Sunday, October 16, 2005

Don't Give Me that Teacher Pay Crap

It must be that time of the year or something, but I keep hearing about how teachers are paid too much. This comes in double doses for those darn DuPage teachers that make a cushy living working their easy teaching gig for only 9 months a year. You know what? Shut your pie hole. Just shut it. Anyone making this statement has no idea about what teachers are paid and how they compare to other professions so I don't want to hear it anymore. If teaching is so damn easy and we are paid so damn well, than what's stopping your ignorant ass from jumping into this cakewalk of a profession? Well, I'm waiting...

To be a teacher I had to get a degree in education. Not just any college degree, but one from an approved professional program that had additional admission standards. Then I had to take a series of really long boring certification tests. One for teaching and one for my subject area. Then I have to continue my professional development verified by the State of Illinois to renew my teaching certificate, with one-third of my development coming in Special Education. And for all this I get to supervise over 100 students every day during the school year.

Now this all makes me think that teaching is indeed a profession. So how does teacher pay stack up? Well, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers not all that well:
Accounting (private):$44,564
Consulting: $49,781
Industrial Engineering:$49,432
Investment Banking: $46,845
Management Trainee: $35,811
Registered Nurse: $38,775
Sales: $37,130
Software Development: $53,729
TEACHING: $29,733

That's right, boys and girls, even if you are a wet behind the ears Management Trainee who doesn't know squat about the business you've been hired into, your starting pay is more than that of a high qualified teacher! But people are sure with all those teacher strikes, teachers earn more. Yet contrary to popular wisdom, we learn the following from the Economic Policy Institute:
• An analysis of weekly wage trends shows that teachers' wages have fallen behind those of other workers since 1996, with teachers' inflation-adjusted weekly wages rising just 0.8%, far less than the 12% weekly wage growth of other college graduates and of all workers.

[...]

• A comparison of teachers' wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.

Did that study say teachers worked more hours a week than other professionals? Surely that's a typo as everyone knows teachers are lazy and have the whole summer off. Besides, everyone knows that teachers have better benefits, right? Or not:
The extent to which teachers enjoy greater benefits depends on the particular wage measure employed to study teacher relative pay. Based on a commonly used wage measure that is similar to the W-2 wages reported to the IRS (and used in our analyses), teachers in 2002 received 19.3% of their total compensation in benefits, slightly more than the 17.9% benefit share of compensation of professionals. These better benefits somewhat offset the teacher wage disadvantage but only to a modest extent. For instance, in terms of the roughly 14% hourly wage disadvantage for teachers we found relative to other workers of similar education and experience, an adjustment for benefits would yield a total compensation disadvantage for teachers of 12.5%, 1.5 percentage points less.

But it gets better if you are one of those overpaid DuPage county teachers. Let's look at those leaches sucking the tax payers dry in a leading DuPage county high school that went on strike last year (how dare they): Downers Grove South! According to their Illinois School Report Card we learn the following:
Average Teacher Salary: $73,200
Average State Teacher Salary: $54,446

Why those overpaid welfare queens of the classroom! They make nearly $20,000 more than the state average and had the nerve to go out on strike! Now why would they earn more?
Average District Teaching Experience: 14.7
Average State Teaching Experience: 13.8

District Teachers with Masters Degree or Higher: 71.9%
State Teachers with Masters Degree or Higher:48.6%

Gee whiz, you mean you have to pay more for teachers that have more experience and advanced degrees in education? That never happens in business! I thought highly qualified educators where cheap. But maybe there's another reason why teachers at Downers South, and in DuPage county earn more. From the Illinois Association of Realtors:
DuPage County Median Q2 2005 Housing Cost: $327,000
Peoria Median Q2 2005 Housing Cost: $106,000

DuPage County Average Housing Q2 2005 Price: $406,086
Peoria County Average Housing Q2 2005 Price: $62,070

Could it be that teachers in DuPage have to pay a bit more for everything, especially a home, than in downstate counties? Could it be that DuPage county is one of the most expensive counties in Illinois, let alone the United States?

So there you have it. Want to be a teacher? It's easy. You just have to accept earning less than other professionals, enjoy wages that grow more slowly than other professionals, earn relatively the same or less benefits than other professionals, and be shown disrespect by children, their parents, school board members, and your administrators on a regular basis. And if you want to live and work in DuPage county, good luck qualifying for that mortgage.