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November 02, 2011

Shock Study: The Average Teacher Is Not Being Underpaid, and Is Being Paid More By Government Than They Would Be Paid In the Private Sector If They Took Their Skills To That Market

B-b-but! Everyone knows!

We're all supposed to pretend to believe Teachers should be paid as much as doctors or lawyers and We want to pay teachers so much that it will induce the "best and brightest" to seek jobs in teaching!

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have "the best and brightest" working on cures for cancer and designing skyscrapers and leading a SEAL Team.

I'd rather have people a couple of steps under "the best and brightest" teaching second graders their times tables. I think that's probably the most efficient use of limited "best and brightest" resources.

I say these things not because I hate teachers but because I hate thoughtless political sloganeering, so daft as to verge on lies, all designed for the purpose not of "educating our children" but in ever jacking up government union workers' salaries.

I'm especially disgusted at the "we have to pay teachers enough to attract stellar new talent to the profession" lie. Let's think this through: If I want to engineer a system of pay such that I will attract the top people graduating every year, I'll be stealing them from law, medicine, and business; so first things first, I have to ask, "Do I want them diverted to teaching? And if they do divert to the teaching profession, where will the current teachers go? Will it be a straight swap where they now enter law, medicine, and business and engineering?"

But I already covered that.

The bigger question is, "If I'm going to be jacking up salaries specifically to lure new, super-qualified, top-dollar go-getters into the teaching profession, why does every such scheme include the provision that the currently serving teacher core -- not the "best and brightest," according to even their own political sloganeering -- also gets this top-flight salary?"

Does that make sense? They're willing to do the job now at $65,000 p.a. or whatever but we're now going to pay them... $130,000 to do the same job?

If this bonanza of salary is supposed to lure new teachers, why don't we restrict it to new teachers, and specifically the sort of new teacher we supposedly want, i.e., best and brightest?

Gee, seems to me this "pay teachers more to bring better teachers into the profession" scheme just coincidentally winds up paying the old teachers higher salaries, and those are the very teachers this particular political slogan impliedly deems second-rate and in need of an uprgrade.

Anyway, the article:

“The idea that teachers are constantly tempted by the promised pay in the private sector and that its very difficult for them to remain as teachers,” said Jason Richwine, co-author from The Heritage Foundation, “that is true for some teachers, but for average teacher it’s not true.”

The study is already facing criticism from education groups. Kim Anderson, advocacy director for the National Education Association, a labor union representing over three million public school employees, said she questions the reliability of the research.

“Talented individuals turn away from this rewarding profession because they are forced to choose between making a difference in the lives of students and providing for their families,” Anderson said. “Does AEI honestly purport that paying teachers even less will help raise the quality of teaching in American’s schools?”

That's not the study's claim. The study merely debunks the Teachers Unions claim that paying teachers more will suddenly make them better at their job (or else attract sterling new talent to the field, and, once again, why not then restrict that sterling new pay scale specifically for the sterling new talent it's designed to attract?).

According to the study, workers who become teachers see a wage increase of roughly 9 percent, while teachers who switch to non-teaching jobs see their wages decrease by about 3 percent. Public school teachers, the research says, also earn higher wages than private school teachers.

“This is the opposite of what one would expect if teachers were underpaid,” Richwine and co-author Andrew Biggs, of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote.

The authors argue that public school teachers have greater job security and more generous benefits than other workers of their caliber, bringing even greater value to their jobs.

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posted by Ace at 12:56 PM

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