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Aunt Becky and the ‘Underpaid Teachers’ Myth

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Posted By: M2, 12/2/2019 6:55:33 AM

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) — a liberal think tank affiliated with teachers’ unions — public-school teachers earn, on average, 21.4 percent less than private-sector workers in other fields who have similar educational and demographic characteristics. According to EPI, by offering higher pay, public schools could attract and retain better teachers, leading to better test scores, higher graduation rates, and better jobs for the future. It’s a compelling argument, at least to the news media, who echo it in their coverage. But if all that is true, why do private schools, even elite ones, pay teachers so little?

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Kitty Myers 12/2/2019 7:35:07 AM (No. 250631)
Back in the 80s, a local group of people p-o'd about the ever increasing cost of school taxes, took out a full page ad in the local paper to list all the teachers and their salaries. The teachers went ballistic because they could no longer claim they were underpaid. I had no idea how well we were paying them until I saw that list. And btw, no one disputed the information. Since then I've tried to find the current information on teachers' salaries and can't.
16 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: ROLFNader 12/2/2019 7:39:12 AM (No. 250632)
Lemme see...… summers off...…. shorter workdays.... best medical accounting for your effectiveness/success....goonion protection if anyone questions any of the foregoing......
29 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: bgarrett 12/2/2019 8:11:25 AM (No. 250649)
Teachers pay is totally irrevelant when the real problem is Affirmative Action teachers who have low intelligence and dont speak Standard English. My kid came home with 'math' homework---Johnny has 8 apples, Mary only has 3. "IS THIS FAIR?" uhhh,thats not math
20 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: VinGoombatz 12/2/2019 8:52:08 AM (No. 250678)
Teaching should be a temporary occupation. Sort of like the Peace Corps. Teach for about 5 years when you are in your 20s. Then go off to a career elsewhere.
3 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Clinger 12/2/2019 8:59:05 AM (No. 250683)
My dad was a teacher and we had less that most in our town. Smaller house older cars. The bricklayer had more, as did the the accountant and so on. No doubt that has changed with the lunacy of public sector unions where of the two parties negotiating, none of them have to pay for the outcome. Even FDR saw that as troublesome.
5 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: jeffkinnh 12/2/2019 9:22:39 AM (No. 250699)
Every time we are arm twisted into increasing teacher salaries, the result has been NO improvement in student outcome. The only beneficiary of increased salary is the teacher. That's like demanding BMW prices for a Yugo, you get nothing for your money. On the other hand, the nature of teaching in the public system has been seriously hamstrung by the conditions under which the teaching takes place. There is constant roiling of WHAT is supposed to be taught and what METHODOLOGY should be used. Teachers must make great efforts to adhere to the new "system" instead of focusing on students. Their evaluations will NOT be based on student outcomes but will be impacted by adherence to the "system". Also, many students are "suffering" from one problem or the other. 1/3 of my wife's students have an "Individual Education Plan" (IEP) meaning that special action is required to manage their problems. Guess what, after giving all these needy kids their due, there is far less time to spend on the kids who might actually be more capable of learning Plus, the IEP kids can be disruptive in class, interrupting learning for all. As to "working shorter hours", for good teachers that is NOT true. My wife is at school 9 hours (or more) and spends 2 to 4 hours at home correcting papers and prepping for the next day. She does NOT get paid for extra hours at school or home. The lack of true evaluation IS a problem. The teacher contracts are mostly automatic increases based on longevity and although there is an evaluation piece and associated raise, almost everyone gets it and it is so small that it no corrective to not get it. It seems like the only corrective is firing and that happens more for a range of teacher behavioral issues than for failure to teach well. Human behavior says if there is no cost to something, poor teaching, then it will likely continue. Also, if there is no benefit to teaching well, why bother? Over the years, my wife has won numerous recognitions and awards for her teaching, yet her salary and benefits are the same as teachers in the system (plodding along with no recognitions) as long as she has been. She persists in her pursuit of excellence because of her strong personal values but many do not share those values or have been ground down by the system. The only way to "fix" this is to promote open competition with non public schools and allow the best teaching to rise to the top. That could be in public schools if communities decide the administrations will focus on excellence in teaching as proved by outcome rather than following the "system".
17 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: Kitty Myers 12/2/2019 9:35:30 AM (No. 250717)
#5 My mother was a high school librarian. I think her salary reached $20,000 in her last year right before she retired in '82. Back then, it was common for teachers to work a summer job, like painting houses, to help make ends meet. However, my mother's health insurance was spectacular. I took care of her one week after she had had a heart attack. I picked up $2,000 worth of prescriptions for her and paid about $1. Since that time, teachers' salaries have increased considerably, and I heard their health benefits have decreased somewhat.
4 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: jacksin5 12/2/2019 9:39:13 AM (No. 250721)
I lived in rural areas of the Northeast for many years. Every time a contract was up for renewal, the children/pupils were handed signs and sent out to picket for teacher raises. Then one day, when I was living in Central Maine, some brave soul published the teachers median salaries in relation to what pupils parents were making. The disparity was so large in favor of the teachers, the COLA's in teacher contracts were pared down to meet that f the community.
10 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Strike3 12/2/2019 9:39:35 AM (No. 250723)
This claim of underpaid teachers has been going on since the sixties and people like Dr. Thomas Sowell have thoroughly debunked it. In fact, districts where teachers were given significant raises often saw a drop in standardized test scores. The sad truth about industry outperforming public educators in "similar" jobs is that the bottom of the barrel from colleges ends up in the teaching and journalism professions. There is also no "similar" job to public school teaching. Teachers are given strict guidelines and their jobs depend upon following the script. Innovation is frowned upon in many areas. The philosophy is to run the little mushbrains through the mill and push them out the other end as soon as possible. Yes, I know there are exceptionally good public school teachers and I have had long discussions with many of them who quietly agree but it's a closed system, a taxpayers' nightmare and a failure across the country when performance is compared to other less-wealthy countries. The annual cost per US public school student has risen to $12K to $22K per year depending upon location. That would buy a far superior private education in most places.
10 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: NorthernDog 12/2/2019 9:42:32 AM (No. 250727)
Our local school has been closed since Nov. 22 for Thanksgiving. At Christmas - ooops "winterfest' - they close for nearly 2-1/2 weeks. In January MLK holiday has morphed into a 4-day weekend. They get way too many breaks!
10 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: DVC 12/2/2019 9:59:10 AM (No. 250740)
It hasn't been true in much of the country for decades. But in smaller states, in certain districts, things can be different.
0 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: WV.Hillbilly 12/2/2019 10:04:40 AM (No. 250748)
In my county here in the glorious People's Republic of West Virginia, in addition to summer vacation, students and teachers are out of school an additional SIX WEEKS during the school year. A week at Thanksgiving and spring break, two weeks at Christmas, and two other weeks of various other holidays and teacher meeting days, which conveniently are scheduled on Fridays or before a holiday.
6 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: MDConservative 12/2/2019 10:17:15 AM (No. 250763)
Stop with the teachers as hamstrung victims. Look at your local school board, or your state department of education. Local school boards are largely under the control of teachers unions, who back "teacher approved" candidates with money and volunteers to eliminate any opposition. The state is loaded with educator-bureaucrats whose job is to shovel money into politically favored programs that accomplish nothing. The public schools ought to be blown up, everything privatized except "special ed". Privatization can be accomplished within the resources already at hand, and likely for much less.
13 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Lawsy0 12/2/2019 11:41:24 AM (No. 250838)
They re being overpaid to indoctrinate our children into the dark ages. Dumb them down so they can't learn. Keep the US Constitution out of their hands lest a few slip through the morass and read it for themselves. Show more filth and violence on TV and in video games. And, make all filthy movies free to kids.
4 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: JimJr 12/2/2019 11:52:45 AM (No. 250853)
In my state the two school districts with the highest "per-pupil-spending" are the worst performing districts in the state. They also have the most and highest paid administrators. I think there might be a correlation. In contrast, when I was public school ("back in the day" as it is fashionable to say), The district was among the highest performing (still is) and has among the lowest "per-pupil-spending". We also had a much smaller administrative overhead (it has grown, but is smaller than the others cited). What is necessary for effective education (IMHO): 1. Parents who value education, proper manners and decorum and pass those values on to their children. 2. School facilities that are clean, bright and orderly. 3. Teachers who are knowledgeable and engaged in the subject(s) they teach.
4 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: fayebeck 12/2/2019 12:08:00 PM (No. 250864)
One dollar a month is too much pay for "educators".
2 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: cold porridge 12/2/2019 12:16:27 PM (No. 250870)
So far, only #4 has touched on this, but why would anyone want to increase teacher's salaries when they don't teach any more, they indoctrinate the kids to become good socialists. I believe there are good teachers, but they must follow what their masters want them to teach. Before I would want to give any more tax money toward their salaries, the teachers need to rise up and push off their socialist masters. The problem with that is that it is too late. Too many teachers are socialist/communists.
4 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: cor-vet 12/2/2019 12:23:40 PM (No. 250874)
Where I live, the school board actually gives the teachers and students a day off "because it might snow", which it usually doesn't. All of the teachers and students seem to be able to make it to the big box store (shelter) in town, even if they can't get to the school. This is in Deep South Louisiana, not really the snow capital of the US.
2 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: Marzon 12/2/2019 2:22:51 PM (No. 250956)
These studies are usually bogus. For example they say compare to jobs in other fields "with similar educational and demographic characteristics." But a Masters degree in education is the about the easiest master you can get and not comparable with say a Masters. Plus you get plenty of important benefits besides a paycheck: 9 month school year with 6 weeks of school vacations in addition to generous vacation & sick time benefits to the individual teacher including the "right" to accrue vast amounts of unused sick days that you can cash out when you retire, with a full pension and medical benefits, usually much earlier than other professions. In my New England area, they were underpaid but that ended about 30 years ago. They fight like hell to not release the actual salaries because they are well above the median income for the area.
0 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: NYbob 12/2/2019 3:04:46 PM (No. 250983)
As a general rule the same people who complain about how much teachers are paid could not do the job a good teacher does, at any level. Of course the profession has waste and abuse, what system does not, but if you didn't have a teacher who saw something in you and who gave you an opportunity or a lesson that deeply affected your life, know that many others did have that experience. I did not have the patience, wisdom or compassion to stay in teaching for more than 3 years, the usual burn out time for new teachers. My wife on the other hand was blessed to find an age level and a system that let her work very hard for over twenty years. I've never met anyone who worked as hard as she did to give her students the best education for each one of them. That meant a unique approach to each child, as well as educating each child's parents. All she could do is offer her experience and advice about the bast path forward for each student so they could make the most of their school years. All the critics combined fail when compared to the reunions I see between my wife and students who last saw her decades ago. Most are grown now, but many of them tell her that their year in her classroom was the best year of school. That they value the things they learned and that they will always remember her. Take a hard look at the administration costs. Take a harder look at parent involvement or lack of. Insist on expulsion of students who are a disruptive menace and have a workable alternative for them, but for future generations sake, find and support teachers who unlock some potential in every student they have. If you don't believe me, try teaching other people's kids. It is so much harder than you think, especially today.
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