Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Public Sector Premium for School Teachers

Full-time Elementary and Secondary School Teachers, by Experience and Education, Total School-Year and Summer Income

Average Salaries: 2007-2008
ExperiencePrivatePublicPublic Premium
 1 year or less$32,120$42,21031.41%
 2 to 4 years$34,220$43,49027.09%
 5 to 9 years$38,110$49,12028.89%
 10 to 14 years$41,310$54,15031.08%
 15 to 19 years$42,740$58,26036.31%
 20 to 24 years$43,880$61,21039.49%
 25 to 29 years$42,910$63,86048.82%
 30 or more years$50,560$65,47029.49%
Highest Degree Earned
 Less than bachelor's degree$26,670$53,880102.02%
 Bachelor's degree$36,880$47,06027.60%
 Master's degree$45,340$58,46028.94%
 Education specialist3 $50,880$62,41022.66%
 Doctor's degree$57,490$65,56014.04%
Total$39,690$53,23034.11%

The chart above is based on Department of Education data available here for the 2007-2008 school year comparing average salaries for public and private school teachers at the elementary and secondary level.  Here are some interesting (shocking?) comparisons:

1. Overall, public school teachers make a 34.11% premium compared to their private school counterparts.

2. Controlling for experience, public school teachers make a premium that generally increases with the number of years teaching, reaching a maximum premium of 49% for public school teachers with 25-29 years of experience.

3. Public school teachers with one year of experience make about the same ($42,210) as private school teachers with 25-29 years of experience ($42,910). 

4. Comparing teachers with equal education, public school teachers earn large premiums over their private school counterparts, especially for public school teachers with less than a bachelor's degree, who earn more than twice the amount on average ($53,880) as private school teachers with the same level of education ($26,670).

76 Comments:

At 3/04/2011 12:23 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Great. Slug it out for thirty years with an annual raise less than a thousand a year.

No wonder we can't get good teachers.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:29 AM, Blogger Johnster said...

Private school teachers are paid way too little. Only $51K with 30 years of experience?

 
At 3/04/2011 12:34 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 1:24 AM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

I don't believe teachers do what they do motivated by the pay. Their heart is in it for the kids and some misguided attempt to confuse economists.

I personally don't understand why there is abiding interest between private and public. They seem to me at least, to be serving two consumers, relatively the same thing?
Can someone explain?

"I'd like a large coffee."
"A Grande?"
"Just a big coffee, thanks."
" One Grande, coming up!"
(they inevitably turn to someone else and say "Grande")

Funny, I always seem to answer with "Thanks for the large coffee"

Pinball whatshisname always orders the Grande. I always order the large coffee. Basically we are both tired grumpy and need one when we reach for the sugar. He tips though? Is that the difference?

As for his kids, when he and the other parents pull in someone at the road radios to someone at the door, to go get his kids and no one has to park. It's all very organized. When mine finish the bell rings, it's complete chaos and mine walk home and text their friends and tell me they were late because they were stuck in traffic at the lights...where Pinball was lined up for 10 minutes.

As for the money and fame...of the teachers...historically in various countries and perhaps still, teaching was considered a noble and honourable profession. What happened? These days, I wouldn't be surprised if my Vet's lab tech is paid more to study my dog's stool!

 
At 3/04/2011 2:12 AM, Blogger Kali said...

There is no such thing as a "Public Sector School Teacher with less than a B.A. degree" and there hasn't been for years. At least not in the Midwest, where the best schools in the nation are located. Teachers must have a five-year bachelors degree in education, and many opt to get master's degrees in lieu of that extra year of undergrad training.

Maybe "right to work" states have lower requirements because they can't attract properly educated and trained teachers.

 
At 3/04/2011 2:15 AM, Blogger Doug said...

"1. Overall, public school teachers make a 34.11% premium compared to their public school counterparts."

The 2nd "public" in that sentence should be "private".

 
At 3/04/2011 2:37 AM, Blogger Gregory (Greg) P Turco said...

Let's compare for-profit schools with not-for-profit schools and see what we find. Lots of teachers work for church schools for less pay because they believe.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:13 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Kali, no, more like right-to-work states don't make teachers get useless credentials in order to teach kids. My mom tried to teach elementary school in the Midwest and it was crazy the hoops that they made her jump through, she eventually just gave up. I went to a public high school in the Midwest and while I had a handful of surprisingly good teachers, mostly cuz I took a lot of Advanced Placement classes, they were the exception not the rule. If you think the best teachers are out there, you must be smoking something.

 
At 3/04/2011 7:12 AM, Blogger aldom said...

Convincing yet it would be more convincing if adjusted for religious schools and for the reality that in many private schools a teacher gets free, or significantly reduced tuition, for his / her children.

That can be a HUGE benefit, especially at a boarding school

 
At 3/04/2011 7:58 AM, Blogger randian said...

Private school teachers are paid way too little. Only $51K with 30 years of experience?

Public school teachers don't have 30 years of experience. They have 1 year of experience repeated 30 times.

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

Responsible parents pay a huge premium when they take their children out of failed public schools and send them to private schools, since they continue to pay taxes for the public school, while paying the cost for the private school.

 
At 3/04/2011 8:33 AM, Blogger Eric said...

What about those all-important pensions? Do a public-private comparison of salaries AFTER they retire.

 
At 3/04/2011 8:34 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"I don't believe teachers do what they do motivated by the pay. Their heart is in it for the kids and some misguided attempt to confuse economists."

Yeah, that's why all those protesters are currently stinking up the capitol building in Wisconsin.

It's for the children!

 
At 3/04/2011 8:42 AM, Blogger H.A. Black said...

Mark, First, how could there be a teacher with no undergraduate degree? These must be teacher's aides. Second, are these just salaries? What about the total package including benefits? Third, the dirty little secret is that the undergraduates who major in education are usually the poorest performing students in the university. Saying teachers are underpaid is simply not true. Given their skill levels, their benefit and salaries, and the length of their work year, most studies find that teachers are actually overpaid. Many if not most teachers would fail to pass tests in the subjects they teach. A modest proposal would be to make education a graduate program and for teachers to have a real major in college. Then we would start to see real improvements in the level of instruction in all our schools.

 
At 3/04/2011 8:47 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Professor Perry,

Thanks for the charts.

"Third, the dirty little secret is that the undergraduates who major in education are usually the poorest performing students in the university."

If teachers are so overpaid and have such a cushy job (9-month school years), why are the best and brightest students choosing other fields to enter?

 
At 3/04/2011 8:56 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Walt says: "If teachers are so overpaid and have such a cushy job (9-month school years), why are the best and brightest students choosing other fields to enter?"

Because the best and brightest don't want to just take up space and go through the motions, which is why they're the best and brightest in the first place.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:03 AM, Blogger Jon said...

A job with both greater security and better pay? Why the premium? Must be collective bargaining between sympathetic politicians and the union. It would be interesting to know two things: Is there a salary difference between States where teacher collective bargaining is allowed and those where it is not? And what % of the premium in pay finds its way back to the unions for overhead and used in some way to get those politicians re-elected.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:12 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

PeakTrader,

Are you saying that current teaching assignments, as designed, are not challenging enough?

 
At 3/04/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Walt, it depends. Putting in the minimum effort to meet low standards is a huge challenge for some people.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:34 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Your logic seems like a non sequitur to me.

-Teachers are overpaid.
-Teaching is easy.

--The best and brightest do not want a highly paid and easy job.

This seems like a huge disconnect to me. I have to disallow my assumptions about incentives to accept that logic. What am I missing in your statement?

 
At 3/04/2011 9:34 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

wlat-

public school teachers have a byzantine regulator structure to which they must adhere, little control of the curriculum, and are not paid for performance.

why would the best and brightest want to enter a career in which they can express little creativity and are not paid for doing a good job?

those who can perform want to be paid for performance, not lumped in with a bunch of rent seeking clock punchers.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:40 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Eric, good point, this Reason video about the state/union situation has some good info about pensions and the like. It's nuts that they can force all the teachers to join their union in many of these states. When I was in a public high school in the Midwest in the '90s and the teachers in my district went on strike, there at least seemed to be a couple unions they could choose from in that state. I remember my math teacher saying that he disagreed with the union/teachers who were striking, but then he didn't get into it, presumably because he didn't feel they were issues to get the kids embroiled in. The funniest part is that we had a huge snowstorm the week that they went on strike, so the ones protesting were stuck in feet of snow and a subzero windchill. :)

 
At 3/04/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

private schools have better teachers than public schools and provide a better education.

if these better teachers work for less, then clearly teachers are overpaid.

in any career, "overpaid" is relative to the costs of labor. if i hire a guy to shovel snow for $50/hr when i could have paid $20 for the same work, he was overpaid even if his annual income is still low.

overpaid is always a relative term.

comparing a teacher to a cardiac surgeon is irrelevant in terms of "overpaid" even though the latter makes multiples of the former's salary.

it's a different skill and talent set.

however, public and private school teachers have the same skill set, so they are directly comparable.

bottom line: if public schools paid for performance instead of seniority, they'd get better teachers for less money.

the fact that teacher's union so vigorously oppose any kind of pay for performance scheme pretty much tells everything you need to know about where their priorities lie.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:45 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Walt, perhaps you can understand JFK.

Delivered at Rice University in Houston, Texas on 12 September 1962.

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."

 
At 3/04/2011 10:09 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Walt,

"The best and brightest do not want a highly paid and easy job."

Nope. The best and the brightest are usually not interested in being teachers. They will have little trouble finding highly paid jobs.

 
At 3/04/2011 10:36 AM, Blogger Ironman said...

I think that you'll find that the public school teachers track the average income earned in the U.S. by full-time, year-round workers, while the private school teachers are just a bit above the track for median income earners.

Keep in mind that's for only working 180 days a year, as opposed to 260 for the typical full-time, year-round worker. (Here's a tool where you can work out what the equivalent pay is.)

 
At 3/04/2011 11:58 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

and some misguided attempt to confuse economists.

=================================

Hah!, good one.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:06 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Cogniac is right though. May father was a teacher, and he was never much motivated by money, more than the family needed.

By the time I was 25 I made more than he ever made.

He worked a full job, but I don't think he busted hump at it. he did get discouraged by discipline problems and losers he just couldn't help. I never saw im pull a week of all nighters, as I have done, but, he may have had a union by then.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Keep in mind that's for only working 180 days a year

================================

My father figured he got part time pay for a part time job: then he worked two other jobs during the summer months.

If we go to year round school, expect to pay teachers more.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:10 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"The best and brightest do not want a highly paid and easy job."

=================================

Or they may not be wired for it.

youwould have to pay me four times what a teacher gets, just to put up with the DFLL.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

overpaid is always a relative term.

=================================

Maybe, but underpaid, isn't.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

a thought experiment:

imagine 2 people.

one is smart, hard working, and aggressive.

one is of mediocre intellect, lazy, and unmotivated.

now imagine two jobs:

one is competitive, challenging, and pays (well) for performance and promotes based on achievement.

the other has zero competition, is stable, and pays based on time served without regard to achievement.

now ask yourself, which sort of person would be attracted to which job?

 
At 3/04/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The fact that teacher's union so vigorously oppose any kind of pay for performance scheme, might be because there are so many other factors in play, that are outside of their control.

No matter how hard I work at my drillpress, it can only drill so many holes.

Surly performance is part of the equation, but my guess is it might be as low as ten percent. I don't thik my teachers had all that much to do with whatever I learned.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:51 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I don't thik my teachers had all that much to do with whatever I learned."

i had a very different experience.

good teachers make an enormous difference.

one might also argue that teachers had so little to do with what you learned because they had so little incentive to do so.

the causality there is not one way.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:55 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"The fact that teacher's union so vigorously oppose any kind of pay for performance scheme, might be because there are so many other factors in play, that are outside of their control."

Oh, please. You could say that about any job.

 
At 3/04/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"I don't thik my teachers had all that much to do with whatever I learned."

Then you should agree they are overpaid.

 
At 3/04/2011 1:58 PM, Blogger JPINTX said...

The only justification for Public sector teachers to receive a higher salary is that the public system must try to educate ALL (from gang bangers to the extremely dedicated students) while private schools arguably have mostly upper tier students.

Along similar lines, I wish someone with more research talent than I posses would look into this: seems to me that one reason students in say Sweden score better in math, science etc. than in the USA is that their systems tend to move low academic performers out of the academic stream and into "vocational education" earlier and to a far greater extent than here.

 
At 3/04/2011 2:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Maybe, but underpaid, isn't."

um, no.

underpaid by its very nature must be a relative term.

you cannot be over or under except in relation to something else.

 
At 3/04/2011 2:33 PM, Blogger randian said...

If we go to year round school, expect to pay teachers more.

Why? They wouldn't be worth more.

The fact that teacher's union so vigorously oppose any kind of pay for performance scheme, might be because there are so many other factors in play, that are outside of their control.

I am always amazed when apologists for teachers argue that, on one hand, they shouldn't be penalized for lousy student performance because it's all outside their control, and on the other hand argue that teachers are highly trained professionals who deserve to be highly compensated. Which is it? If it's outside your control, we shouldn't pay you much more than minimum wage, and there certainly shouldn't be merit pay or seniority bumps.

 
At 3/04/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger randian said...

The only justification for Public sector teachers to receive a higher salary is that the public system must try to educate ALL

Actually, that's not a justification for anything. Since "special" students aren't educated by regular staff, regular staff shouldn't be paid more for teaching them. Any payroll differential in this matter should be entirely in additional staff, not in compensation for mainline staff.

 
At 3/04/2011 3:04 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

It's delusional to think that simply throwing more money at the incompetent group of people we currently employ as "educators" will somehow transform them and render them more effective at their jobs. What's needed is an end to tenure and the guarantee of lifetime employment and the imposition of an effective measure of competence. Those who demonstrate that they are able to meet and exceed this metric will be able to demand more for their services. Those that cannot meet it will be fired.

What's really got them upset is that the political process provides a way for the taxpayer to throw off the yoke the unions have placed on them and demand redress of their grievances.

Their is absolutely no justification for awarding, what are in essence, permanent no-bid contracts to teachers unions at the exclusion of other Americans perfectly capable of doing the job. Anyone who wants to teach should only have to demonstrate through regular examination that they are competent in their field and of good character and then they should be allowed to seek employment. Social justice demands a voucher system.

 
At 3/04/2011 3:52 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

morganovich,

I think the teachers' union is changing their stance on pay for performance, but the metrics are in question. Remember, the people who are judging the performance often used to be teachers themselves. If you have a system that cannot hire good teachers, how do you know the administrators from the same pool are any good? Gotta watch the under-the-desk teacher ratings. Yes, I am a cynic, but it is well-earned from employees getting written up for not “loaning” supervisors money or going on “dates” with them.

I have a teaching job where I am evaluated on student performance on a federal certification exam, which is about as objective as you can get. My student class score last year slipped from 78% the year before to 68%, and I had to explain why that happened in a formal meeting with the dean. I had three students last year who could barely read that I did not have the year before, and I had a class size of 44 compared to 18 the year before. Should my job be in jeopardy or my pay be impacted because I had a different student-to-teacher ratio and student ability mix in the class? The exam performance depends on a lot of variables I cannot control.

PeakTrader,

That’s a great quotation. Thanks for the inspiration and the explanation.

 
At 3/04/2011 3:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Hydra says: "Cogniac is right though. My father was a teacher, and he was never much motivated by money."

I wonder what motivates the teachers in Wisconsin?:

Officials say it'll cost $7.5 million to clean up glue, tape, posters left from protesters
March 3, 2011

"During testimony, a representative from the Attorney General's office said it would cost $500,000 to remove all of the posters and garbage. He says it would cost $6 million to restore the marble inside of the Capitol building and another $1 million to touch up the marble outside of the building.

Officials with the Department of Administration say normally, tape isn't used on the walls of the Capitol by rule because of the historic nature of the building. Easels are normally used for signs."

 
At 3/04/2011 3:58 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Walt: "PeakTrader, That’s a great quotation. Thanks for the inspiration and the explanation."

Walt, thanks and you're welcome.

 
At 3/04/2011 4:21 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I'm sure there's lots of frustration on both sides, from the people who pay and have no money and from the people who are paid and want more money.

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

walt-

"I think the teachers' union is changing their stance on pay for performance, but the metrics are in question."

what evidence do you have for that statement? barring a few very rare aberrations, the vast majority of teacher's union policy seems to disagree with your statement.

regarding test scores etc as an evaluation metric, the example you cite is an awfully extreme one. few teachers face such radical changes in class composition in one year.

further, who said it has to be exclusively test based? that is what managers are for. lots of industries manage to hire and promote based on performance without having a hard dataset like test scores. an engaged manager knows which employees are doing a good job.

the problem is that principals and administrators are hamstrung and powerless to effect change (largely by unions and the thicket of rules they have erected). this both leads to stagnation and keeps anyone who is actually competent from wanting one of those jobs.

one need only look at the overwhelming success of school systems like harlem or the national system in finland to see how much improvement can occur very rapidly without spending any extra money by simply empowering individual school heads to shape the curriculum and make hiring, firing, and salary decision based on merit as opposed to seniority.

that is how it works at private schools and it's why they get better teachers and better results. most of the teachers at my high school were astoundingly good, better in many cases than the professors i had at an ivy league university. no one had any trouble telling which ones were doing a good job. you make it sound like managing teachers is somehow terribly difficult. it's not. that's just the sort of obfuscation tossed out by the teacher's unions to prevent evaluation and merit pay.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:22 PM, Blogger Andi said...

Where are the teachers with less than a Bachelor's degree teaching? I don't know of any district in MN or WI where that would be allowed.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

regarding test based evaluation:

issues such as the one you cite are irrelevant in a public school system. most students take standardized tests every year. this creates a benchmark on which to judge progress. you have proficiency entering a class and exiting it. the difference = performance.

thus, having lower scores this year than last need not mean failure. taking kinds from 60 to 70 shoes more improvement than taking them from 70-72 even if it is a lower score.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:30 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

morganovich said: "... I think the teachers' union is changing their stance on pay for performance, but the metrics are in question. Remember, the people who are judging the performance often used to be teachers themselves...."

The teachers' unions remain vehemently opposed to merit pay even when the standards for determining merit are completely objective. Here is one proposed method for assessing teachers in lower grades (students have just one teacher all year). The method takes into account the pre-existing abilities of the students.

1. Acquire each student's end-of-year knowledge and ability assessment from the previous year. (Test new students at the beginning of the year.)

2. Measure student's knowledge and abilities at the end of the school year.

3. Calculate average increase.

The average student should move up one grade level per school year. If the average increase for the students in a teacher's class is 0.9-1.1, then the teacher did an acceptable job. If the average is above 1.1, then the teacher should be paid more. If the average is less than 0.9, then the teacher should be paid less. If it is less than 0.7, then the teacher should be fired.

This merit pay system is completely objective, but not one teachers' union supports it.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:35 PM, Blogger patriot.ben.s said...

Are they paid more for not having a Bachelors Degree? WTF!

 
At 3/04/2011 5:42 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"you make it sound like managing teachers is somehow terribly difficult. it's not."

Well, then it should not be too difficult to hire good teachers that you will not need to fire. I don't doubt some teachers are bad, but if they hire good teachers and support them, and give them students supported by good parenting, the talk about firing them will not be a huge problem. Very few employees go to work wanting to be bad employees.

I can tell you from experience that the bad employees will self-destruct and get themselves fired or kill themselves no matter how hard someone tries to help them. Documentation and strictly enforced policies make that happen quicker. It's a cop out to say due process protections keep bad employees from getting fired.

morganovich,

And the increasingly number of parents who divorce, start drinking or doing drugs, move, or lose their jobs will not affect the test scores from year-to-year? There's still a lot of variables there. I do agree, though, that teachers should be evaluated using multiple criteria, and teachers' unions should not stand in the way of that happening.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:48 PM, Blogger claymonster said...

I wish teachers could be rewarded more handsomely for the thankless job they perform.
However, there MUST be performance-based evaluations and raises MUST be based on performance, not just years.
In my opinion, many people enter teaching because "it's the only thing they can do" (didn't do so well in college & switched to an Education major) -- but once they bond with the kids, see themselves making a difference, they get hooked. Certainly not all, but many. Then, the money isn't the main thing. The frustrations of curriculum mandates (teaching to a nationalized test instead of actually learning a subject), Administration types who don't care, stupid parents with no interest in their child's behavior, performance, or grades, etc. make it a bitter pill to swallow.
Also, if there's no collective bargaining, you end up like my sister - being kept to one hour a week below full-time so they pay NO benefits.
There's got to be a meeting in the middle. Our system is busted on both ends.

 
At 3/04/2011 5:59 PM, Blogger hswalj said...

So why would anyone be a private school teacher?

 
At 3/04/2011 6:10 PM, Blogger randian said...

Also, if there's no collective bargaining, you end up like my sister - being kept to one hour a week below full-time so they pay NO benefits.

Welcome to the real world. Suck it up.

 
At 3/04/2011 6:22 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Hswalj says "So why would anyone be a private school teacher?"

Maybe, they can't be an overpaid public school teacher.

 
At 3/04/2011 6:32 PM, Blogger reilly said...

Good teachers are worth a lot. A sitter getting $1/hour x 8 hours x 20 kids x 180 days (school year)is $28,800. A teacher does so much more. Public teachers also have to deal with all kids, many of which are not motivated and have a poor home life. I agreed that church schools do better (on average) with less pay but they also (on average) have a higher set of students in motivation and parental support.

 
At 3/04/2011 9:05 PM, OpenID 9d1c2806-46cc-11e0-b5aa-000bcdcb5194 said...

Many left the comment that teaching is easy. Well I invite you to my classroom, do my job for a week. I will give you the state curriculum and you should have no problem doing such an easy job. Remember that those tests need to be graded and returned to the students in a timely manner. You'll have to take those home because you must be up teaching the whole time ~ I mean its easy anyway. Then you'll have to take some time out of your teaching to deal with a discipline problem or perhaps a child that came to school crying and only has you to confide in, you may have to make a few phone calls to parents and likely end up trying 2 to 3 numbers to finally get in touch with one parent. At the end of the day, take home your state curriculum because you'll need to plan for the next day - on your own time. Second day, exhausted because you were up late grading and planning, but now you have to enter that room and be exactly what each student needs you to be that day. It's easy....no sweat. I welcome any of you into my classroom for a week.

 
At 3/04/2011 10:35 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I'm sure some teachers do more than parents or babysitters.

A Day in the Life of a High School English Teacher

5:45 am Traffic. I am out the door and on my way. I leave this early because traffic even at this hour can be fierce.

6:15 Even at this really, really early hour, there are always a few other teachers around (with big cups of coffee). We usually run into each other at the copier.

6:15-7:20 Even though I make a point of leaving the room as tidy as I can at the end of the day, somehow I always sprint around the school as fast as I can just trying to get everything done before students show up. If I need to clean the board, I hit that first and then wipe down the desks with disinfectant.

I connect the laptop, check email, and scribble everything that the kids need to know on the board. Then I check in with my teaching partner. We spend a few minutes working together.

Kids start coming by to hand in late work, make up assignments, or just hang out with friends. It tends to be crowded and noisy even this early.

7:20-9:00 We have an alternating block schedule, so I meet each class every other day for the entire year.

My first class today is mixture of sleepyheads and hyperkids. I work hard to figure out ways to appeal to everyone’s learning style, but it is not always easy.

9:00-9:15 The whole school takes a break.

9:15-10:55 The second block is the same as first with a few tweaks.

11:02-11:28 Lunch. Our school is so large that we have several lunch periods.

11:33-1:13 Planning period for me.

We English teachers spend LOTS of time grading essays.

1:20-2:10 Last class of the day. This class meets daily and is much shorter than the others. The kids can be tired so it is challenging to keep them upbeat and focused.

2:10-3:45 It’s not over yet. I stay after school four days a week to help students make up work, get extra help on writing assignments, or just work on problems they are having with the material. Most of the teachers at my school stay after to offer extra help. It’s not really a formal arrangement, but it seems to work. Right before I leave, I make sure the room is clean and my desk clear. Even though I am tired.

My comment: Is this job really difficult?

 
At 3/04/2011 10:57 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

It's interesting how those that seem to want to make a difference, try and keep trying.

They ask questions, they invite input, they offer their ideas. They discourse. They are both learners and teachers.

Some fascinating feedback evolving in the discussion tonight.

Then, (sigh), there are those that seem bitter, negative, it's all just misery and crap, and who to blame, and they have nothing to learn here, except to hurl insults and inflict injury and distract those that are trying to move forward on a path.

Sound a little familiar? Why by golly it's a math and social science class!

Or am I being an incompetent educator while at the same time learning a whole bunch from everyone?

We are rewarded...it looks like this :>, not like this $, or this %, and sometimes not even #'s can evaluate what a learner knows at all...sometimes it has to be pictures or symbols, or art or as Peak sometimes seems to be sharing with us, civil disobedience in the making.
Are you hungry Peak because you seem kind of grumpy?
But, being that this might be a math and social science class of some sort, it should always = ?
(something?)

Hey, I wonder if the Dr. is evaluating us!? We were supposed to be looking at those graphs and charts weren't we?
Shocking!
He's not even here.

 
At 3/04/2011 11:30 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

E Cogniac says: "It's interesting how those that seem to want to make a difference, try and keep trying. They ask questions, they invite input, they offer their ideas. They discourse. They are both learners and teachers..."

And the ship is still sinking. Maybe, there's a bigger problem you overlooked.

 
At 3/04/2011 11:46 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Yes Peak!
Brilliant question!!!

The ship is sinking. I agree.

But why?

Can we agree to care at least and would you be open to talking about it?
I have taught in post secondary, high school and the elementary panels. I am losing my mind for caring. I am devoting my life and career to caring and to wanting to find answers.
And here I am and here you are.
I don't believe for one second that I am incompetent, overpaid, lazy, or worthless. Nor are most of my colleagues that I can see.
We half kill ourselves for those kids and still the ship is sinking.
And yes, burnout is high as is cynicism....but why.
It's just not what you and lothers I have seen here allude to Peak. It's just not.
I see some of the problems are, and others raise some good insight and ideas but it is far more complex and mysterious than blanket statements and negativity toward teachers. that's a cynical and incorrect analysis. You are better than Archie Bunker and so am I and society needs to be all in the family on this one. It's more important than healthcare, or flying to the moon or technology, or going overseas. Can you see my passion now?
The ship is sinking and it's not crappy lazy teachers that are overpaid.

 
At 3/04/2011 11:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

E Cogniac, the answers are found in many sunken ships, i.e. bankrupt firms in the private sector.

 
At 3/05/2011 12:13 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Teachers without four degrees are substitute teachers but a hourly wage must be calculated. You can see that is less than a teacher with a four year degree degree. Many counties require a four degree to be a substitute teacher. Rural area ...obviously have more challenges in finding staffing.

The teachers who are teaching at private school are not the best teachers. They are the ones who did not get hired by the county or were let go by the county.

If you were a good teacher would you take less money? The only question I have is that the private schools give discounts for their teachers children to attend. Do they include this discount in their salary calculations?

 
At 3/05/2011 12:34 AM, Blogger kevinator311969 said...

I teach every kid that comes into the school district. kids that have labels next to their name, kids that have just come out of rehab,juvinile det.,bootcamp,and even county jail, kids that are drug addicts, kids that are satisfied to be just like their parents STUCK ON welfare, kids that are pregnant, kids that are under the influence while at school, and then there are the kids that are actually in school to learn History ( I am a History teacher ) Remember the public schools receive funding from the Feds and State based on # of Butts in a desk. So they let just-about-anybody attend school. Now if you think I am over paid, have it easy, and do not work enough days in the year. Go to your local school and ask to sit in on a class. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED

 
At 3/05/2011 12:49 AM, Blogger kevinator311969 said...

IF the STATE will make my DISTRICT implement changes exactly like LEAN ON ME then I will gladly lower my income and retirement. School Districts do get way too much money, but they are hog tied by all the red tape. If my campus could remove all the bad apples we would actually be able to teach. DISCIPLINE is what schools need. They also need to be able to fast tract kids into skill related professions. Every kid does not NEED to go to college. A job is what they need plumber, machinist, fabricator, pipe fitter, etc. Get rid of welfare except for the really needy. Every welfare program has directly contributed to poor schools. Why should a kid try. He can get a check in the mail for being poor.

 
At 3/05/2011 5:07 AM, Blogger randian said...

My comment: Is this job really difficult?

No. You have a 7 hour "day" with a 2 hour break in the middle. If I went to my boss and demanded such an abbreviated schedule I'd probably get fired on general principle.

Get thee to the private sector before you complain about hard, long days.

I work hard to figure out ways to appeal to everyone’s learning style, but it is not always easy.

Wrong answer. Group students by learning style. then teach for that style all the time. You can satisfy both styles of learning without compromises.

 
At 3/05/2011 8:18 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Public school teaching, a total load of B.S.!

Well if the people who are underpaind and under valued as public school teachers, let them go out to the real world and see what their job skills are really worth...

 
At 3/05/2011 8:59 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Morganovich: would you like your job performance based on a test someone else took?

When I was at true academy the worst instructors were the ones that taught directly to the tests, in order to improve their own scores.

 
At 3/05/2011 9:02 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

If you throw more money the incompetents may not be there long.

Incentive matters, and plenty of people might teach, except for the lousy pay.

 
At 3/05/2011 9:58 AM, Blogger randian said...

If you throw more money the incompetents may not be there long.

Since you can't fire a teacher for anything less than molesting a student, that's meaningless even if it were true.

Incentive matters, and plenty of people might teach, except for the lousy pay.

If teacher pay were lousy, you'd be right.

 
At 3/05/2011 9:59 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

How many people can be a teacher?

How many people can be a civil engineer, microbiologist, biochemist, CFA, CPA, MD, etc.

I'm sure there are many great teachers, who are underpaid.

However, there are much tougher jobs out there.

 
At 3/05/2011 11:11 AM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Tougher jobs hmmm Peak?

Okay, let's analyse our host's job for a moment and perhaps our own job in relation to that.

I'm in a Grade 1 class.
He's a PhD teaching economics and finance (actually he's on leave at the moment I believe, doing other things and writing this blog.)

He posted some stuff here for us to talk about.
We have folks from all walks of life wanting to discuss his post.

He's the highly qualified teacher, we are the learners if you will, for a moment.

What are we learning?

Who's got the tough job? Him? He's not even here engaing with us.

Come on out teacher....we don't understand the lesson, we don't have parameters with which to frame our discussion and we have kids misbehaving in class (me included).

Is this recess a food fight in the cafeteria, or is this class?

What is the purpose of this blog? To disseminate information (science) and invite discussion and comment? For what purpose? What is the purpose of an economics/finance PhD posting stats on paying teachers and opening an open forum discussion?
I really want to know?

I consider myself a teacher with a tough job but according to Peak, the PhD has the tougher job. So, teach me. Or are we here to teach and him to learn perhaps?

Sorry folks, but this seems a confusing pointless discussion and I'm not sure what anyone is learning or why we are here?

Where's the Principal? (the guy with the really tough job)

Food fight! lol
(come on Hydra I just threw a live chicken in the cafeteria, cover me)

 
At 3/05/2011 11:13 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Even something like grad econ is most difficult, which, I suspect, most people don't know, and don't even know what economists really do.

Only 2,000 MAs and 600 to 800 Ph.Ds in economics are awarded in the U.S. each year.

In the Terminal MA program I was in, only two or three students graduated each year out of 30 students, and of course many more applied and weren't admitted (I graduated, I think, only because they wanted to get rid of me :)).

It was a mountain of work, where you were required to think beyond your capacity to think, and within time constraints. Consequently, women would cry and men would snap at each other.

I studied very hard for the comp exams, reading the material over and over (the theories, terminology, and equations on one page of a book was so condensed, it could've been very easily expanded to well over 100 pages).

However, during the comp exams, the instructors would change a few things, and I was totally lost to explain the new meanings, and often felt like an idiot. I'm actually surprised they passed me :)

 
At 3/05/2011 2:34 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Perhaps I'm missing something. This focus on teachers is wasteful and a diversion, IMHO. For example, I didn't excel in school because of my teachers, nor did I excel despite my teachers. I excelled because I had higher expectations.

This argument of teachers underpaid or teachers overpaid is really silly. The kids and parents determine success.

Consequently, we should not grip about performance pay nor paying for best and brightest. Pay what the market can bear and focus on better expectations in society.

 
At 3/05/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I learned a lot from the teachers who nitpicked me on details, one-on-one, whether or not I asked for their help (they just knew).

 
At 3/06/2011 2:24 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Peak,

You mentioned something which got me thinking..beyond my capacity...

"the instructors would change a few things, and I was totally lost to explain the new meanings, and often felt like an idiot."

and something about the devil being in the details...

In my current school we have switched gears somewhat and are focusing heavily on application of what they know..something we call 'learning strategies'. All those intangible aspects that come out on the report cards without a grade mark; collaboration, problem solving etc.

You mentioned you struggled with this on your comp exams and it's got me thinking we might be going in the right direction. We are changing the report cards too, (as well as grouping kids for interventions to catch them where they are stuck in math and english and let no one slip through the cracks)as parents tend to digest the numbers and little else. Johnny can't get along with others, or apply what he knows, and he'll possibly be unsuccessful in high school and beyond despite himself, but hey parents, he got 85in math?

Is this good enough as an expectation?
We can not allow kids to struggle
because parents have dropped the ball to some extent, or because as a society we just race to the finish line leaving out the details, and I hope we are correct that we sometimes spend as much time teaching them to read, to love books and to apply what they read/learned by making them stop and consider the details and apply it to what we call 'making connections'.
Because of the behaviour we tend to spending a whole lot of time on making connections and have a hard time getting to the actual reading, writing and math, mostly because we can't get to the math or the reading when it's become akin to psych ward in there. A demonstration becomes a riot and moves to complete anarchy, if we don't stop the lesson and 'parent' the kids teaching them those neccesary strategies.
The devil sure is in the details. How are we supposed to teach though if no one is listening?

 

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