Theodore's World: To Surly, With Love: Are Teachers Overpaid? See Video and You Decide!!

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March 04, 2011

To Surly, With Love: Are Teachers Overpaid? See Video and You Decide!!

"To Surly, With Love" was written and produced by Nick Gillespie and Meredith Bragg.

To Surly, With Love: Are Teachers Overpaid?

According to Department of Education statistics, in 2007-2008 (the latest year available), full-time public school teachers across the country made an average of $53,230 in "total school-year and summer earned income." That compares favorably to the $39,690 that private school teachers pulled down.

And when it comes to retirement benefits, public school teachers do better than average too. According to EducationNext, government employer contribute the equivalent of 14.6 percent of salary to retirement benefits for public school teachers. That compares to 10.4 for private-sector professionals.

Those levels of compensation help explain why per-pupil school costs have risen substantially over the past 50 years. In 1960-61, public schools spent $2,769 per student, a figure that now totals over $10,000 in real, inflation-adjusted dollars. Among the things that threefold-plus increase in spending has purchased are more teachers per student. In 1960, the student-teacher ratio in public schools was 25.8; it's now at a historic low of 15.

Among the things all that money hasn't bought? Parental satisfaction, for one. Despite public teachers' much-higher salaries, parents with school-age children in public schools report substantially lower satisfaction rates than parents with children in private schools. In 2007, the percentage of parents with children in assigned public schools who were "very satisfied" with the institution was 52 percent. For parents whose children attended public schools of choice, that figure rose to 62 percent. Parents sending their children to private schools, whether religious or non-sectarian, were "very satisfied" 79 percent of the time.

It's little wonder that parents with little or no choice report the lowest-levels of satisfaction (about 90 percent of K-12 students attend public schools). Despite all the extra resources devoted to public school teachers and students, student achievement has been absolutely flat over the past 40 years. The National Assessment of Educational Progress is "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas." When it comes to 17-year-old students (effectively, high-school seniors), nothing has changed since reporting began in the early 1970s. In 1971, 17-year-old students averaged 285 points (out of 500) in reading. In 2008, that had risen to 286. For math in 1973, the average score was 304 (out of 500). In 2008, it was 306.

Public school teachers make about $14,000 a year more in straight salary than private school teachers; when you add in benefits, the gap widens even more. They teach fewer students than ever before and taxpayers at all levels spend increasing amounts of money on education. Yet for all that, the best you can say is that we're spending more than three times as much money as we were 40 years ago for exactly the same outcomes.

The National Governors Association says that states are looking at $175 billion in shortfalls over the next two years. Local governments are in the red too. As legislators look for places to cut or reduce spending, there's no question that public school teachers have a lot to lose in terms of compensation.

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.


Wild Thing's comment........

Given the test scores of the children they are supposed to be ‘teaching’ I would suggest they are grossly overpaid.

Let's see......get summers off, spring break, winter break, snow days, holidays etc.

I realize many teachers have to teach in rough schools and be baby-sitters, but many of them have it made compared to people who work in the private sector.

And then there is the agenda of the left that is being taught in public schools! GRRRRRR, the way they have been having same sex day in gradeschool OMG, and tributes to Islam day and tours to mosques, and teaching about sex to 5 and 6 year olds.. The list would be long if we sat here and thought back on every time we are outraged at what is being taught and what is NOT being taught. Then there are student teachers who take over the classrooms for a couple of months, when the teachers do absolutely nothing.

Interesting to note too that Private schools, charter schools all pay significantly less. And, do better.

IMO.....The most , number one underpaid job in this Country, is the one fulfilled by those serving in our military.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 4, 2011 05:45 AM


I sure hate to have a lack of respect for teachers. However, after seeing news clips of various teachers unions around the country and the viciousness of their protests it is difficult to automatically have that respect. Education is certainly different today than it was in the 50's/60's.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at March 4, 2011 11:38 AM

We're Christians that believe in QUALITY educations so we paid for parochial schooling from 1992-2006, and received what we paid for. Now our son is going to be a Christian Protestant college youth minister, and we are blessed we got what we PAID for. Sorry 'PUB LICK SKOOLZ"!
There are a FEW quality public schools out there, but not many!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at March 4, 2011 11:58 AM

It’s almost hilarious the knock people are putting on Teachers, like its all their fault, yeah sure it is. Let’s
Call a spade a spade. First a Teachers position requires at least a Bachelors degree and now most good
Schools require a Masters..52,000 a year is a pretty low wage for that kind of Education.. Now then
Politicians would keep their nose out of education and let the Board of Education do their job things would
No doubt improve.. No Child Left Behind will go down as the worst piece of Government interference ever.
As in California the state board of education says just what will be taught not the Teachers Union and it flows down the line till it hit’s the class room.. Since NCLB the Teacher has little wiggle room as to what and how it is taught.
Now let’s see what our teacher has to deal with.. Right off out of date Textbooks. In the first and second grade children not up to speed on reading
and Numbers. Whose job was and is that, could it be the parents that were to busy to teach their kids the first five years of their life.. Then we have an ever increasing number of ADD, ADHD, Autistic children.
Add to that ESL or English second language students and that can mean4 or 5 aides in the class room along
With the Teacher. Then we have discipline problems that were never allowed when I was a kid.. That is why there is a Police officer at most Middle and High Schools..

Why are Charter and private schools so full
That there is a lottery to get in. First and formost No NCLB “period” Education is key, you can’t cut it you
Get bounced.. NO bullying, do it your history, Dress code, politeness and manners along with “ Mandatory
Parent involvement no exceptions!. There are outstanding public schools and Teachers and one of the reasons is 100% parent involvement..

We have Educated our competition sad to
Say. Foreign students come to America and attend our best schools attain their PhD’s go home to their country and spank our a$$. 690,000 Foreign students came to America this past year and will go home in about 8 years as Engineers scientist and as I said spank our a$$. Question when are Parents going to do
What is best for their kids,take away the video games and TV’s and all their goofing around and help them
Learn..School has gotten so tough that parents are going to tutoring camp to learn how to help with home work…Who you gona call???
A really good read is “ Man Down” it’s
On how women are blowing the sox off men all across the job market. Girls and women are doing far
Better in school and college than men..The America alpha male has been Neutered…

Posted by: gator at March 4, 2011 06:17 PM

Thank you for all your input, I really appreciate it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 5, 2011 02:41 AM