Sunday, July 25, 2010

Using bad math to snark about teacher's salaries.

Recently a friend (and a teacher) of mine posted a link to this note on Fbook (warning this and/or my following comments my tick you off. Read at your own peril.


Are you sick of highly paid teachers? Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. 
That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan -- that equals 6 1/2 hours). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. 

Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. LET'S SEE.... That's $585 X 180 = $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). 

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year. 

Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! 
There sure is! 
The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students = $9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!! 

I call BULLSH*T!!!   I have to say I'm pretty irritated with this.  Teacher salaries, pensions, and benefits are important, yes, but they should not be misrepresented. I'm tired of EVERYONE who whines about what they make. They chose the profession and knew the go ingrate. If you didn't you're too dumb to be a teacher. Seriously.

Here is my 1st response:
"It is a valid point, BUT not all teachers are worth even that. (had some pretty bad ones in my time and with my kids) 
And the problem isn't with the teachers it's with the bureaucrats who choose the curricula and the standards. Sorry but I HATE they way our elementary schools are teaching many of the subjects. And I HATE the "participation" trophy ideal that they are shoving down our kids throats. Not to mention teaching global warming as fact (it's still a theory, just like evolution, or any other creation explanation) and turning all our kids into little recycling czars who poo poo their parents for driving mini-vans not hybrids. blech!
I don't take issue with the rate of pay teachers get, I take issue with the free or nearly free pensions, the unionized "guaranteed by law" pay raises, and the benefits that last till they die. VERY few other industries give pensions anymore because they have realized how cost prohibitive it is and they are a major reason states like California and Illinois will probably be bankrupt in 2 years if not sooner."
OP (original poster)'s reply:
"Nichol, I definitely respect your opinion but I am sticking to my huge agreement with the link! I can not think of another profession that requires a master's degree, a year of unpaid internship (student teaching), and then expects a person to work 60+ hours per week for such little pay."
My 2nd response:
"How about the entry level business management positions where you have to intern in college after your mba and get a salaried job for under 40K and work 80+ hour a week? (real life example of a friend of mine back east)
Or how about my job?? I don't get paid ANYTHING!!! Sorry. Salaried means you don't make minimum hourly wage. That's the definition of salary. It also means it's a guaranteed wage. Something that hourly people usually can't count on unless they have a contract which very few do.
Teachers don't have it that bad. Oh and let's not forget that it is their choice to be one. No one is forcing you to do it. You could have been anything you wanted when you choice your career.
I know I may sound like a callous bitch, but I'm really tired of people whining about "the lot their given" when they've chosen much of what they are experiencing."
Friend of OP's comment:
"On top of the masters degree and unpaid internship, wr also have to continue to pay out of our pocket for graduate level courses to maintain our license. Does an MBA have to fork over another 10k for tuition and books within 3 years of graduating while still paying on their student loans so they can keep their job?"
My last reply:
"So do RNs, ask my mom. And she makes about the same as most teachers (less than 50K though) and she has to pay out of pocket for her CEUs....Like I said before YOU CHOSE this knowing what the pay scale is.

I do think that there should be more of "clinical" type structure for teachers to go from students to certified. More like RNs do. No one should have to work for free, unless they really want to. (i.e. volunteering out of compassion not force)

Don't get me wrong I value what you do. I appreciate all the work that the teachers my children have had have put in. I really do. And everyone wants to get paid more, but I'm tired of hearing that the answer to our educational system's problems are that teachers need to be paid more. And salaried jobs are sucky like that. Marc was salaried (my husband) at far less than the average teacher makes and put in 60-70 hours a week. Much of which was traveling far away from his family.

Also the math is skewed. Daycare center workers DO NOT get paid per kid. They get paid HOURLY. If we are paying teachers just for the job of babysitting then we should only pay them for their contact hours. At 175 days for the 2010-11 school year in Beaverton and 8 hours a day with a PAID lunch that's 1400 hours for the year. At $7.75 per HOUR (not per kid) That comes to $10,850 a year. Far less than the average teacher makes. For s&gs let's add in another 10 hours a week for prep time and for all those pesky grading days. 250 hours comes to another $1937.50 for a grand total of $12,787.50
Let's look at the average in home daycare next. Most get paid per kid, per week (not hourly) at about $1-200 per week. Average around $125 per week, with having to provide lunches and snacks, their own toys, books, supplies for crafts etc. If they have 4-5 kids (usually the limit for state certification for the average home) then they will make about $75 per week per kid after food for a total of about $375 per week. At the same number of contact hours for a teacher of 25 weeks that comes to about $9,375 a year.

So sure I'll pay you minimum wage. It will save me a ton on my taxes."

So my final opinion (yes it is an opinion and you can agree to disagree, this is MY blog after all) is that teachers get paid plenty, that it isn't the amount they are paid that is the problem with our schools, it is lack of parental involvement, bad curriculum choices, energy spent on BS topics (like global warming), bureaucratic waste, useless testing, and union bullying of states that are the real issues with the US educational system. Unfunded pensions are bankrupting our states and our children aren't doing any better than they were before No Child Left Behind (dumbest legislation ever). 

School choice (vouchers), more parental involvement (incentivized if necessary), and back to basic curricula could help.  Oh and how about NOT throwing away perfectly good school supplies???

1 comment:

  1. Like with every profession out there I think that some are over paid and others are underpaid. There are teachers that just go through the motions and couldn't care less about the students...I hate them... there are others who would give their arm to teach a child something properly and I think they deserve raises. (I've had very very very few teachers in my life make a huge impact but the ones that did I truly value).

    However, I do agree that when going into a profession you KNOW what your pay scale is. You can't complain about going to school for something, interning, and whatever and then you find out your wages. You know ALL that before you even get to decide a major in college. If you didn't, too bad for you. YOUR mistake.