve one valuable function: they're essentially a farmer's market for any particular illicit drug preference you may have.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Sudden,
    And an oppportunity to lose your virginity with the farmer's daughter... or several of them.

  • ||

    On a tangential note, all of those young female teachers that are sleeping with their students--are they all public school teachers, per chance?

  • ||

    When my son was in 1st and 2nd grade, he went to brand new elementary school down the road a bit. It was staffed by, practically, all young, cute female teachers, fresh out of college. Hell, his hawt Asian math teacher was still sporting a tongue stud.

    I never went to so many school events in my life.

  • ||

    Did they sex him up? That's apparently in vogue now, among the education class.

  • ||

    No. And evidently Penthouse Forum isn't a reality based publication, since I never could find one of their after-school all-girl orgies in the gym.

  • ||

    Well, that's surprising.

  • ||

    Yeah, life is full of rude shocks like that. But, we learn from them. We learn.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, the ultra-hot, 23 year-old female plumber is coming over to "fix" my drain. I have to get my bad puns and double entendres warmed up, if I have any chance of scoring with her.

  • Ted S.||

    Uh, you can only lose your virginity once.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Perhaps it was losing with several farmer's daughters at once?

  • ||

    This is the first time I have ever agreed with Rather, but with only one set of private school teachers.

    Private school teachers are 'underpaid' but they voluntarily choose the system because of the benefits. They receive a substantial discount/free tuition for their own children, and the work environment is dedicated to learning, and not disciplining difficult children.

    In a futile attempt to save me, my parents sent me to a private prep school (circa 1971)for the last few years of HS. While I cannot read minds, it seemed to me that the teachers were among these groups.
    1. Seeking free or heavily discounted tuition for their children (Almost all women)
    2. Recently divorced, had a degree but no work experience or teaching certificate (Almost all women)
    3. Went to same school as a student and never wanted to leave
    4. Thought they were James Joyce and needed something to pay the rent while they wrote the next great American novel.
    5. For some unknown reason they did not play with others and the only thing they could do was teach. I really cannot explain how I ended up with a chemical engineer PhD teaching me trig or a chemistry PhD teaching me 11 grade chemistry in Wilmington, Delaware in the early ‘70s if these teachers were actually competent in their fields
    6. Unique for one person – One of my math teachers was waiting for his mom to die. His mother’s maiden name was DuPont. He stopped teaching when he inherited $900M.

  • Uncle Chester||

    "I really cannot explain how I ended up with a chemical engineer PhD teaching me trig or a chemistry PhD teaching me 11 grade chemistry"

    I had a very special Ph.D. friend when I was nine years old.

    I think he liked little boys.

    Little boys certainly liked him!

  • Robert||

    Schoolteacing has segregated its labor market into two based on credentials. The gov't schools have made it difficult for anyone to teach who isn't committed to teaching as a career path. Meanwhile the private schools have a pool they can hire from of people like me who can teach but don't have the credentials to qualify for gov't school work. So just on a quantity supply-demand basis you could predict gov't school teaching would pay better, just because they've artificially restricted the number of people they can hire.

  • Fire Tiger||

    It's kinda funny how both sides of the debate hold the teachers up as examples. It's not just the teachers but the supporting staff (landscapers etc.) that cause public education to cost so much.

  • ||

    I have this vision of it coming to light one day that most of the federal education money actually went to whores and coke.

  • DNS||

    I have this vision of it coming to light one day that most of the federal education money actually went to whores and coke.

    I suspect you are not too far off the mark. How many "workshops" and "administrative retreats" do the higher ups attend? I am sure all that lobbying and lawyering isn't cheap either. Fire Tiger brings up an excellent point, as teachers keep screaming that they must have the latest, greatest and most expensive gadgets and gizmos, as well as a plethora of para-educators and other "support staff" so the districts can compete aesthetically with more well off school districts. Big school budgets and keeping up with the Joneses =/= better education and desirable outcomes.

  • ||

    I wonder what sort of K-12 equivalent education that Samuel Clemens got? Or Robert Goddard? Richard Feynman? Thomas Jefferson? We did okay producing people like that, right? How about we just do it that way? Lots cheaper, I bet. Lots.

  • robc||

    Feynman attended Far Rockaway High School, a school that also produced fellow laureates Burton Richter and Baruch Samuel Blumberg.

    Answering part of your question.

  • robc||

    Far Rockaway High School, a public high school in the public school system of New York City, is located on Bay 25 Street in Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens, as part of the New York City Department of Education. The school was founded in 1897, with Sanford J. Ellsworth as principal for over 40 years. The current principal is Denise J. Hallett.[1] The school, whose alumni include three Nobel Prize laureates and Bernard Madoff, stopped accepting students in 2008 as part of a planned closure because of declining grades.

    And lol.

  • robc||

    Also Dr. Joyce Brothers, Carl Icahn, and Nancy Lieberman.

  • robc||

    My high school produced Wes Unseld and Diane Sawyer. We lose.

    But at least its not shutting down.

  • ||

    My class alone produced a Playboy model/actress/director, a correspondent for The Daily Show, a Congressperson, and a noted blog commenter. No idea why.

  • fst||

    Names, or it didn't happen.

  • Ted S.||

    I mentioned in another thread that my mom was a teachers' aide for "special ed" children. She started off with no credentials, either.

    Her union used two terms for people in that portion of the union: "paraprofessionals" (to this day I have no idea what the difference is between a "paraprofessional" and a "para-amateur") or "ESP", which stood for "Education Support Personnel" and was almost always used in the abbreviated form.

    I'm convinced that the use of such jargon was deliberate, as an attempt to obfuscate from normal people what the government sector bureaucracy was doing. It's the same sort of thing George Orwell wrote about with the development of Newspeak in 1984 and his famous essay on the development of Newspeak.

  • cynical||

    (competent) honors teachers and (competent) teachers of AP classes are usually earning their keep, and might be underpaid in private schools (it's possible that there's more variation in pay in the private sector, without the anti-meritocratic influence of the unions).

    Once you strip out the "babysitting kids while their parents work" side of teaching, most teachers are just wasting their time -- don't get me wrong, they may care, they may be smart, but they're expending huge amounts of effort tilling barren ground in the interest of the cult of equality.

    Teach the dipshits a skilled trade and turn em loose. If they can earn their keep and happen to change their mind and value education, they've at least got a source of income to pay for the good stuff.

  • ||

    If we're stuck with this godawful public education system, perhaps it would be cheaper to simply hire teachers and enforcers. Like a bailiff in the courtroom. Each teacher would have his/her own enforcer. The teacher wouldn't have any responsibility or even a right to conduct any discipline whatsoever. Only the enforcer could.

    Got to be cheaper and, oddly, less tyrannical than the current set up.

  • DNS||

    If we're stuck with this godawful public education system, perhaps it would be cheaper to simply hire teachers and enforcers. Like a bailiff in the courtroom.

    Great, so let's increase the power and influence of both the teacher's and police unions by placing sworn officers in the classroom. Good luck getting that past most parents.

  • ||

    I wasn't think cops so much as goons. Non-cop goons, that is.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Monty Burns: "I prefer the personal touch of hired goons."

  • mike||

    love to cut the public teacher salaries but that is not going to bring us to the promised land. in my area of the DillaryShumerville, 60% of my taxes go to school. Those schools have, by their own admission, over 50% illegal alien population (which also requires remedial english teaching.)

    What the open borders advocates forget is that while illegal labor may lower costs - those are costs I have a choice to take. My property taxes are not optional.

  • ||

    Well you know if it was Libertopia there would be no public anything that illegals and their children would burden without paying for.

    The problem with open borders is that it only works with a minarchist state.

    In the current welfare state/mob rule America, it leads to huge problems, but Reason's editorial line on immigration is that it's still better for labor to flow freely, and that the imposed costs of the existing welfare state are a tradeoff worth making. I disagree, but I can see their point.

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    The funny thing is, illegals DO pay property taxes. Property taxes are included in rent. Unless, of course, you want to make the argument that too many Mexicans drive down property values, resulting in lower revenues.

  • mike||

    So when there are 6, 8 or more people in a small apt meant for 1 or 2, are they really paying their share of property taxes? Also consider that most of the properties in which they are renting are at the low end of the market value scale. I think any contribution made is far outweighed by the use(abuse?) of the school system and other municipal services.

    Its to the point where one local pol wants to limit or reduce the number of laundromats to check the illegal pop. growth.

  • ||

    Like that would stop anyone? Hello, new source of revenue for people, taking in washing from others. Like a work plan for older immigrant mothers and grandmothers.

  • guy in the back row||

    What I find interesting is that the two fields where we are having discussion on price and value, namely education and medicine, used to be the two of the very few fields where women were allowed to work.

    The growth of government spending in these fields since the 1960s must be related in some way with the growth of acceptable occupations for women in the US.

    If women can only be teachers or nurses, you can pay them shit and what are they going to do, go be a CEO or a cop? Not in 1970, but certainly in 2010.

  • ||

    My Dad has this theory, that when the only thing women could do was teach, that the teachers were smarter because all the women who are now successful entrepreneurs or doctors or engineers would be teachers.

    Good luck bringing that notion up in conversation though. Very very unPC. Bad doggie. No biscuit.

  • ||

    I've said this a lot, but I'm a woman so the Thought Police won't condemn me as much. I think that Freakonomics Steven Leavitt has said it too.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Given the aggregate results of public schools and private schools, I would say BOTH.

    Public schools have terrible results and their teachers are compensated richly.

    Private schools have results which are, in general, far and above those of public schools, and their teachers aren't compensated near as much.

    When I was teaching at The University of Kentucky, I once made 11 guesses through the course of a semester as to whether those 11 students were publicly or privately educated based solely on their writing ability.

    I went 11 for 11.

    Public school sucks, and until they show that they can actually do their jobs with any sense of competency, they can fuck off with their protests and complaints of poverty.

  • ||

    How much of this was a direct result of the schools, and how much was the influence of the parents? My kid is in public school, a good one, and the level of competition between the parents is staggering. When one kid could write letters, every parent bent over backwards to bring their child up to speed. I can't imagine that public schools have anywhere near the culture of learning or the parental involvement of my kid's school. That's the main reason we put him in private school, to keep him away from the slackers and riff raff.

  • ||

    Yahoo News has a story up about the Assembly half of the WI legislature taking up the collective bargaining bill. The headline?

    Wisconsin lawmakers take up bill to cripple unions

    Fucking objectivity, how does it work?

  • Paul||

    Progress.

    It didn't read:

    Wisconsin lawmakers take up bill to take food from the mouths of the workin' man

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    Wisconsin lawmakers take up bill to take food from the mouths [of babies] of the workin' man

    FTFY!

  • Paul||

    Question: Do you think that private-school teachers are underpaid or that public-school teachers are overpaid?

    Super late to the thread, but here goes:

    That's not necessarily the right question. My gut reaction is that anyone who makes anywhere near or more than what I make and works 180 up to 192 days a year* and isn't getting shot at or requires a serious, rigorous degree with advanced calculus, trigonometry, or expensive, long schooling such as law school or medical school is, alas, overpaid.

    However, to delcare that outright is quite unlibertarian. They have as right to as much income as they can extract from their employer (which in this case is me).

    The real question is, do a class of people who are actually pretty well compensated, and in some cases even receive special subsidies for housing so they can "live in the same community in which they teach", do they have the right to constantly poor-mouth it and bitch about how underpaid and underappreciated they are?

    Well, I guess the answer to that would also be "Yes" but then they deserve all the derision they receive, from people like me.

    I wouldn't expect anything less if I went down to the soup kitchen and spent my day bitching and moaning about how hard, underpaid and underappreciated I was.

    *according to my sister-in-law who vociferously corrected me on the 180 days a year and provded me with the 192 day correction, and who's a public school teacher in New Jersey

  • ||

    They have as right to as much income as they can extract from their employer (which in this case is me).

    Provided that income is extracted via voluntary, arms-length transactions.

    Which is not the case when you have the pubsec union/politician circle jerk.

  • ||

    192 days a year is 38 weeks. Fourteen weeks off. Most people get around four, counting vacations and holidays.

    Cry me a fucking river, vociferously correcting sister-in-law.

  • ||

    Clicked too soon. That extra ten weeks a year adds up to one year off in five.

    Cry me, etc.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Not arguing with your premise here...but until one has been a public school teacher, it is hard to judge how hard they work. It is one of the most stressful jobs I have held (something backed up by the research on job related stress, btw).

    Those extra days off are there to prevent child murder, perhaps.
    ;)

  • ||

    Both.

    Public school teachers are overpaid AND private school teachers are underpaid. Most of my little brother's private high school teachers are fresh out of college and teach for 2-5 years before pursuing other things (law school, a masters, phd, etc). His teachers ALL have degrees in what they teach; nary a one has an "education" degree. His chemistry teacher has a BS in chemistry, ditto his Spanish teacher. They are all happier and more engaged than his previous teachers.

    What's most ironic - and denied by all lefties who promote public school education - is that his classroom is wildly more diverse than his upper-class public school was. 20% of his classmates are non white. And it's not affirmative action in the slightest; they're poor kids who are in various honors classes. All of them speak of their old schools as though they experienced PTSD.

    Without public school subsidies, the cost of private education would go down. Most property taxes are devoted to school taxes, after all.

  • B||

    "in virtually every subset (highest degree earned, years of experience, you name it), the public-school teachers do far better than the private-school ones."

    In every subset except competence.

    Er, wait - that isn't a financial consideration. A pity.

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    Forget about public school teacher's salaries vs private. How about comparing public school teachers salaries to college professor salaries. How much does an adjunct professor make? How long does it take to get tenured at a university? I know someone who has to teach at three different colleges, and she says most of her colleagues do, as well, because colleges don't want full time professors.

  • ||

    Good point. Teaching assistants, adjunct professors, and many assistant professors generally are paid paltry sums.

  • Amakudari||

    I've had teachers that no parent would ever give a dime absent robbery (is that too direct?), period.

    One particularly awful teacher's consisting of having the class read the text out loud, one paragraph per student. After that, we wrote Ten Facts on each topic within the chapter, like thus:

    * Hydraulics is science about liquids and fluids.
    * Spider legs use hydraulics.
    * Ashley's car uses hydraulics.

    In the meantime, he would snack. The most surreal moment was when he held a candy dispenser M&M figure to his mouth and kept pulling the arm until the dispenser was dry. He also ordered a pizza once. He could not be fired because he had tenure. You know, so he could be free to teach controversial subjects to 7th graders.

    The AP history teacher I had was given his job so he could coach football. The computer science teacher read the whole class and had us work on coding projects.

    I also had two absolutely stellar English teachers that I was fortunate enough to receive randomly. Every parent active in their kids' education wanted them, but it was a lottery system.

    And then I went to a state university, where the vast majority of professors I had in classes I cared about were good teachers, knowledgeable and willing to work with students. Sure, there are a bunch of areas that are screwed up in higher ed, too, but he difference is amazing when people have choices.

    tl;dr: Pay would change, but it would change for the better (from a consumer standpoint) in virtually every single case.

  • KPres||

    One of the effects of unions is to drive down the non-union wage rate. So, the answer to your question is "both". Public school teachers are overpaid, and private school teachers are underpaid.

  • ||

    KPres wrote: One of the effects of unions is to drive down the non-union wage rate.

    My question: What's an authoritive source for this tidbit?

  • plisade||

    I haven't completely read all of the comments here, but it seems that there's a rhetorical assumption that closing all public schools would create an increased demand for good private schools, and increase competition among them. My question is, would this really be the case, in that would most parents care that much about their childrens' education?

  • Neu Mejican||

    According to NAIS figures, the average student-teacher ratio in the private schools that are part of their organization is 8 to 1. Given that even in states where legislation has been used to control class sizes kindergarten classes (the smallest in public schools) are usually kept at around 20 to 1 a per student adjustment to teacher salaries would make those averages look like this.

    $2661.5 per student for public school teacher (using 20 to 1 a very low estimate)

    $4961.25 per student for private (using NAIS's 8 to 1 average)

  • Neu Mejican||

    For the record, I think the NAIS figures are low for private schools broadly defined. Parochial schools often have class sizes about as big or bigger than public schools and certainly have lower pay.

    If you include all private schools in teh picture I believe student teacher ratios are around 18 to 1...and the last figure I heard for elementary public schools was closer to 25 to one...

    So that would make the public private look like this.

    $2129.2 per student for public
    $2205 per student for private

  • ||

    In Los Angeles, public school teachers earn an average of about $2 per student per hour (before taxes).
    Wonder what babysitting rates are these days?

  • ||

    Let's not forget the elephant in the room: prisons spend $34,000 a year for each prisoner, while schools spend maybe $8000 or so for each student.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Of course, one could argue that the correct productivity measure would be something like "dollars per fact/skill learned" but I am not sure how you would quantify that.

  • ||

    I just watched a segment on CNN where this idiot, Steve Perry, compared teacher wages to private sector employees without mentioning that most private sector employees don't have college degrees.

    Aside from CNN jumping on the anti-teacher bandwagon, to compare private school teachers to public school teachers is also moronic.
    Private school teachers do not require the same state teaching credentials as their pubic school counterparts...nor are they held to the standards of "No Child Left Behind."

    FYI - Teachers should not be responsible for solving the issues of poverty and race, all by themselves, when research shows that parental involvement plays the largest role in a child's academic success.

  • sundayrose||

    I definitely think private school teachers are underpaid. Public school teachers are definitely overpaid--they are typically horrible at what they do too. I currently sub at a public school and it has definitely reinforced to me the value of private school education. I don't know who is worse in a public school: the teachers or the students themselves? I think they are both equally bad. Parents, if you care about your kids, their education and their futures...send them to private school. Public school is a real joke.

  • ||

    I have not read any of the comments yet, but here are my thoughts.

    1. Question re underpaid/overpaid.

    First, I would say that beginning teachers and those with middling seniority are underpaid. Those with extensive education and seniority are adequately paid and most probably are not overpaid. With regard to either group, I would say there should be a fair system of merit pay. Also, perhaps these teachers could pay a bit more toward their pensions, health insurance, and other benefits.

    Second, with regard to private school teachers, you have to sort out the nature of the private school.

    At schools run by churches, I suspect most are underpaid, but some/many of these teachers are teaching at these schools by choice (for religious reasons, e.g.).

    At the amalgam of alternative schools (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.), teachers probably are underpaid, again perhaps because of their choice to teach at such a school.

    At prep schools traditionally aimed at the kids of wealthy families, I would guess the teachers are paid adequately.

    At public charter schools, teachers are probably paid on par with other public school teachers (see above).

    At charter schools run by private, for-profit corporations or nonprofit groups (churches, civic groups, etc.), I suspect the teachers are underpaid; again, some of the teachers at these schools are there by their own choice.

    At most of these private schools, I suspect teachers have inadequate benefits and thus shouldn't be forced to pay more for them. It would be better if they had better salaries and benefits and could afford to pay more toward their improved benefits.

    2. Would reducing the average public-school teacher salary (not to mention compensation) decrease the budget deficits facing somewhere around 48 or 49 states?

    Answer: Either yes (minimally) or no. If they paid a bit more toward benefits there might be a slightly noticeable reduction in the budget deficits of the states/school districts.

    3. Would reducing public school teachers' salaries drive out all the decent people so that only the sorts of dregs teaching in private schools would remain?

    Shame, shame, shame on Nick Gillespie. What makes you condescendingly state that private school teachers are dregs? Do you have A Ph.D. -- Arrogance piled higher and deeper?

    I believe the predominant majority of teachers at any sort of school, private or public, are honorable, intelligent, well-intended people.

    The answer to your question: most teachers' salaries need to be increased. As most studies have found, whether there are unions or no unions, government jobs at any particular level of education and experience pay less than similar jobs in the private sector.

  • ||

    I don't see many public school educators responding here so I will. I've taught for 17 years. I take great issue with Mr. Gillespies quote from this article printed in my local paper:
    "and there's no question that, even if there were no budget emergencies, the nation's public school system is failing to return much of anything on an ever-growing pile of tax dollars."
    AHEM. I beg to differ. Maybe it's just me, but the majority of faculty at every campus I've been on are actually hard - working, creative and caring educators. Kids come back in high school to thank you. Parents are very appreciative of what their child is learning. I don't call this 'failing to return' .. sir.
    I don't know where you were educated. It seems the slums of some inner city, perhaps. But I've been in two major urban districts and several rural ones. I know no one who would say that the system has failed them. I joined Teach for America myself primarily because I had such a good experience in the public schools myself. So back off the teachers, until you actually visit a few of us and our schools.

  • ||

    I can tell you why public school teachers make more than private school teachers. It's because public school teachers went to school for 4 to 6 years to get an education. More than 50 percent of Public School teachers hold a bachelors or masters degree compared to just a little over 10 percent for their private school counterparts. Somehow the author of this article conveniently left those facts out.

  • mr kitty katz||

    http://www.kittycatchats.com/2.....rpaid.html

    YOU HAVE to read this op/ed written by a high school student and the response of none other than me at the end. Talk about misguded youth!

  • Sixth Form Colleges||

    Im slightly confussed by this. In the UK, Private school teachers would earn more than Public school teachers. So I guess I think the Privates are being underpaid/

  • Bryce McMinn, Meriden||

    Are Public School Teachers Overpaid or Are Private School Teachers Underpaid?

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