Thursday, March 03, 2011

Are Public School Teachers Overpaid? Only By 34%

The data in the chart above are featured in this Reason.tv video:


22 Comments:

At 3/03/2011 5:46 PM, Blogger Mr. Econotarian said...

Public school teachers get combat pay...

 
At 3/03/2011 7:13 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

I'm sorry, did you say 'public school teachers' and 'overpaid' in the same sentence?

Fail.
Incorrect usage of language and perhaps should be a federal offence punishable to an entire day in a classroom. ANY classroom. The entire day.

Let's review...we take 'your' offspring for the better part of their day and the better part of their lives to adulthood and 'teach' them?

LOL

 
At 3/03/2011 7:15 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Is the chart adjusted for type of degree and length of service? It could be more public school teachers have advanced degrees, endorsements like special education, and experience. It's not unusual to pay professionals for those qualities.

 
At 3/03/2011 7:35 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Walt, could potentially be a factor but that's probably not responsible for the numbers.

Possibly due more to the aggregate;
The more diverse the population within the fortress, the more alcohol has to be purchased to get a teacher to return...on the second day of school.
Can we get those stats from the video posted? I want a closer look at the parent satisfaction comparison. Isn't asking them like asking patients where all the healthcare money is going?

In my humble op, comparing public and private dollars is akin to stating that minnow and roe are both bait. You can catch fish with both but I wouldn't recommend serving the former as an appetizer in Washington.

 
At 3/03/2011 8:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Public school teachers get combat pay"...

Then let them get real jobs if public schools suck that bad...

"Fail"...

Hmmm, an apt description of socialist indoctrination being foisted off as education...

 
At 3/03/2011 9:56 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

E Cogniac, do you know if those teachers were drunks or party animals before or after they became teachers?

Walt says "... It's not unusual to pay professionals for those qualities."

It's also not unusual to let go professionals after they fail to meet low performance standards, unless you're a public school teacher. It's cheaper to hire a babysitter.

 
At 3/03/2011 11:53 PM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

There is nothing like a nice government monopoly!

 
At 3/04/2011 12:35 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

I recently received, via a Freedom of Information Act request, a copy of the most recent teachers' contract with High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Illinois (see contract here). What I found was 67 pages of gifts for the teachers at the direct expense of the taxpayers.

[...]

Under Illinois law teachers may use ERO (Early Retirement Option) to retire early without penalty (see details here). The plan is very complicated but basically involves large lump sum payments from the school as well as the retiree to the Teachers Retirement System at the time of retirement. For example a teacher wanting to retire 5 years early would pay 57.5% of her highest salary and the school district (the taxpayer) 117.5% in order to retire penalty free.

Under this contract, page 53, the school district pays both the employer's portion and the employee's portion up to a maximum of 175% (57.5%+117.5%) of the teacher's highest salary.

So lets do an example of a retiring teacher based upon this contract.

A 45 year-old teacher with 20 years experience making the contract maximum $113,907 decides she wants to retire in 10 years at age 55. Lets further assume a very modest 3% per year salary growth for the next 6 years followed by the 6%/yr contractual increase for each of the last 4 years before retirement. This gets the salary up to $171,710. Per the above, the school district then makes a lump-sum payment to the TRS of $300,492 (175% times $171,710) to preserve her full retirement. That represents a $10,000/yr fringe benefit for the teacher amortized over her 30-year career. So total compensation for this teacher in her final year is $212,000 ($171k salary+$16k pension contribution+$15k insurance+$10,000 lump sum retirement payment). What ever happened to a gold watch?

If we calculate the hourly compensation for this example it comes out to $176/hr ($212,000/1200 hrs). This could be a drivers-ed teacher or an art teacher or a French teacher or a nurse. I think it is reasonable to say that this teacher's hourly compensation is at least 300% more than someone in the private sector would make at age 55 with those same skill sets. Also note she is retiring after 30 years at age 55 instead of 40 years at age 65 for her peers in the private sector.

Her pension at age 55? More than $112,000/yr plus 3% per year COLA compounded.

Anatomy of a Teachers Contract: Blueprint for a Taxpayer Mugging, ChampionNews

 
At 3/04/2011 1:30 AM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Juandos: What like cleaning your gun? How much does it pay? More than your trans job in the airline industry?

Peak: Actually I don't think many of them drink. They don't have time to watch football and drink beer. Too much homework to mark.

They do party though...June 30 to Sept 1st. The rest of the year it's bed by 9 or 10.

Ah, yes it's true that there are some bad apples that should be fired. That's everywhere I suppose. But should they hire babysitters or parents? At least babysitters are paid to mind the kids.

I wonder how the parents are doing on those performance scores?

 
At 3/04/2011 3:58 AM, Blogger rjs said...

nuns have taken a vow of poverty...

 
At 3/04/2011 5:06 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Is this E Cogniac dude drunk? You can catch fish with bait but you shouldn't serve it as an appetizer, what? I hope you're not a teacher, cuz you would certainly prove that they're way overpaid. The truth is that most teachers are simply babysitters because that's all they're good for. If they think they're underpaid now, just wait till online learning decimates the teaching profession in the coming years. I for one will be laughing my ass off when all those worthless people are finally kicked out on the streets and have to actually work for a living.

 
At 3/04/2011 7:44 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from E Cogniac: "Let's review...we take 'your' offspring for the better part of their day and the better part of their lives to adulthood and 'teach' them?"

You certainly seem impressed with yourself. Maybe you should consider a career change, if your job is that difficult for you.

 
At 3/04/2011 8:29 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Sprewell,

"I for one will be laughing my ass off when all those worthless people are finally kicked out on the streets and have to actually work for a living."

I'll be chortling right along side you, but where will all the Marxists, Islamofascist sympathizers, and freeloaders go? Oh, McDonalds is always hiring.

 
At 3/04/2011 8:36 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"It's also not unusual to let go professionals after they fail to meet low performance standards, unless you're a public school teacher."

You need to hire the right people in the first place and then hire people who can implement and document the written and well-defined due-process policies. Properly documented discharges that strictly follow policies are difficult to beat or result in lawsuits. That means you can't write up an employee you don't like and let the principal's pet teacher get away with the same violation. Union reps will find the chink in the armor but only if you put the chink there. I can show you how to fire people you want to stay fired. Why don't we expect the same professionalism from management and the human resource department that we expect from the employees?

 
At 3/04/2011 10:54 AM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Oooo you guys are scary. Sprewell, Paul, Geoih...

No, actually I am not terribly impressed with myself...but the kids seem to be! Working in Kindie and Grade 1 at the moment. Trying to teach them to sit still for 10 seconds without being a nuisance, think, read and write and love to learn...in a fun way of course.

But that's okay, we can stop the lesson and deal with your behaviour, I'm sure the others will wait. I actually learn more from the kids and online, than I did in my formal training, and frankly I'm not motivated by the pay, but that's the way it is these days...the teachers are learners and the learners are teachers.

I'm not quite sure what you are teaching us though? Hmmm.

 
At 3/04/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

As a taxpayer advocate, I help review public school district finances when they seek support for their school bonds.

Recently a tiny district we were reviewing told us that they had only two teacher openings last year. They had 542 certified teacher applicants.

Seems to me that suggests that compensation is far higher than necessary. And remember, the bad teachers are all but impossible to fire.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:20 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

The 34% difference is only for salary. Public teacher benefits, especially retirement, are far greater than private teacher benefits. I estimate that total compensation of public teachers is 40-50% greater than private teachers.

 
At 3/04/2011 11:31 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Richard,

# of job openings vs the # of applicants does make logical your conclusion. A logical conclusion would be that your district has no job openings...not due to overpayment of the present employees.
Suggestive of low job turnover which might suggest contentment in the job, but who knows for certain?

Are you qualified to assess finances of that nature and then assess the value the job? Have you been in the place of employment and observed the job. Has your org conducted any studies, surveys, science of any kind?
I don't question to be challenging just for the sake of, but to learn what you base your statement upon as I am very curious regarding the stats you present and the conclusion you make.

Dr. T
I agree that retirement is an issue that probably requires much study and debate. I know of many retirees who do supply teaching and get paid a higher wage, than the up and coming teachers.
With the aging and healthy population this is going to cause some dramatic shifts economically for school boards. The young and fresh can't get experience and the old and experienced are draining the coffers. What to do about it is another question, that few seem able to wrap their head around.
Fair retirement compensation for devoted long term skilled work however...we'd have to decide if the job is valued in society first and on what parameters no?
Do we value heart surgeons, paramedics, police? What is a life worth? What is a child's education worth and is it 'just' math and language or an impressionable mind we are dealing with? Is a psychiatrist or a psychologist valued? How about a youth counsellor for troubled youth that need to be turned around? Are they valuable members of the work force? Or are those working on Wall street more valuable? What about actors and hockey players?How do we attribute so little value to those responsible to nurture minds in society? Now, what about those teachers? These are the questions that need to be analyzed...long and hard before considering if teacher's pay is adequate or inadequate or comparable to counterparts outside of the public school system. At least I would think they would be much more valuable questions to economists in general as well as the consumers of policy and wisdom?

 
At 3/05/2011 3:53 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

E Cogniac

"How do we attribute so little value to those responsible to nurture minds in society?"

I was just wondering the same thing. We seem to be ignoring the one group that has, by far, the greatest influence on those impressionable young minds - the parents. Perhaps, if we are truly interested in rewarding those who do the most for our children, we should be channeling more taxpayer money directly to those who are the most valuable.


"Now, what about those teachers? These are the questions that need to be analyzed...long and hard before considering if teacher's pay is adequate or inadequate or comparable to counterparts outside of the public school system."

Actually, it wouldn't take much analysis at all. Probably the best way to determine the value of a teacher would be to completely privatize the education system, thus allowing the market to determine the price based on what the customers - students and their parents - were willing to pay, as is the case for most other jobs outside the public sector.

If that seems like too much of a good thing, at the very least, taxpayer money for education should attach to the student, not to their physical street address, so that parents could more easily make choice for their children.

 
At 3/05/2011 4:41 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

E Cogniac

"Are you qualified to assess finances of that nature and then assess the value the job? Have you been in the place of employment and observed the job. Has your org conducted any studies, surveys, science of any kind?"

Although I can't speak for Richard, I would like to take a crack at addressing your comment. I don't think Richard will mind, and if he does, I'm sure he will call me on it.

Richard didn't indicate where the school district in question is located, but as he is in the San Diego (CA) area, I will assume it is somewhere in that area. In case you're not familiar, the greater San Diego area has a larger population than many states, so there are doubtless a large number of school districts in a relatively small geographic area.

The reason I mention this, is because your assertion that job contentment alone would cause 542 applicants to seek 2 job openings makes little sense in an area this densely populated. While it's possible this school district has some special attraction, I doubt it's much different from many others in the area.

And, while you may be correct that the pure satisfaction of having a positive effect on young lives is enough reward, as it is in your case, regardless of pay, I doubt that's enough for most people.

Perhaps teaching is unique, but for most jobs, 542 qualified applicants for 2 openings indicates a VERY desirable position, probably involving high pay. I'm not sure Richard needs any particular expertise to reach that reasonable sounding conclusion.

 
At 3/05/2011 8:28 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Juandos: What like cleaning your gun? How much does it pay? More than your trans job in the airline industry?"...

Trying to make sense of these sentences but they seem to have been written by a 'public school teacher'...

Well first and foremost a 'clean firearm is a working firearm' and a safe one also...

How much does it pay to clean firearms? Obviously it depends on where one works and what other skill sets one brings to the job...

But yes, I do know a few gunsmiths that do make more money than I an airline employee and guess what?

They're worth it unlike the amount of 'extorted tax dollars wasted on a public school teacher...

 
At 3/15/2011 5:39 PM, Blogger Cliff said...

"Incorrect usage of language and perhaps should be a federal offence punishable to an entire day in a classroom. ANY classroom. The entire day."

Spelling FAIL: offense, not offence. Were you the one with the sign reading "Unions our my cup of tea?"

I hope you're not a teacher. Either way, stay away from children.

 

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