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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Sick of highly paid teachers? Here's what to do

By Valerie Strauss

Here’s a post from an unknown author that has become popular with teachers on Facebook. It speaks for itself.

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 - babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3 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 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 (nationwide) 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!!!!


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By Valerie Strauss  | February 24, 2011; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Laugh and cry, Teachers  | Tags:  Are you sick of highly paid teachers?  
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Next: The "three great teachers in a row" myth

Comments

What does it cost to pay teachers? (financial groups, accountants, and banks)
What does it take to give them a place to teach? (buildings, water, electricity, AC/Heat)
How much for their parking?
How much of their education was paid for by tax dollars?

Stupid games...I understand what they are saying but before adding up as if in a vacuum...well it is not tough to see what is in the vacuum.

Posted by: jbeeler | February 24, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

How much do the el/hi coaches make? Can't we do with fewer of them? Why do they get free lunch while teachers are paying for theirs? Do we really need incentive pay for bi-lingual teachers? Do we really need to make all those copies for students? Couldn't they copy problems, etc. in their notebooks like we did years ago? Just asking.

Posted by: jawst2 | February 24, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...as an art teacher...I see approximately 100 kids a day, 5 days a week @ $30 per hour for art lessons (I only see them for 40 min...but all the supplies are included)....is $3000 a day...or $15,000 a week. We teach 183 days (work 195)....@ 183 X $3000 = $549,000


Posted by: ilcn | February 24, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Funny how so much of what you print is straight of the pages of acpsunderground.blogspot.com

Posted by: bradfartner | February 24, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

This is fun... now lets calculate how much the taxpayers actually pay!

$10,000 (per pupil expenditures)/180 (days) = $55.5/day. 55.5/6.5 (hours per day) = $8.53 per hour.

To review- the average teacher gets paid $1.42/hour to do something that taxpayers pay $8.53/hour to provide.

Clearly it is the high teacher salaries that are bankrupting the states!

Posted by: someguy100 | February 24, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

jaws, you are going to see that soon. I attended a local city council meeting yesterday. Many of the things kids want most are going away. Why?

We let all those lobbyists tell us our children needed safety training, bullying training, global training, and the list goes on. Add all those up and the core classes dissolve. Since we cannot remove the add-ons, then sports, arts, music, and others will go away.

Posted by: jbeeler | February 24, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

someguy100 -- you think you made a joke, eh? The joke is on us, because there are also the big pensions, bolstered by the job security that many public employees enjoy.

Posted by: axolotl | February 24, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

a teacher retiring @ 55 with 30 years in the job, with a COLAed $35,000 pension - that's an eight figure bonus. Not counting the value of the health insurance.
not saying good or bad, but to leave it off the table when discussing teacher compensation is silly.
it weakens the argument that teachers are underpaid. all things counted, as they do in the private sector, teachers are well paid.

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 24, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Teachers are not that well paid at all. In fact, I can't figure out why anyone would even want to be a teacher. It's a bad economic choice, and it's filled with nothing but dealing with people too stupid to do more than scrape their way out of HS (if that) only to breed more idiots doomed to minimum wage.

Posted by: Nymous | February 24, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Whats so funny about this if parents actually paid the $19.50 a day they would be rioting in the streets because their taxes would have gone up dramatically.

Posted by: crete | February 24, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows that teachers are underpaid, period. If teachers were highly paid and wealthy, like CEOs, we would be arguing for them to get big tax breaks. Teachers wouldn't need a union if they were paid like CEOs. CEOs who manage to run their companies into the ground are even awarded big bonuses and given government handouts.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | February 24, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I dont have any kids. Why should I pay for your meathead to fail out?

Posted by: ASW02 | February 24, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Why have teachers in most local jurisdictions received raises each of the past four years when many other public sector employees have had no raises, been furloughed, and faced higher costs for health benefits? And when many private sector employees have been laid off, had no raises, and been working longer hours for less pay?

Why should teachers be immune from the economic currents that affect the rest of us?

Why do teachers think they deserve better than the rest of us, paid for by the rest of us?

Posted by: asdf2 | February 24, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

To make as much as teachers earn in nine or ten months a professional athlete has to work for an entire day.

Posted by: hurleyvision | February 25, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes, many clever folks have thought this one up. I pay more per hour for my 3-year-old to be in child care than I get per student per hour.

http://speakingofeducation.blogspot.com/

Posted by: speakingofeducation | February 25, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

To make as much as teachers earn in nine or ten months the median worker in the United States has to work about fourteen or sixteen months.

Posted by: asdf2 | February 25, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Is this the new obama accounting?

like "saved" or "created" jobs....

teachers get paid for baby sitting? or teaching?

liberal logic, just out there.

Posted by: docwhocuts | February 25, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Clearly most teachers appreciate this... but then again most teachers have a very poor grasp of economics and math.

Anyways, I'm not saying that teachers are overpaid; pay should be commensurate to what the market dictates you should be paid based on your skills and the availability of others to do your job at higher or lower wages. Higher pay then allows the employer to attract, if they choose to retain, higher quality candidates.

I will say that I feel that a large number of teachers I have had (K-12 primarily) have done a very poor job with their teaching.

Posted by: quandary87 | February 25, 2011 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Anyone on this comment section who has commented negatively about teacher pay has never been a teacher. I have worked in both the private, government sector, and teaching. If you have done all three and comment negatively, I will certainly have to give you credit.

I have seen so many engineers, brawny military men, Yalies, etc. do the career switcher thing and get eaten alive, especially in Title I schools. And if you say, well these kids are failing anyway, so we don't need the teachers. Imagine this. Thousands upon thousands of low income adolescents not being able to read at ALL, not even the word "the", and ALWAYS having to count on their fingers! You say, well, their parents can teach them. Heh, heh, heh. Be careful for what you wish for.

There are some bad teachers, but a great teacher is worth Fort Knox. They can turn a whole group of bound to be hoodrats into remarkable individuals. Be careful what you say without experiencing it.

Posted by: Playitagainsam | February 25, 2011 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Someguy100: you are not a math or econ teacher, right? Where in the world do you get your data -- an "average" teacher is paid $1.42 per hour??? What are you doing --- dividing a yearly salary by 6000 hours?

I have no comment on whether, where you work, teacher pay is "fair" or not. But the argument you are trying to make is weakened to the point of frivolousness when you intentionally skew or even make up phony data. Second, you are comparing your school districts revenues per pupil with some fictional teacher wage, when the comparison, if made, needs to be between the total revenues received by the school district vs. the total costs of the school district (of which teacher salaries are but one component). Costs of captial equipment and plant do not stop after 180 days. What is the value of your benefits? Do they stop after 180 days? How much goes for overhead staff?

Oh, and the poster who calculates his or her value based on providing "art lessons" at $30 per hour: if society thought the service you provide was worth $500K+, you'd be a wealthy person with your own private art school, not dependent on taxpayers. But the fact is you are providing a service that is pretty much valued by society at the wage you make. You are always free to leave the school system and start your own business. There are plenty of waiters and waitresses, art majors all, waiting to take you place.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | February 25, 2011 5:16 AM | Report abuse

So ... My wife is a teacher. She has a Civil Engineering BS and is certified by the state of NC to teach High School math. She makes about $35K per year. Overpaid? WTF? That 180 days per year figure is highly misleading. Teachers actually work on their teacher work days. Those are the days they cram all the administrative crap that it is impossible to do during the normal work week. Plus she brings home work every night and most weekends. Saying teachers are overpaid is ridiculous, even if you are making a point.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 6:56 AM | Report abuse

"I will say that I feel that a large number of teachers I have had (K-12 primarily) have done a very poor job with their teaching."

I don't know about you, but I taught my daughters to read and do basic math (yes before kindergarten). We also foster an environment of learning in our home. What do I get for that? Both of my daughters are in all advanced classes and make the honor roll every year. What is the point? Education starts at home. If your kid is underachieving, look in the mirror. It is about time we stopped blaming teachers for our children's failures and own up to the fact that we do a lousy job encouraging and supporting our children academically.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 7:03 AM | Report abuse

"I dont have any kids. Why should I pay for your meathead to fail out?"

Good question. Education is an investment in your economy like any other piece of infrastructure. Why do China and India currently have booming economies? They invested heavily in education. Why did the tech boom happen that created great companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook? Largely because Clinton made cheap Pell grants and student loans readily available. The bottom line is if you want a thriving economy, you will invest in education to keep yourself employed even though you have no children.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

This escalating issue is simply not about union representation and/or bargaining, it is not about the other point as with federal workers the various unions have to represent them whether they pay union dues or not. Instead there is a simple argument put forth by various and numerous Republican/Tea Party/Fundamentalist groups that any union in this country is a bad union filled with greedy worker with extravagant wages and benefit plans. And yet most Americans of non union households have little idea of what the actual work that one union member does to receive his/her pay and benefits each year.
After I completed my second tour of combat in VN, I failed out of the U of MD in 1970-71, worked for brief periods as a library aide, drove tanker semi for ESSO, and then complete and electrical workers (union) apprenticeship) and went on to work on jobs from large shopping centers to nuclear power houses - actually a job that my father had worked for many years. My mother was a telephone operator recruited by AT&T following her service in the same position in WW II. My sisters and I know the pros and cons of our fathers union membership. For years the IBEW had little negotiating power but that would change in time but all along his pay and benefits while good kept us at the middle class level of American society - comfortable but certainly not rich. The qualifier for our father was once a job was completed he could go out of town to work through another union or if not he would have to draw unemployment until another job came to be.
For years there was always competition from the non union contractors who would attempt to outbid for a job but in general could not produce the quality of electrician that a 4 year apprenticeship had produced. In time they too would develop their own (ABC training program in order to better compete) but overall the union worker was better qualified and experienced.
For myself I left the work after 14 years for a number of reasons related to my VN service and was awarded educational benefits through the VA for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. With such education I have spent nearly 25 years providing years of service to combat veterans having PTSD from either combat, sexual trauma or both. For a short period I did belong to the govt workers union who did negotiate for most workers a healthy benefit package with the pay status needing congress' approval.
I also remember my grandfather who worked the W.VA coal fields having done so in Ireland in earlier years, telling me of the danger of coal mine work - esp in the deep shafts of which W.VA had many. He spoke of the deaths, of the long term, chronic injuries that came forth - Black Lung Disease, but in time with union representation in many work camps good pay and benefits and no longer would the worker owe his soul to the company store as Ernie Ford sang years later. But many men, women, and children were killed and injured by the owners of companies.

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | February 25, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

"To make as much as teachers earn in nine or ten months the median worker in the United States has to work about fourteen or sixteen months."

Teachers have college degrees. They are professionals, not average workers. Compare teachers to engineers and lawyers and see what you come up with.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I believe the author fails to recognize the economies of scale in babysitting. I would assume there is a markup for retail sitters who have to make house calls. Let's assume sitters who can make use of large public buildings with public resources would have to command a lower premium. Otherwise, the teacher would have to invite all the students to his or her house and start having considerable overhead.

Additionally, if we are to play with this silly analogy, let us recognize that babysitters often do not get pension and health insurance coverage. I have no problem with teacher salaries of $100-$200k as stated in the analogy, but let's then take the benefits away, right?

Furthermore, given the poor performance of American children in global standings the likelihood of your child being educated by this teacher/sitter is actually very low. The analogy, rather then ending with "they even educate your kids," should probably hold a qualifier like "if you are really lucky." So we can try to build on the analogy and try to put in some sort of annual measure of success and effectiveness of the teacher/sitter to isolate who actually deserves a premium. The analogy, much like how the education system works in real life, assumes that if you have advanced degrees you must be really successful and effective. Perhaps we can adjust the analogy (because we are talking about a silly analogy in a made up world) to include this incentive to pay the teacher/sitter for performance.

Oh, and let's not forget, parents have the right (or luxury!) to pick and choose their sitters and terminate them at will.

In conclusion, this analogy is silly and I can see why this poster is popular with teachers. It happily reinforces a feeling of entitlement and privilege for a section of Americans who want isolate themselves from the changing world around them.

Bravo!

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Holy crap curmudgeon, I hope you're not an English teacher! The $1.42 figure came from Ms. Strauss' original blog post!

Posted by: someguy100 | February 25, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"Furthermore, given the poor performance of American children in global standings the likelihood of your child being educated by this teacher/sitter is actually very low. "

You realize of course we are #47 in education spending as a percent of GDP right? Our performance is actually better than what we spend.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Also, its funny that when the market is up and everyone's 401(k) is sky high, people don't complain about teachers being "immune to the currents that affect the rest of us"

Posted by: someguy100 | February 25, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

To hdmig:

You realize of course we are #47 in education spending as a percent of GDP right? Our performance is actually better than what we spend.

And Japan is #97 and Cuba is #1 (from UN Human Development Programme)...

What's the correlation between spending and performance?

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"What's the correlation between spending and performance?"

That we perform better than expected based on how we prioritize education. Japan is a different case with an aging population and homogeneous student body, they can get away with spending less.


Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

We could also eliminate poorly performing and special ed students from public ed to boost our performance numbers like other countries do, but we don't because we have democratic principles. In short, our test scores are a reflection on our society and not our teachers.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

We could also eliminate poorly performing and special ed students from public ed to boost our performance numbers like other countries do, but we don't because we have democratic principles. In short, our test scores are a reflection on our society and not our teachers.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Wow. This does reflect how delicate this one issue is. It is like many [if not all] of the other issues regarding public monies -- getting our monies' worth. No one wants to pay more taxes in a time when it is so diffuclt to make ends meet. Yet, in order to maintain all of the services we have come to depend upon.
Teachers do indeed work more than the contrived scenario mentioned originally. It was set up just to show on a simplistic level how little they are payed -- which we can all probably do with our jobs. Sometimes that set-up draws attention and discussion, as it has here. Yes, if we take into account their whole package, not just salary, it does become a little more.
The issues are compounded when we talk about failing schools. Whose fault? When children are in school, it becomes the school's/teachers' fault, when in college it becomes the students' fault. What changes? So many teachers/schools today have to cut down on teaching time to instruct on manners, respect, social behavior, etc. Add to that an influx of non-English speaking pupils in some areas (especially smaller towns where resources are more scarce) and teacher and students both have to learn new ways to communicate. These are really not in their job descriptions (especially when parents do not agree - or want - that taught to their children).
Then when schools are tested and noted as failing, we do not see that we are getting our monies' worth and the issues of salary, what programs to cut, et al crop up. It is a vicious circle and a system that desperately needs to be re-tooled in order for all to succeed and for there to be fair recognition of our teachers and their work and worth to themselves, us, and our whole community).
Not an easy problem, but one that we need to truly sit down and address.

Posted by: bigeasyed1 | February 25, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

To hdmig:

That we perform better than expected based on how we prioritize education. Japan is a different case with an aging population and homogeneous student body, they can get away with spending less.

Top 10:
Cuba
Vanuatu
Lesotho
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Yemen
Brunei
Mongolia
Denmark
Guyana
Malaysia

Others of note:
Norway #14
Belgium #23
US #37
Austria #37
UK #46
Australia #58
Germany #66
South Korea #78

Curious why you opted to look at % of GDP given these results. Perhaps you meant % of GDP among OECD? Well that still looks troubling. Interesting.

Additionally, I see you use cultural arguments to support your claim on Japan. I dislike the sweeping nature of that retort, but I do recognize that homogeneous societies do muddy the debate. Of course, I assume you also recognize that is why health care spending in America is so high as well. When researchers at UPenn attempted to normalize for the health disparities it turns out the American health care system is far superior than our European neighbors.

If we assume homogeneity explains Japan, then how does that hold up for European countries with strong immigration?

Whether we like it or not there has been very weak correlations between levels of spending and success. This is why I was so confused that you started out with a % of GDP argument rather than relying on something more substantive.

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"It is like many [if not all] of the other issues regarding public monies -- getting our monies' worth"

But the data simply does not back up the premise that we spend too much on education. Health Care (#1 as a percent of GDP) and defense (as much as all of the other countries in the world combined) should be targets, but they are not due to large propaganda efforts.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Curious why you opted to look at % of GDP given these results. Perhaps you meant % of GDP among OECD? Well that still looks troubling. Interesting"

We spend less on education by any measure than we spend on health car or defense, yet we attack teachers. We rate where we do based on our priorities based on spending and equal opportunity. You stated our teachers just suck and are overpaid. Which theory seems more in line with reality?

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

To hdmig:

We spend less on education by any measure than we spend on health car or defense, yet we attack teachers. We rate where we do based on our priorities based on spending and equal opportunity. You stated our teachers just suck and are overpaid. Which theory seems more in line with reality?

I do not understand this comment. I make the case that spending has no correlation, and you respond about how we do not spend enough. Additionally, you claim I stated that "teachers just suck and are overpaid." Not once in my posts do I make that claim. Rather, I point out that the analogy is silly and that the reason it is so popular is because the audience it is written for has a disconnect with reality. It appears our correspondence further supports my hypothesis.

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"and you respond about how we do not spend enough"

Where exactly did I say we don't spend enough? I said that we rate where we do based on spending and equally opportunity. We can raise our ranking one of two ways. We can increase spending or you can eliminate some of the low scoring kids. Like singapore, japan, and all of the european countries do with a standardized test that will direct lower kids towards vocational training. The teachers do the best with what we hand them. If you didn't comment on how the k-12 teachers did poorly, it was someone else.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Another boring display of economic ignorance from Strauss here-- the marginal rate on babysitters doesn't increase linearly with the number of children. I can hire one babysitter to watch more than one kid.

The second, even more ridiculous, display of ignorance from Strauss. Let's say the $105,000 figure was right. The cost of fringe benefits is going to whack that down quite a bit. Figure $12,000 annually for health insurance, $1200 for dental, $6500 for employer portion of social security, and $300 for other benes. That takes us to about $20,000 year. It's likely much higher...

The hard part is, we have to price in the cost of the pension. Let's say they get 80% of the average of their three highest years (which we'll assume is a low $50k). If they start working when they are 24 and retire at 54, they will get a pension for approximately 25 years. If that's 40,000/yr x 25 years, we get $1M. Taking that divided by 30 years, with an assumed return of 3-5%, you need to set aside about $25,000/yr for the pension. In reality, the high years are likely much higher, and no one sets aside enough, and then the market doesn't return what you expect. All of a sudden, the state has to pull money out of the current budget to make up losses in the pension fund (maybe because the pension fund invested in something safe like General Motors bonds, but then the federal government changed the contracts behind their backs and gave the value of the company to another union.)

No one sensible objects to teachers getting market salaries. What most object to is dangerous liabilities, like defined benefit pensions, in the contracts they have strong armed through and the anachronistic union rules that mean pay and retention favors age over quality. As bad as many of the teacher evaluation measures are, relying on seniority is worse.

Posted by: staticvars | February 25, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"I dont have any kids. Why should I pay for your meathead to fail out?"

Interesting point. Let's see.

I didn't call the police this year - I shouldn't have to pay for a service I didn't use.

I didn't use the fire department this year - I shouldn't have to pay for a service I didn't use.

I didn't fly anywhere this year - I shouldn't have to pay for the FAA, air transport infrastructure - services I didn't use.

I have no children living at home - I shouldn't have to pay for schools, a service I didn't use.

Foolish? Of course. Reasonable people recognize these are shared expenses for the good of the community.

"For the good of the community". Remember that phrase? As a country we seem to have moved to "I have mine; the hell with everyone else".

Until there is a disaster, the loudest voices are trying to pull twigs from nests that are not their own.

"For the good of the community". Everyone benefits. My child is past K-12 age. I still derive benefit from my local school system. A great deal of the value of my home is based on location. And part of that is the local school system.

The builder of my house, in suburban Rochester, NY, built two copies of it in two other suburbs. One, six blocks and the other twelve blocks away.

Their first selling prices were withing $200 of each other.

Today, they are in different school districts. One, with a history of anti-education, is only worth 2/3 of mine. The third, in the city of Rochester, twelve blocks away, is worth 45%. The major differences are the local school systems.

Don't fall into the foolish trap that you only derive benefit from your local school system when you have children attending them.

Yes, I have been a teacher. I have a Master Degree in chemistry and another Masters in physics. I taught high school for 10 years. Several of those years, all my students scored 100% on the New York State Regents' Exam.

When I moved to a local manufacturer of photographic equipment and supplies, my salary doubled.

Don't tell me that teaching salaries are greater than private sector's!

Shared expense, shared benefit for the good of the community.

Think about it.

Posted by: mberke | February 25, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Um. What was the point of that rant? No one wants teachers working for $3 an hour.
The objection is teachers with starting salaries higher than professors (yes it's true), starting salaries in the $50,000s, free pensions, free healthcare, all at the tax payers expense and then the teacher's complain about not getting a paycheck for the summer. HELLO! Divide $50,000 or whatever your salary is now by 12. That's your monthly budget. Doesn't take an advanced degree to figure that one out.
I don't blame teachers for not wanting their benefits taken away; but I do mind them sticking up for a system that does not promote based on merit and a system in which teachers cannot be fired after a certain # of years of service. The union system does not reward good teachers.

Posted by: hebe1 | February 25, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

To: asdf2

"Why have teachers in most local jurisdictions received raises each of the past four years when many other public sector employees have had no raises, been furloughed, and faced higher costs for health benefits? And when many private sector employees have been laid off, had no raises, and been working longer hours for less pay?
Why should teachers be immune from the economic currents that affect the rest of us?
Why do teachers think they deserve better than the rest of us, paid for by the rest of us?"

In Montgomery County Schools, we have not had a raise in 3 years. Which school districts are you referring to? We have also had hundreds of layoffs in the past three years and we expect hundreds of more layoffs this year. It’s too bad you didn't receive a better education from your district. Maybe then you would not post your useless, unsubstantiated and just plain wrong information. Morons like you are the reason for the education spending cuts in Wisconsin and elsewhere. If you want your children to receive a decent education, then you need to pay enough to attract motivated, educated and talented teachers. I believe that is a concept from Adam Smith's "free market" that so many of the conservatives on this board and elsewhere seem woefully uninformed about.

Posted by: IndependentThinker10 | February 25, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Where is this magical district where I can start at 50k and not have to contribute to my pension and healthcare? I want to work there!

Posted by: someguy100 | February 25, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

You just can’t argue with people who think that they should be getting 8 dollars an hour in base salary for every hour and for each child that they baby-sit 30 at a time in a room, or who pretend that their 50k a year average base salary is all that they get when they also get 3 months paid vacation (where they invariably find additional paid work such as teaching summer school), almost free health insurance, defined-benefit with COLA pensions for life (and for their surviving spouses even after they die), retiree health benefits, in addition to Social Security and Medicare.

Posted by: jackintheboxjf | February 25, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

My kids went to one of the top public high schools in VA. I was appalled at the quality of the teachers, even in the IB program. I would have fired at least 50% of them. Maybe 10% deserved raises based on performance. The rest I wouldn't even pay $3 an hour to babysit. They're lucky to be employed.

Posted by: mickey4 | February 25, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

How dare you even bring up that teachers are overpaid. If anything, they're underpaid in VA and MD.

Teachers deal with:
*the ones who don't speak English
*rely on free & reduced lunch (which means they don't eat at home)
*aren't up to reading standards and never will be
*wear dirty clothes to school because their mothers are unfit
*have ADD, ADHD, special needs, possibly special needs if the parents would only sign off on the form
*kids who aren't bright and never will be
*principals and assistants with poor leadership skills
*parents who are either whiners, non-participants, or don't understand how hard it is to teach
*No Child Left Behind--you're responsible for scores if the kids can't speak English, are in special ed, are just plain dumb. Make miracles happen!

Go, ahead, sign up for this luxury job and deal with the haters who have no idea what it takes to be a teacher.

Posted by: ariesgirl4 | February 25, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Folks...forget the teacher's pay. Look at administration! I know a elementary school principal who works 11 months our of 12 and she is paid over $110K a year. This woman spent a whole 3 years in a classroom and decided she didn't want to be in a classroom, so she obtained an admin credential. This is a huge part of the problem. How about district superintendents? There's a super in my area who is paid a base of $250K plus perks that bring it to over $300K. That is a waste of $$$.

Posted by: kodonivan | February 25, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Also, many teachers have a Master's degree, which is more than many IT and government professionals in the DC metro have now.

Yeah, they're in it for the money and lousy pension they probably won't get.

Posted by: ariesgirl4 | February 25, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"Teachers have college degrees. They are professionals, not average workers. Compare teachers to engineers and lawyers and see what you come up with."
You would come up with people who are far more educated that a teacher. I believe they've made it mandatory finally that teachers need a Masters in Education. That's not in Math, Science, English, Social Studies, you know the things they teach.
The majority of the middle class have college degrees. I am actually over qualified to teach because I am a professor and have a doctorate. Not to toot my own horn, because it doesn't toot; colleges are cutting the programs I teach and starting salaries are only in the high $20,000s low $30,000s.
So why do teachers get starting salaries higher than professors? Teachers unions! Yes I was forced to be in a union as a professor and prior as a grad student but they did not represent me; they represented the other union members -communication workers of America -which had nothing to do with professors or grad students. Unions suck.

Posted by: hebe1 | February 25, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

hebe1 wrote

"Um. What was the point of that rant? No one wants teachers working for $3 an hour.
The objection is teachers with starting salaries higher than professors (yes it's true), starting salaries in the $50,000s, free pensions, free healthcare, all at the tax payers expense and then the teacher's complain about not getting a paycheck for the summer."

Not quite the whole story is it?

When I taught high school, my full time teaching position paid a great deal more than my ADJUNCT position at a local college. But I was still listed as a professor.

It is extremely "unprofessional" to make such a comparison. Something about "apples" and "oranges" says that comparing full time to part time work is illogical and "bending the truth to the point of breaking".

Don't do that. You should aspire to be better than that!

Posted by: mberke | February 25, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

To HDMIG:

Where exactly did I say we don't spend enough?

By making the comment that we "rate where we do based on our priorities based on spending." If I am questioning quality, which I am, you respond by saying we rate based on priorities based on spending. I do not believe it is a leap that you are advocating we do not spend enough (which you later elaborate further on).

Additionally, I was the one who questioned quality earlier, but I did not say all teachers suck and are overpaid. I was just pointing out that the author's analogy is silly and that in most professions, including being a babysitter, actual performance is used as a metric for compensation and termination. In most professions that is how it is done. People have hard jobs where they are expected to perform amidst uncertainties and external factors that they cannot completely control. Good faith measures are often taken to try and normalize for that. Compensation for performance does not necessarily have to be kids must score 100%, but rather one could institute a system that looks for scalable incremental improvement and/or efforts to normalize for the community they teach in. This would help the inner city teachers, who are often the ones who are truly underpaid and overburdened. Imagine the babysitter example. Babysitters for more troublesome children often do not receive less money (this is empirical evidence I am using...if there are statistics to the otherwise I am open to viewing it). However, this is both moot (the major unions to date have attempted to squash any attempt at reform on the matter) and non-germane to our discussion (which is about a silly analogy).

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Man, a lot of people criticizing my post without reading it

to restate: The original article estimates $1.42 per student hour for average teacher pay.

I estimate that schools are currently spending ~$8.50 per student hour to educate kids.

The point is to illustrate that MOST money spent in education does NOT got to teacher salaries (I understand that part of this chunk does go to benefits), so to rail against bloated teacher salaries bankrupting the states is more than a little misleading.

Posted by: someguy100 | February 25, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Spectacularly moronic.

If you go to the Virginia DOE site, you can see how they disburse their funds and how many teachers they have, which gives you the figure for how much teachers cost. From this you can derive the fact that it costs MUCH MORE than $105,000 a year to hire a teacher in Virginia. The teachers aren't getting that in cash, but their "fully loaded" rate for what it costs to employ them is HUGE.

Posted by: mucus99 | February 25, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

let's see, if the average cost of a new elementary school is $25M and it has a useful life of 25yrs- then teachers should pay taxpayers $1M a year in rent for the use of the premesis for their day-care business. if the elementary school has 16 teachers (2 for each grade, plus kindergarden, plus a couple extra), then that's $62,500 that each teacher should pay back to taxpayers each year in rent. oh, and then there's the rest of the school staff, maintenance, books, furniture, computers. etc- all those overhead costs that any business also has to bear, including a day-care business. add it all up and i'm sure that far from earning a profit of $100k/yr for each teacher, the business is well in the red. so in summary, this whole line of discussion is rediculous- it doesn't deal with the problems at hand, and it doesn't put forth any practical solutions.

Posted by: liam_c_oconnell | February 25, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Additionally, bravo to staticvars. He sums it up rather well.

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Your tax dollars are paying for the extras & that's why you think teachers make so much:

*Special ed teachers and lots of aides
*IT teachers (who can be contract positions)
*ESL teachers (illegal immigration working for you)
*Language teachers
*Tons of administrative positions (especially in LC)
*Athletic directors with aides

The wage of the average teacher is not the problem. It's the waste and additional programs around teaching.

Posted by: ariesgirl4 | February 25, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

staticvars wrote: The hard part is, we have to price in the cost of the pension. Let's say they get 80% of the average of their three highest years
________________________________________
I don't know where you live but I know of no state that pays that kind of pension. I teach in Montgomery Co. Maryland. I've taught for 35 years. Every year I receive a statement from the MD State Pension System. If I were to retire at the end of this year, my annual pension would be about 38% of the average of my 3 consecutive highest earning years. COLA's are limited to 3% no matter what happens to inflation. Even after 40 years, there will be little change in the amount of pension I will earn. I also pay over 5% of my income into the pension and that amount will soon rise to 7%.

The pension you describe probably doesn't exist.

Posted by: musiclady | February 25, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"You would come up with people who are far more educated that a teacher."

I thought that too. It is just not accurate for math and science teachers at the high school level. They are basically required to get a dual major of math/ed. It is not a strenuous as an engineering degree, but close for someone making $35K.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"I was just pointing out that the author's analogy is silly and that in most professions, including being a babysitter, actual performance is used as a metric for compensation and termination."

Totally inaccurate. My wife is a teacher. She gets evaluated like 5-6 times per year. Plus the grades of her students on standardized tests are used for raise/promotion (and yes, termination) purposes. To say teachers are never evaluated based on performance is bogus.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"So why do teachers get starting salaries higher than professors?"

My wife got a starting salary of $35K with a civil engineering degree and math/ed certification for HS. Her benefits are OK but nothing spectacular. How does that compare with a college prof?

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

To hdmig:

Totally inaccurate. My wife is a teacher. She gets evaluated like 5-6 times per year. Plus the grades of her students on standardized tests are used for raise/promotion (and yes, termination) purposes. To say teachers are never evaluated based on performance is bogus.

Again your posts mystify me. How is my statement inaccurate? I do not say teachers are never evaluated. Teachers are evaluated all the time, but for the overwhelming majority of public school teachers the evaluation plays a small role, if any, in compensation and termination. If your family has come upon a district that does things differently and links evaluations to compensation and termination directly, then great. I hope both your district and your family benefit. Please direct the other districts in America to do the same.

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Davidmsw@yahoo - thanks for telling us about the benefits of unions that you and your family have experienced.

I know from your past writings that you have been an avid fan of Michelle Rhee and her brand of school reform.

Please keep in mind that she and other reformers want to bust the unions, thus depriving people like your family from opportunities to enter and stay in the middle class, as you have done.

Posted by: efavorite | February 25, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"evaluation plays a small role, if any, in compensation and termination"

Do you mean because they can only get a 1-2% raise based on inflation (if they are giving them out at all that year)? The only way most teachers have of getting a bigger raise is board certification or a masters degree. That is by state law in most places and has nothing to do with unionization. So, yes in fact, performance has little to do with raises because we the people made it so.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

To hdmig:

Do you mean because they can only get a 1-2% raise based on inflation (if they are giving them out at all that year)? The only way most teachers have of getting a bigger raise is board certification or a masters degree. That is by state law in most places and has nothing to do with unionization. So, yes in fact, performance has little to do with raises because we the people made it so.

Agreed! So I assume you support reform?

Posted by: gopnubi | February 25, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Agreed! So I assume you support reform?"

If by reform you mean slashing the education budget and laying off teachers? Hell No!

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

mberk wrote:When I taught high school, my full time teaching position paid a great deal more than my ADJUNCT position at a local college. But I was still listed as a professor.

Yes, adjunct professors make between $1,500 and $3,000 per class. That is not a starting salary. The starting salray for professors is between high $20,000s and low $30,000s, which I stated in my email.
I was not comparing adjuncts to teachers. But you are correct that it's apples to oranges, teachers do not have anywhere near the education or research/writing abilities of professors.

Posted by: hebe1 | February 25, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"teachers do not have anywhere near the education or research/writing abilities of professors"

You are saying that $30K is an unfair starting salary? That it is way too high? Who makes less? Fast food workers?

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary - Full List

start mid-career
======= =========
Computer Engineering $61,200 $99,500
Civil Engineering $53,500 $93,400
Education $35,100 $54,900
Elementary Education $31,600 $44,400

My degree is in computer engineering. How are teachers overpaid again? Lets be real here. Your garbage man probably makes more than your kids Calculus teacher.

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I only have 3 comments because some of this is getting silly.

1. Be careful what you wish for.
2. You get what you pay for.
3. For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. Menken.

Posted by: altaego60 | February 25, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Q: What does a garbage man earn in chicago?
A: Private sector can pay $25 to $26 an hour being top scale.It will take 3 years to get there."

So top scale is $49K for a garbage man and according to the chart above most teachers get less than that.


Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

So convenient that the author LEFT OFF THE BENEFITS from the equation - the very problem with "collective bargaining" in the 21st century.

Monetize those buggers, paid for mainly by taxpayers, and you get the $2 MILLION ANNUITY that each teacher gets upon retiring at age 55.

Posted by: SamRon1 | February 25, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"So convenient that the author LEFT OFF THE BENEFITS from the equation"

So, renegotiate with the union based on the current state of the economy. Isn't that how it works? Why is dissolving the union even on the table? Is the govenor afraid to negotiate?

Posted by: hdimig | February 25, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Teachers make more than enough money.

1) 9-10 month work year w/ mandatory vacations, i.e holidays, breaks, etc.
2) Job security - achieve tenure in 2 or 3 years and you can work there forever - private sector we need to look for a new job every 2 to 3 years
3) Benefits - pensions and insurance after retirement do not exist in private sector

Unions have made it difficult to remove the underperforming teachers making it difficult to improve the overall quality of education while costs continue to rise. Competitive individuals seek at-will employment to get paid a competitive wage. If a teachers feels they are worth more, join the private sector and demonstrate your worth rather than hide behind a union that promotes mediocrity.

Posted by: bignoffs | February 25, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Money matters:

in the '90's are supply-side economic idea (reagan) that was also referred to as trickle-down was implemented.

Today we have a huge gap in wealth indicating that most of America's wealth is held by a very small, but powerful individuals or corporations.

See, it didn't work, now did it?

so while the teachers might be valuable, the message is that the nation's elite have other ideas for our country. Ideas contrary to the egalitarian "policies" that America tends to purport.

Ideas that include hoarding, ideas that do not include bright, educated americans.

so what are they up to ?

I'd sure like to know.

It would seem that they are very afraid of being insignificant, so the money boosts thier self-esteem.

That works well for the old codgers, sandbagging all that dough.

What it doesn't do is actually think of a better future, and instead says, "meh, let them all be dumb as sticks".


That's how supply-side economics REALLY works.

(Hint: it doesn't)

Posted by: pgibson1 | February 25, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

bignoffs:

Do you know a teacher? Then, you don't know what you're talking about. Only Pennsylvania truly has a union that pushes for the rights of the teachers. VA and MD have weak unions and there is no job security any more with NCLB.

But, I'm sure the local schools would love to have more parent volunteers and then you can enjoy how difficult it is to teach a class of 25 kids with discipline, learning, and social problems.

Pensions and insurance exist in the private sector but to differing degrees. Loudoun County teachers pay into their retirement and portions of their health care. Trust me, there is no free ride.

Teachers work hard to educate the children of American and the lack of disrespect from you and the other haters is disgusting.

Posted by: ariesgirl4 | February 25, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

People have said much about a parent's role in a child's education. However, I would like to bring up that my maternal grandmother had a 4th grade education and could barely read and my grandfather kept 2 jobs. However, all of my uncles and aunts were highly educated people. My mother was even a professor. So she obviously didn't learn much at home, since one parent couldn't read and the other was always working. Hmmm, I wonder how she became a professor. I wonder if her teachers taught her anything at all. I guess schools had different standards back in those days.

Posted by: forgetthis | February 25, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Thought Experiment:

Ignore tax revenue, a depressed economy, collective bargaining, unions, standardized tests, etc.

What is the value of a teacher's service and how much should they be paid to produce that value?

A 1st grade teacher teaches 25 students how to read a year (amongst many, many other things). Over the course of a 30 year career, that one teacher has taught, or least contributed to, 750 people being able to read. How much is that worth to society?

Has that teacher produced the same value as someone in the private sector who spent 30 years selling cars?

Should a teacher be paid the same wages as a garbage man? or a lawyer? or a secretary?

What is a literate society of citizens and consumers worth and how should the people who create literacy, numeracy, citizenship,etc, etc, be compensated for their service?

How should teachers be viewed by the public, who ultimately benefit from their product, whether or not they have children?

Posted by: limnetic792 | February 25, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

When I finish my teached ed program next year, I will have 3 degrees: an MA in Education and two subject area BAs, one of which is in Math. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to undergrad, an assistantship with a pathetic stipend of $1500/semester for grad school, and my parents gave me some money for living expenses because my family is decently well off while I complete my degree. Without these things, I would be in debt headed for a starting salary of something around $30k a year(if someone can tell me where this 50k a year starting salary district is, please do and I will go there). From an economic standpoint, I'm an idiot. I should have just gotten a BA in computer science and gone out and got myself a decent paying job.

Why would I or anyone else do this? The people who go into teaching do so because they are passionate about teaching and education.

One of my friends is a music teacher at a high school. One of the things he does is direct the pep band which plays at sporting events. How much does he get paid per year to do this, which is not part of his job and considered an extracurricular activity? Nothing. Now, he could have told the school "screw you guys, I'm not doing this if you won't pay me," but he didn't. Why? Because his students love having a pep band and he is dedicated to his students.

These are the kind of people I encounter over and over again in education. The teachers I know plan extensively because they want their students to succeed. You don't just walk into the classroom and pull a lesson out of your ass if you want to be effective. They spend their own money on things to enhance their classroom that the school won't give them money for. One teacher I know who works with "last chance" kids spent over $1000 of her own money to get her dog trained to go into school and interact with her students. It works incredibly well and the students love it, but she paid for it herself. She believes it is worth it if it will help her students succeed, even if she had to pay for it herself.

This is where our good teachers come from. They are people willing to take pay inferior to what they could get doing something else in most cases(and especially in math and science) and willing to put their own time and resources into creating the best environment for their students above and beyond what their contracts say.

It's great that we have these people, but how many of them can we find? If you work your 6.5 hour day, go home and do 1.5 hours of planning, and spend your summers and weekends chilling, you won't be a great teacher. You have to be dedicated in the face of adversity and no support.

Of course, teachers are overpaid and overrated. Fire them all and cut their pay! Imagine how attractive this must sound to our best and brightest in comparison to becomes programmers.

We get the education we pay for.

Posted by: Madma | February 25, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Teacher salary is a worthless and meaningless piece of trivia. To properly account for teacher expense or income, one needs to consider ALL the teacher income, including those luxurious health insurance benefits, and the extravagant pensions. Depending on what state you're in, salary could be less than two thirds of total compensation. That "poor, underpaid" teacher with the $33000 salary actually has $44000 in income.

Posted by: _BSH | February 25, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand. You are willing to pay your doctors $100,000 or $200,000 a year for your health but who taught those doctors to read. To the people who say teachers are just baby sitters, I'd like to see them try to teach a room full of wiggling squirmy germ-laden kids while breathing chalk dust and having slept only 6 hours because you were up till 2 am grading papers and putting stickers on them. Yes let's cut all teacher's salary's and let the teenagers teach the classes because college graduates refuse to work for such low wages. People are leaving the teaching profession in droves because of the lack of respect and decent pay for professional services. Let all the teachers stop teaching and leave the education of children to Mom and Dad.

Posted by: snowvt | February 25, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Just sick of paying for BAD teachers, like those high lighted in Waiting for Superman, and many many others. The few good teachers out there, they are priceless.

Posted by: AT_MD | February 25, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't change the subject. The problem is not teacher are getting paid too much. Michelle Rhee proposed MUCH higher pay for GOOD teachers, what I want is to get rid of BAD teachers. The fact the teacher union defended the horrible teachers in Waiting for Superman, have them re-instated with full back pay, tells me our kids will not get a decent education until the teacher unions are disbanded. The current buzz word in the education world is differentiate, why aren't we differentiating teachers?

Posted by: AT_MD | February 25, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Baltimore County teachers (in an area much cheaper than D.C.) start @ $43k right out of college, with a small increase for the master's and doctorates some have. Note the header: "10 month contract."
$43k for a kid out of college, in a gut major, with *months* of vaca is crazy good.
Don't let the union burnouts on this thread mix you up. No-one has started @ $25k in a decade, in public education. They make excellent pay for their education level and considering time off, pensions and health care for *life.* Wow. Maybe scale this back somehow, in light of what the taxpayers are enduring??

http://www.bcps.org/offices/PAYROLL/pdf/scales/TABCO-10-Month-Payscale.pdf

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 25, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

bignoffs:

"Teachers make more than enough money.
1) 9-10 month work year w/ mandatory vacations, i.e holidays, breaks, etc."

Are your vacations and personal days paid for? How many vacation days do you get? I get NO vacation days and three paid personal days per school year. Spring break and winter break are unpaid. Summers are unpaid. I work over 2600 hours a year for my teaching position. I get paid for 1472 of those hours. How many unpaid hours of work do you do for your job?

"2) Job security - achieve tenure in 2 or 3 years and you can work there forever - private sector we need to look for a new job every 2 to 3 years"

You don't understand how that works. No teacher in my county gets to work forever. We are evaluated every year. If we are deemed to be underperforming, we get put on PAR. On PAR, we are evalauated and observed a number of times in that school year. A mentor teacher works with us to improve our teaching skills. If, after the year of being on PAR, we are still not teaching well enough, we are let go. Our county has let go at least 400 teachers that way in the past 10 or 15 years. By the way, the union and the county school system worked together to come up with the PAR system. In other words, they collaborated.

"Unions have made it difficult to remove the underperforming teachers making it difficult to improve the overall quality of education while costs continue to rise."

Gosh the cost of education continues to rise, just like everything else in this country. You were expecting something else? As far as what you said about unions, see above.

"Competitive individuals seek at-will employment to get paid a competitive wage. If a teachers feels they are worth more, join the private sector and demonstrate your worth rather than hide behind a union that promotes mediocrity."

Our union doesn't promote mediocrity. Rather, they encourage and support their teachers, helping them to become better teachers. That way, a school system's investment in that teacher isn't wasted. Which saves money, by the way.

I was in the private sector (software engineer) for almost 25 years. I made more than twice what I started out as a teacher. I'm not complaining at all. Before, I was only making a difference in the pocketbooks of the CEOs of the software companies I worked for. Now I make a difference in the life of a child every single day. Not too many non-teachers can say that. I obviously don't do this job for the money, or the time off. I do it because I wanted to be a contributing member of my community. I am now.

Posted by: JackS2 | February 25, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

FloridaChick:

"They make excellent pay for their education level and considering time off, pensions and health care for *life.* Wow. Maybe scale this back somehow, in light of what the taxpayers are enduring??"

I'm not sure where you got your data, but it's wrong. As a teacher, I make less than half of what I used to make in the private sector as a software engineer for big and small software companies. I have a BS in Computer Science, a Masters in Computer Science, and a Masters of Education in Math, plus another 30 graduate credit hours. I make less than what is necessary in this county to live. And you think I should be paid less than what I am paid now?

Posted by: JackS2 | February 25, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

@ JackS2 - pop open the link to B'more county. Teachers with master's degrees there do very well as fast as 15 years in, still in their 30s.
In the high $80s in Mont. County. before age 40. Crazy!
For a 186-day year. With the eight-figure pension awaiting them so they do not need to save for retirement (I save 17%, n match. Yet I have to support - you? Nope.)
Yes, time to give back. For this part time job, with lifetime pay and benefits - need to pare.
We all have out here in the real world. This is too rich for a 186-day work year. That's a partial commitment. Go full time (all summer!) or scale back that rich payday. Do not want to support you for life, no-one else gets that or even close. Over-rich for the downsized world.

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 25, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

FloridaChick wrote: @ JackS2 - pop open the link to B'more county. Teachers with master's degrees there do very well as fast as 15 years in, still in their 30s.
In the high $80s in Mont. County. before age 40. Crazy!
For a 186-day year. With the eight-figure pension awaiting them so they do not need to save for retirement (I save 17%, n match. Yet I have to support - you? Nope.)
___________________
You mention Baltimore County and Montgomery Co., both in MD. Do you live in either of these jurisdictions? The Washington Post recently had an article saying that it takes $108K annual salary for a family of 4 to live "comfortably" in the DC suburbs. A comfortable living was described as a modest house with rent or mortgage, 1 car and the ability to put away a small amount of money--basically what most people consider to be a middle class existence. Is that too extravagant a life for a teacher?

Secondly---I don't know where you've read about an 8-digit retirement--but it isn't for any teachers in the state of MD and I suspect you won't find it anywhere for public school teachers in the US. As a 35 year veteran teacher in Montgomery County, MD I receive a MD State Pension system statement every year. If I were to retire this year my pension would amount to about 38% of my current annual salary. If I retire after 40 years, it will be about the same. I currently pay 5% into my pension every year and that is about to be increased to 7%. Teachers' pensions are only computed on their base salaries--not on extras like coaching or other additional employment --unlike police and firefighters who have overtime pay added to their retirement computation.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion regarding public employees. You are not entitled to your own facts.

Posted by: musiclady | February 26, 2011 12:26 AM | Report abuse

@musiclady-

you are right that 80% is high for Wisconsin, they only get 48% of their top four years, but it happens in Pennsylvania. Missouri is 75% (2.5% per year for 30 years). It sounds like your plan is less generous, but I still worry that as a defined benefit plan, our short sighted politicians have likely underfunded it. Defined contribution, with a required contribution from the state, in your own account, that they cannot renege on, is much safer for all involved. However, defined benefit makes you dependent on the union to maintain it, and thus increases their power, so they prefer that option. Sorry....

http://www.caldercenter.org/PDF/1001071_Teacher_Pensions.pdf

Posted by: staticvars | February 26, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

@staticvars--What disturbs me is the fact that people (such as FloridaChick) make judgments about one jurisdiction based on figures from another. She used Baltimore Co. and Montgomery Co. as examples of what she feels to be extravagant salaries without apparently knowing anything about the cost of living in those salaries. Likewise, she mentions 8 figure pensions. No teacher is getting an 8 digit pension anywhere. Even an 80% pension, which is extremely rare, won't be an 8 digit pension.

I know that I won't be able to live in my state on my pension and I'm sure I'm not alone. What people forget is that teachers are affected by this economy just like any other taxpayers. We have seen our investments (if we have any) and home values plummet just like everyone else and we have spouses that have lost jobs and possibly a good pension that was counted on.

After devoting 35 years which include thousands of hours of unpaid overtime and thousands of personal dollars to my students, it really feels like getting beat up everyday to read the vitriol directed at public employees in the news everyday. I think people would be shocked at the services they are provided on our own time and dollar. My union has repeadedly voted to give up raises in order to maintain class sizes and other services for our students. We are not the problem.

Posted by: musiclady | February 26, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@ musiclady - well, not only am I entitled to my own opinions but I am entitled to my own....calculator.
Let's leave aside the massive perk of leaving the job 10-15 years early. My family members were Md. teachers and they were/are extremely comfortable in retirement.
A rich, very early retirement with a COLA is a massive perk worth eight figures.
Let's see what what two-thirds (the national average after 30 years) yields you on a $65,000 final-year salary.
Assume several scenarios: the retiree has 25, 30 or 35 years in retirement (with that free health care you will live a loooong time.) Now - stay with me! - multiply the $65,000 by .66; now take that that sum and multiply by 25....close to $1.1 million. And it would be about 30% higher, net, after that COLA kicked in.
If you retired at 53 (wow, so early!) and lived to 80 then you collect you are closer to $1.3 million, more like $1.7 million+ after mandated COLA. *Plus* hundreds of thousands in free healthcare for you, and in some districts a spouse. It's $1.5 million if you live into your mid-80s, more with COLA...and so on.
Or use the 48% of final pay figure another commenter cited, which is very low for a 30-yr teacher. Even that multiplier comes close to $900,000 assuming you die at or before 80. The COLA takes that number way over a million. Living into your mid-80s is $1.5 million or so.
See....eight figures any way you slice it. BEFORE lifetime healthcare, which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The fact that you never penciled this out is disturbing. But that doesn't mean the rest of us, who pay for it, never do.

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 26, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

@musiclady - according to this your pension after 35 years is 63% of final years' pay - not the 38% figure you state. Uh, big difference there.
Is the state web site wrong?
Or did you understate your own pension to make a point, poor-mouth or just out of error?
I agree with your earlier point that no-one is entitled to their own facts. So, here are some facts:

http://www.mstanea.org/political/pension_a5.php

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 26, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@FloridaChick--I did not understate my pension. I looked at my annual statement. Your family members may have retired under the old MD State Retirement system which was eliminated. There are a few teachers remaining still in that system but those hired after 1980 were put into the pension plan which replaced the retirement system and those already employed at that time were given the choice to switch into the pension plan, which I did--a decision I greatly regret. There is a fairly complicated formula which uses one's AFC or Average Final Compensation (the average of one's 3 highest consecutive years), one's years of service and a multiplier. Staticvars mentioned places whose forumlas had a multiplier of 2.5. Ours is currently either 1.8. This is after a significant improvement was made for salary earned after 1998. For those years worked prior to 1998 the multiplier is 1.2. The years worked prior to 1998 are computed using the lower multiplier. Before 1998, MD was ranked #50 for our state pension plan. It was the worst in the nation. For a younger teacher, the retirement would be greater under the current pension plan. For someone like myself, I have 22 years under the lower multiplier and only my years since 1998 under the higher one which significantly reduces my pension. I've been eligible for retirement for the last 5 years so my statements are current. The pension is about 38% of my current salary. That is a fact. I will probably teach until I'm at least 65 (43 years) as my retiree health benefits cost three and a half times more than I pay now and I simply cannot afford that on such a reduced income. At 65 we are required to go on Medicare and then we take a much cheaper supplemental plan. Retiree health insurance is different from district to district in MD.

Also--I looked at the link you provided and you misread it. It mentions the old Retirement plan as having a retirement income of about 60%. This doesn't apply to most people.

This is from the website:
"The legislation passed unanimously by the General Assembly increases the current multiplier in the benefit formula from 1.4% to 1.8% of salary for Pension System participants. This increase is applied retroactively to years of service from July 1, 1998 forward. The bill also increases the employee contribution from its current rate of 2% of salary to 5% of salary. This increase will be phased in at a rate of 1 additional percent per year for the next three years."

This tells you what I said above that income prior to 1998 is computed at a lower multiplier. It also indicates that our contribution was increased from 2% to 5% of our income. Those hired after 1998 will go from a 42% benefit to a 50% benefit. Those of us with longer years in have a reduced benefit due to the lower multiplier for all those years.

I live this. I see the deduction from my paycheck and I receive the annual benefit statement. It is less than 40%--somewhere around 38%.

Posted by: musiclady | February 26, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaChick: Something else from the link you provided:
"The additional amount of retirement income you will receive depends on your date of hire, years of service, and last three years of salary. Members who began their employment in Maryland 1998 or later who retire with 30 years of service will see their annual pension jump from 42% of salary (1.4% x 30) to 54% of salary (1.8% x 30). Other participants who began their service prior to 1998 should calculate their benefit from the pre-1998 years using the earlier multiplier of 1.2%. "

This supports what I said regarding my pension. Also--I know of no district in MD that offers free healthcare to their retired teachers. Counties provide the health care plans --not the state and the plans and the amount paid for them vary significantly from district to district.

Posted by: musiclady | February 26, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Teachers in my general area with master's degrees start out in the low to high 30's.

Posted by: jlp19 | February 27, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@ musiclady - I read it correctly and stand by my statements. Your allotment might be impacted by how your pension ends when you pass, then if you want a survivor to get a payment you can opt for less during your own lifetime.
The 1.8% multiplier is well-known nationally as high. Sky high.
I said your healthcare was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over a typical lifespan, and I stand by that also.
I also said that private workers put in more toward their retirements and thus have less pay to live on 'real time' vis a vis teachers. This is also correct.
Happy to help!

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 27, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

@ musiclady - COLAed pensions get to eight figures surprisingly fast. Even a $30,000 pension gets to $900,000 after 22 years and change - and that is with a modest 2.5% CPI. It could easily be higher with higher inflation.
Lucky teachers get inflation protection built in, astounding.
So a teacher in her mid-50s is just 77 when she is closing in on the eight-figure retirement I mentioned. If she lives longer she is well into eight figures; plus the hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare she'll be awarded.
That's a sweet haul, for any worker.
(BTW - I have no association with this site...)

http://www.hughchou.org/calc/cola.php

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 27, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@ staticvars: you wrote:

"No teacher is getting an 8 digit pension anywhere. Even an 80% pension, which is extremely rare, won't be an 8 digit pension."

Pls see prior post to see how an (under-average) pension gets to eight figures. It happens pretty fast. Punch in the numbers to see.
Happy to correct you - no hard feelings. I am a patient teacher...
Let's hope you live many healthy years and enjoy your eight-figure haul!

Posted by: FloridaChick | February 27, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

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