The real world of teachers
Here’s a story, from Today’s Sunbeam newspaper of Salem County, N.J., that takes us not into another education policy debate but rather talks about the daily struggles of teachers, and, in its own way, reflects the value our society places on teachers.
The beginning of the story is below, and you can go to the Sunbeam website for the rest and for a Star-Ledger analysis of teacher salaries in New Jersey.
Susan LiBrizzi, a divorced mother of four, earns $61,798 a year as a special-education teacher in the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District -- enough, she says, to pay the bills.
Over the years, she has taken on summer jobs -- cleaning houses, tutoring, baby-sitting -- for extra cash as her salary has increased by $300 or $400 a year.
Now LiBrizzi, who has taught for 14 years, is due a $4,000 raise -- and the governor wants her to give it back.
"I feel like staying middle-class is a struggle," said LiBrizzi, 48, who lives in Bridgewater. "I still have two more kids to put through college, and it’s scary."
In his quest to pressure teachers to accept a pay freeze, Gov. Chris Christie has portrayed them as a privileged class, untouched by the recession.
But a Star-Ledger of Newark analysis of the salaries of New Jersey’s nearly 113,000 public school teachers finds that more of them are like Susan LiBrizzi than like Rockefeller.
Most would be considered middle-class in New Jersey, making less on average than firefighters, cops, engineers and business middle managers, and more than social services workers and sales representatives.
Some of the findings from the analysis:
*The median pay among New Jersey’s public school classroom teachers is $57,467 a year, meaning half of them earn more than that, and half earn less. The average is $63,154, with more than half of the teachers earning from $40,000 to $60,000.
*New Jersey’s teachers are the fourth-highest-paid in the country, behind California’s, New York’s and Connecticut’s, and make nearly $10,000 more than the national average.
*Among public workers, the police in New Jersey are the highest-paid in the nation, with an average base salary of $75,400. Firefighters, on average, make $69,620, also highest in the country.
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| May 17, 2010; 9:14 AM ET
Categories: Teachers | Tags: how much do teachers earn?, new jersey teachers salaries, salaries, star-ledger, teacher earnings, teacher salaries, teachers
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