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  • Morning Bell: The Truth About Public School Teacher Pay

    Schools in America

    Last winter, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) traveled his state, holding a series of townhalls in which he touted a significant but politically unpopular plan: asking public school teachers to accept a pay freeze and begin contributing 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their health care plans, whereas before they paid nothing. It’s a battle that pitted Christie against powerful teachers unions, and it’s a fight that has brought the issue of teacher pay to the center of the public square.

    That battle has played itself out across the country. Earlier this year in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker (R) faced a $3 billion structural deficit and the fourth-highest tax burden in the country. Among the reforms he enacted were limits to collective bargaining power and reform of public employee benefit plans, which included asking public-sector employees (including teachers) to make a 5.8 percent contribution into their pension plans and pick up the tab for 12 percent of their health care benefits, whereas before they paid nothing. Walker’s actions led to unionized education employees leaving schools in protest and Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state in order to prevent the plan from passing the legislature.

    Today, Governor John Kasich of Ohio (R) faces a similar fight. Earlier this year, the state legislature enacted reforms of public sector union benefits, but now the issue is up for repeal in a statewide ballot initiative.

    In New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Ohio, teachers unions have led the effort to beat back the reforms, arguing that teachers are overworked and underpaid and taking issue with even modest reforms to pension benefits as states grapple with budget deficits. But a new paper by Jason Richwine, Ph.D. and Andrew Biggs addresses the question of teacher pay head on and asks whether teachers today receive the right level of pay. They find that when benefits such as tenure, health care, and pensions are considered, the typical public-school teacher is well-paid: “We conclude that public-school-teacher salaries are comparable to those paid to similarly skilled private-sector workers, but that more generous fringe benefits for public-school teachers, including greater job security, make total compensation 52 percent greater than fair market levels, equivalent to more than $120 billion overcharged to taxpayers each year.”

    Richwine and Biggs also find that when it comes to pay, some of the best teachers are being left behind:

    While union contracts help secure overcompensation for the average teacher, they may still leave the most valuable teachers underpaid. School administrators need to be able to hire and fire teachers as needed, basing personnel decisions on rigorous value-added evaluations and setting pay based on prevailing market rates.

    Case in point: the Farmington, Michigan, school district. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports that in that district, the average gym teacher’s salary is $75,035, whereas science teachers make $68,483 on average. Likewise, in Harrison, Michigan, “science teachers earned $49,000 on average while gym teachers averaged $62,000.” Tom Gantert writes, “This is not unusual, because school districts don’t differentiate what a teacher does when considering compensation, regardless of the district’s educational needs. Teachers are paid on a single salary schedule based on seniority and education level.” And that single salary schedule is negotiated in the union contract.

    More than ever, high-quality teachers and ensuring that our children have the best education possible is central to America’s future. The best teachers should be rewarded, and schools should have the freedom to make the right decisions to get the job done.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    124 Responses to Morning Bell: The Truth About Public School Teacher Pay

    1. Ted Stein says:

      It should also be reported, to be fair, that Governor Christie was asked if he and his cabinet would accept a pay reduction. He declined.

      • Bobbie says:

        He and his staff should be commended for declining. They epitomize people with merit that work for their pay and it shows. The unconstitutional overreachers need their pay reduced as their achievements are focused only on "special interests" that don't amount to anyone's benefit that doesn't fall into crisis or lays infringements on everyone else.

      • gongdark says:

        Again, just to be FAIR, did Christie decline an answer to the request or did he decline to accept a pay reduction.
        I'm just figuring your a liberal and not necessarily providing all the facts. You do know of course that if you spin, add to or take away from a statement and then say it is true…….then you LIE.

        Have a good day

      • Jon says:


      • billy bob says:

        It should also be noted that what Christie does or earns is not part of the story, but leave it to a liberal to derail the point.

      • Denise Utah says:

        The problem with public education in my state is the bloated administrative positions in some of the district offices. Some of these jobs are ridiculous. There are secretaries for the secretaries. The school district operating in my county uses approximately 40 percent of the funds the district receives. That is a lot of waste! More of the money should be used to educate children, not giving a cushy job to the Fat Cats at the top of the system!

    2. Ken Jarvis says:

      Contracts are Negotiated.
      HF always makes it sound as if – Teachers ALONE Decide,
      they don't.
      This Article is just MORE PROOF that Union Workers make more $$$ and have better benefits,
      than NON-Union Workers.
      Is is always SAD to read about the HF SMEARING our Teachers, Police, and FireFighter's.

      • Clearhead says:

        Welcome back, Ken. We were concerned about you and the lack of your inflammatory rhetoric. Thought maybe the cat got your tongue and pulled it all the way out, but thankfully, we were wrong. One question: How does TELLING THE TRUTH about an issue translate into "HF SMEARING"?

      • Brett Whaley says:

        WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE?! What are you even doing reading a Heritage Foundation posting if you are an avowed Marxist? This is the one country on the planet that does not accept your ridiculous, PROVEN TO BE A FAILURE, view regarding government intervention. Go to any other country and live happily. Leave this country alone!

      • Bobbie says:

        Government union workers do make more money that isn't earned that by common sense will collapse America, where the non union private sector workers are trying to hold America up. Government unions shouldn't have control over the tax payers they do. If the government was conducting their duty properly, there'd be no reason for government unions! How ridiculous have many Americans become!

      • Capi Talist says:

        Hey commie Ken, perhaps that is because the non union workers are paying and contributing to their bloated pensions and salaries by paying taxes??? Ur a useful idiot. Look it up.

      • Leftshot says:

        Here's one of the flies in your ointment. Contracts are negotiated, but they are negotiated without choice and without those who have to foot the bill sitting at the table (the taxpayers). That is a skewed system. Provide real choices for teachers, school districts and taxpayers and you'll see a lot of these inequities disappear or diminish.

    3. Robert, TX says:

      Mike, are they overworking you? Because THIS is getting ridiculous. Teacher pay, like the postal service, is pretty FAR down the list of our problems. Of course, if we eliminate the Dept. of Education (which only Ron Paul has proposed), then each state can pay whatever the heck they want – and they will have to pay for it themselves – WITHOUT FEDERAL MONEY. The education lobby, or industry, is just barely behind the pharmaceutical lobby, and the managed healthcare lobby, in terms of federal money received – and in terms of number of luxury boxes at major sports arenas. Which is perfectly fine, if it was their own money – and NOT OUR MONEY.

      • Grace says:

        I like this one. Other comments are pertinent as well! The author has not studied this problem.

      • Bobbie says:

        Robert you made the perfect point! Too much of our earned money is going to too much government power and control!

    4. toledofan says:

      The federal government needs to get out of the education business, period. The real issue is that at what point does the education system become too much of a burden; the pay comes from taxes, so, what if the tax dollars aren't available for raises, what happens when the schools just pass the kids because they have to move on, you know the stigma of failure, who cares if they can't read or write. Who cares that those teachers who didn't do a good job get a raise. The real point that needs to be considered is the Democrats hold on the current system paves the way for votes in the future; controlling the agenda controls the thought process. It's too bad that in Ohio Kasich lost control of the message and allowed the unions a chance to win back what they lost.

      • Robert, TX says:

        And the only way to do that is to eliminate the Department of Education – and the only candidate who has proposed doing just that is Ron Paul. Actually, Ron Paul is the only candidate that will not INCREASE the budget of the Department of Education. Romney – massive increase; Perry – above the baseline; Cain – leaves it on the baseline.

    5. Diane says:

      I come from a less affluent state where teachers begin at around 25,000, and you can't buy
      food or pay your bills with "job security" or tenure.

      • Brett Whaley says:

        There is a simple solution for this. The teachers need to tell their union to restructure their contract. If they will accept smaller pensions in retirement, they can negotiate for higher salaries. Before you say they earn that pension, remember only 20% of companies in the private sector even have pensions anymore. Also, note that some of the money in the larger salary could then be invested and GROWN at a much better rate than the pension will ever afford the teachers in their retirements. The teachers put their blame in the wrong place on a consistent basis. Petition your unions to restructure the contracts!

      • Paul says:

        What state?

      • kelly says:


      • Megan says:

        I agree!! I am a first year teacher in Missouri and while my salary 5 years ago would have been wonderful, today $32,000 makes it very hard to pay bills…and all my pension comes out of my check. I take home about $800.00 twice a month. YOU try to pay rent with that!

    6. Jay Farrior says:

      This is unfortunately true for every aspect of government. Whether it is a skilled teacher of a detailed subject vs someone teaching basket weaving, or a highly trained medical specialist vs a generalist.
      The government feel that all teacher and doctors are the same. Frequently the less skilled teacher or doctor is paid more.

    7. Jeff says:

      First off, may I say that the general tone of the latter part of the artical with regard to 'gym' teachers is offensive and demonstrates the lack of true research that went into this 'paper' The problem with the Physical Education teacher vs. Science teacher salary comparison is that in a typical middle and high school the physical education teacher is usually coaching two, if not three sports per school year. Coaching is usually compensated via a 'stipend' depending on the experience of the coach and the grade level at which he/she is coaching.

      In almost every district I've seen, all teacher salaries are based on contracts that reflect education and years of teaching experience. Stipends add to the base salary, and certainly increase the overall compensation. If Richwine and Biggs would like to do an apples to apples comparison, they should look contract schedules and not the total salary.

      • KHM says:

        @ Jeff,
        You sound as if you are a union (NEA) member who possibly teaches PE and coaches. If you are a product of this wonderful federal unionized educational system, why can't you spell 'article' correctly?
        Yes coaches obviously spend a lot of extra time in coaching the teams,but didn't they choose that field because they love sports? Science teachers' curriculum in college and continuing education is a lot tougher than those required for Phys Ed.
        Also, Heritage Foundation has good researchers on staff and I trudt their findings. Certainly more than I would something published by the government or the teachers'union.

        • Jeff says:

          Well, KHM, thanks for noting the typo. It appears I should proof read before posting. As to your suggestion that I am an NEA member who teaches and coaches….you couldn't be more off base. I''m not even a teacher. What I am, however, is someone who pays attention. What I am however is a parent who has to be concerned with what's going on in our schools and why programs are being cut. What I am, however, is someone who believes that the NEA has ruined education for our children. Mostly what I am, however, is sick and tired of papers and articles and reports that only utilize partial research so that the authors can prove their "conclusion." This goes on whether a liberal or conservative approach applies.

          So, while I agree in part with your assertion that you may trust a Heritage report more than a government report or a union report. I would say be wary of any report these days. By the way, if you are going to make a jab about my spelling, you should really check your own before hitting ENTER. Just Sayin'

      • pam says:

        You are right. Many "gym teachers" work far longer than regular hours because of their coaching jobs. This was not explained in this article.

      • william thompson says:

        What you have stated is absolutely factual. I do not begrudge anyone extra compensation for extra duties performed. My pay as a special education teacher was higher than regular classroom teacher's even though their class load may have been higher. Strangely, there was not a waiting list of people who wanted to do the classwork needed for certification, nor did they want to deal with the problem students who removed from regular classes for a wide range of behaviors….none of which were caused by mental retardation, who were my general population.

      • theludman says:

        I am an itinerant special education teacher for a multitude of school districts in the suburbs of Chicago. I work with low incidence handicapped children, kindergarten – Grade12, who attend their home schools and are mostly in general education classrooms with their peers. In addition to teaching these kids 1:1, I must observe & make recommendations, based on their performance in different learning environments throughout the school year. That means I see teachers of Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, P.E., Art, Music, and high school courses. In other words, I see it all, in many different schools, and in many different districts . Of course, there is a wide range of teaching performance in all these groups but, oh, the stories I could tell about the P.E. teachers and their "lessons". Based on my 20+ years , there is no way anyone will ever convince me that an excellent P.E. teacher deserves to be on the same pay scale as an excellent classroom teacher of important curriculum areas such as Reading, Writing, and Math. I can also guarantee you that it's not P.E. teachers that perpetually stay late or come in on weekends, put in long hours at home with lesson plans or to grade students' assignments, or to learn new curriculum goals & textbooks and to then create & prepare the lessons. In my opinions, districts could hire para-professionals who could be supervised by a certified teacher to do what a lot of these P.E. teachers are doing every day. And in the high schools, P.E. teachers often have juniors and seniors "helpers" do just that!

      • Megan says:

        Exactly what I was thinking! I wish they sited their source.

      • Brad says:

        Well, like many articles about teachers' pay, it doesn't do accurate reporting. In this case, it could very well be that the P.E. teachers in that district had more seniority than the average teacher, in which case, since the salaries are based on the infamous union salary ladder, they *would* be paid more. Not comparing apples with apples.

      • miller says:

        The gravy train is over for all state and couny employee pays. The people are sick of paying taxes for these peoples health care and pensions. It's only fair.

      • chadhannan says:

        Seems obvious our public schools devote too much time and effort to sports and athletics while failing to keep pace with other countries in math and science. And the gym teachers are better reimbursed than are the teachers of other subjects. Are the unions responsible for any of this?

    8. Ron Houser says:

      Gym teachers are always paid more because coaching sports is a PR item so the opportunity to put in more hours leads to higher salaries. And in colleges the sky is the limit on popular sports teams. By the way Title Nine had expanded the feminine sports teams and curtailed the budgets for male sports. There is a precedent set however, for teacher's where a shortage occurs. In the past Automotive and Shop teachers could make more in the public sector and negogtiate their own contracts separate from the union oversight. Math and science teachers should form their own bargaining unit. Can you quess who has more representative power with the union?

    9. Shadie says:

      The average teacher in my district makes more than the average taxpayer. Plus they have all the benefits that are offered. If they want to strike when a new contract comes up they can only ask for money. The average taxpayer can not afford health insurance let alone dental and eye coverage. Poor teachers. HUH!

    10. Mary......WI says:

      Unfortunately here in WI teachers union don't think they get paid enough. They despise Gov. Walker as do state union members. I applaud Gov Walker for the bold steps he took to get this state back on track financially. The massive recall of Gov Walker begins next week. This state is in constant recall mode! Whatever happen to common sense!? Sign me a frustrated Wisconsinite!!

      • FlaJim says:

        Wisconsinette maybe?

        Sorry. Couldn't resist!

      • commutingteacher says:

        Walker didn't have a financial issue until he gave it all away to the businesses and corporations there, that's what put the state in a hole. Further, the almost exact amount he gave away in tax breaks is the exact amount he took away from education funding. So for Walker, fat-cat businesses are more important than the kids of his state.

    11. Don Swearingen says:

      For 20 years, I taught. I taught one-on-one in motor pools, and woods and deserts. One-to 500 in air conditioned classrooms. I taught privates, colonels, what have you. I taught Koreans. I taught in all weather, and day and night. All year long. I never made more than $23,000.00 a year. I'd do it again. I'm not so impressed with teachers.

      • FlaJim says:

        My son dropped out of high school, two credits short of graduating. Being an enterprising young man, he found a job through an unscrupulous teacher broker who provided him with fraudulent credentials to teach English in S Korea where he thrived for 3 years before being found out.

        Nonetheless, his students and the head master adored him. He married the head master's daughter.

        He still hasn't gotten around to getting those two credits, works in the oil industry making big money, owns his home, and has two children.

        My point? It doesn't take an overcredentuled college grad to teach (see 'Why Johnny Can't Read' by Thomas Sowell). Just a little dedication and smarts.

        • mike says:

          you say he dropped out og high school? Yet you say he is 2 credits short..could you mean college? If my son dropped out of high school that close, I would have at least insisted on a GED

      • KHM says:

        @ Don Swearingen,
        Thanks for your service and all those years of hard work for little pay. I think most of these union teachers and others are whiners.
        Also agree with another posted reply that all the benefits the government promised the unions while they made no contribution to their benefits or pensions were at the taxpayers' expense. We have fewer taxpayers now and these promises ar unsustainable.

    12. KC - NM says:

      Smart thing to do is to get rid of the unions and let the school system work as a private business. Then let competition drive the outcome and salaries! Heck – we might even educate the students and end up with better results than the current out-dated system.

      • commutingteacher says:

        If you want us to treat students like a business model, they will return what they deem defective materials. Afterall, isn't that what they do in the 'real' world?

    13. Ruth says:

      I have a daughter who just quit teaching after 5 years of teaching middle school PE/Health, coaching the cheerleaders, and directing the school play. Her W-2 for 2010 shows that she made $26,000.00. That is no where near the salaries that are quoted in this article.

      • dah says:

        public or parochial school.

      • Bobbie says:

        what was her benefit package? was it public school? I think there's alot of discrimination and disparity regarding wages in the government union public sector throughout the country. Because there can be…

    14. Jim says:

      No one can deny the important contribution unions have made to our society; however, it is apparent that in the current economic situation unions are not helping solve the problems. Logic suggests that good teachers and good workers should be rewarded while ineffective ones need to be improved or replaced. If the adversarial relationship between the employers and the employee unions were replaced by a cooperative one, we would have a win-win situation. Considerations such as competence, seniority, compensation, and other relevant factors need to be balanced. Getting the results you need for a fair and affordable price ought to be the clear objective.

    15. Danny Rogers says:

      I am retired public school teacher. I taught in Georgia and Tennessee for 41 years. Our salaries are not anywhre near the salaries being paid in states like Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey and Wisconsin, and our benefits are not in any way comparable to their benefits. I will have to say that I didn't get rich teaching, but it did provide a comfortable living for me and my family. And my teacher retirement along with my social security is more than adequate. If I had been paid what teachers and other public school employees are paid in the states that I mentioned above, I would have felt as though I was truly rich. Shame on them!!! Unions are destroying America.

      • commutingteacher says:

        Danny, NJ is the most expensive state in the country to live in. So should teachers in NJ not be able to afford to live in the state where they work? How can you even compare the two?

      • John says:

        Danny take your SS and retirement money and come live in NJ/NY. Then tell me if you feel rich.

    16. Guest says:

      I would rather a child excell in academics because academic achievement is the hallmark of a quality education and is testable on college entry exams. Since most teachers are unionized why is there such a desparity among pay levels? Shouldn't everyone receive the same pay based on tenure regardless of subject choice? I would think the other academic teachers who outnumber the coaches would not allow this problem to exist. Also teachers should contribute to their own retirements and healthcare just like everyone else its the responsible and right thing to do.

    17. Barry Schmidt says:

      Well….what else should we have expected when we gave government workers the green light to form unions and be allowed to collectively bargain? As usual, the middle-class taxpayer takes it in the shorts.

    18. Cindi says:

      I am a reader from Wisonsin. This battle tore our state apart, splitting families down the middle, in many cases. I was able to find our teachers' pay on line and was shocked by what they called 'under paid' We have paid countless dollars for recall elections. I anticipate our Governor will encounter one of his own soon. Money wasted, in my opinion. I would like to see reform to our recall process that only allows the people who voted in the 1st election to be allowed to vote in the recall election. We had our streets blocked by protesters (of course, the teachers were off work for the summer and could stand out there all day). The governors of our states have to make some truly tough decicions in order to balance our budgets. Expecting teachers to begin paying a portion of their own benefits is a very small compensation, considering the perks still afforded to them in our state.

    19. Belinda Stanley says:

      I am a high school biology teacher with 25+ years experience. I teach in a private, parochial school by choice and am paid less than $50,000 per year. Science teachers spend hours ordering supplies and equipment, setting up and tearing down labs, and keeping up (especially in biology) with new information. I love my job but if I had to do it in a public school I would want to do it in a district that paid science teachers more than P.E. teachers. ( Or maybe I would just teach P.E. and wear my jogging clothes to school.) I totally agree that teachers should be paid by what they do and how well, not by seniority.

    20. Dave says:

      There seems to be an abundance of comments on Teacher performance.
      Where is the discussion on Administrator/Principal/Superintendent performance?
      I've seem many where they became administrative qualified to get out of the classroom.
      There are administrative personnel who are good and then there are those who are not just as with the
      teaching staff.

    21. mbrosch says:

      He who can does. He who can't do teaches. He who can't teach teaches gym.

      • Jeff says:

        Wow Brosch….with three little sentences you managed to disparage every teacher in the country. Way to go….moron

    22. ThomNJ says:

      To make matters worse, school boards seem to be powerless to prevent this statewide highjack of the school system by the teachers' union in holding a convetnion during the active school year. Instead of fighting the absurdity, more parents are taking vacations with the family during the next week – so the kids will lose 3 days of formal education because of the union and the remaining two days, because the parents find it easier and cheaper to just take timeoff and go somewhere with the kids.

      What a great lesson to the children.

    23. guest says:

      It is time to END the NEA, the Dept of ED and send ALL unions out of the USA…the unions were about employee safety when they started now they are just about $$…there is no reason for athletes to get $7mil their education isn't that great and their job isn't that necessary. Its interesting to look at history and how teachers were the top paid professinal and doctors and lawyers were near the bottom…then the unions took over and look where we are….our children aren't getting great educations instead thay are taight to rely on the govt for everything in their lives…the govt is supposed to protect the citizens and that's it…only ours has gotten blown into every aspect of our lives it needs to be downsized and a quick cut would put be to end all unions…and then look to the civil service jobs and only keep the necessary ones.

    24. Bobbie says:

      the economy also reflects the results of public school education. welfare dependency increasing notes basic education isn't/hasn't been the focus.

      Lots of discrimination when it comes to teachers and their "pay." How do unions determine the level of "pay" without the tax payers who are obligated to pay? How do unions determine the worth of the class where Gym is not productive to society as science and math and exercise is carried through life by ones own free will.

      Paying people who no longer teach but to incarcerate for acts of violations within the control of the persons at tax payers expense is remarkably hideous and a spit in the face! Direct conflict of their required educating duties and conflict of the interests of the tax payers and parents.

      Wastes of hard earned money stolen as tax dollars educating people for a title they couldn't work up to. When the education is free and teachers pay and benefits aren't determined by merit, there is a great potential of people doing this purposefully. Relieve these people from tax payers expense, they are non productive in the tax paying field they chose! We are people that deserve no less than matters that are out of our control handled appropriately with respect and integrity to us, the people.

      How has it become common that if you work for "government" your "pay" and "position" is protected regardless of all things ineffective? Necessary "change" required. Discipline! Reform!

      The government is suppose to work for us and we demand better than a government who is and has been helping themselves working for themselves through their overpaid union thugs who with the support of the government, protect all things ineffective at our expense. Necessary "change" required. Discipline! So sick of the advantage government has unconstitutionally given themselves and it has to stop, NOW!
      Stopped cheating the people you are expected to serve without the cheat. Government bullies who need to be put in their place, NOW!

    25. Carol M Kite says:

      If those in the public sector refuse to understand how necessary it is to join the rest of the taxpayers, in a smaller way, to now contribute 1 to 5 percent toward their health plan & retirement, aren't so very darn smart, are they? If ths action is not realized, in every state, they'll find out it's the difference of still having same and no more funds in the coffer for coverage or pensions when they retire. Pretty simple, make the right choice. Also remember, the big labor bosses have 'borrowed', in the past, exorbitant sums from those pension plans to elect Obama to office, another mistake! Be smart & be grateful you have the opportunity to pitch in to save your futures!

    26. Richard says:

      Did the article discuss the effect the Windfall Elimination bill has on Social Security benefits? My wifes SS benefit, based on my SS benefit, is reduced by 2/3 of her teacher retirement. Is that fair? A nonworking spouse would get the full SS benefit yet a teacher's SS benefit is reduced. This is stupid and should be repealed now!

    27. Brett Whaley says:

      Seriously, how many people went into teaching thinking they were going to make a ton of money? If you did, you are simply naive. If you did not, then why is it an issue now? Class envy? If you wanted a higher paying job, you should have gone for a higher paying major while in college. End of story.

    28. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Interesting to know that Christie, in N.J., refused to take a pay cut or freeze. I agree with everything you say about teachers and useless unions…but we must remember, politicians take and give zero…

    29. Jamie Duong says:

      This study is nonsense because it assumes teachers only work during the time they are required to be at the school. Anyone who's ever had homework in school knows that beyond simply teaching the classes in school teachers have to correct student work and prepare course materials for class. This is done on many evenings and weekends that are not part of the contracted hours this study counts. Yes teachers typically have the summers off but most of them spend those summer months working on ways to improve their curriculum, something that is important if we want an ever improving academic system.

      • tom m says:

        this argument is complete nonsense. Most jobs & professions require work "outside the office." The argument that somehow grading papers or creating lesson plans on the weekends is a hardship is absurd on its face. That, my friend, is called LIFE. Work hard, you will succeed. Don't work hard, and you likely won't. Unless you have a parachute or safety net provided by someone else … like the taxpayer.

    30. I'm sitting here reading the above report knowing what the answers are to our education problems. How do I know? Something happened to me about six years ago. I woke up from the mental "fog" that we have all been coerced into and started looking into and researching these problems on my own. When in doubt about something I found myself being directed to information that would give me the answer. I found myself consumed day and night with thoughts and visions and creative solutions to many of the problems we face today. Why me? I can't tell you why me. All I can say is I have these solutions but no way to get them before those that can initiate them. If someone will only ask, I will gladly provide you with the solutions.

    31. Marte says:

      Knowing as many truly incompetent teachers as I do, I have no love for the Unions that keep them in their jobs. There are some whose presence in the school is actually detrimental to the students, and yet the taxpayers are forced to keep right on supporting them.

      In a private sector job, these individuals would be fired.

      My second objection to teachers screaming for more money – the KNEW what the job paid before they applied for the position. If they weren't going to be happy with that, they should have gone into a different line of work.

    32. Jerry Chanon says:

      The arguments that insinuate that teachers are overpaid deteriorate into BS. Thank god for unions that
      prevent the ridiculing of the individual because of the protection of the individual which is created by the
      fairness and protection that a responsible union creates.—Jerry Chanon Right now

      • Todd says:

        What is a responsible union? Point one out.

      • tom m says:

        there are no responsible unions that I have ever seen. Can you point me to one?

      • Palmer Galacier says:

        Many teachers are certainly not "over paid". Citing "fairness" as criteria for compensation is silly. Life is not fair. Competence and efficacy should the standard for all reward.

        My observation of unions is that they protect the incompetent and ineffective at the expensive of the others.

    33. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s recognized the danger of having public sector jobs unionized. He knew that unions would be disliked by non union workers and he did not want non union workers disliking the government. His reasoning is valid today. When public sector unions strike for benefits or higher wages they are striking against the American taxpayer and not some private employer. In spite of his opposition he was unable to stop government, public sector, employees from unionizing. The only solution today is to ban public sector unions and let the public sector employers compete with private sector employers in the job market.

    34. careamerica says:

      How much are teachers required to pay the union for the right to work?

    35. Leftshot says:

      Case in point. I have a friend who is a school teacher getting ready to retire here in California. She makes just a shade under $100,000 a year for the 9-10 month school year and pays nothing toward her benefits. When she retires she'll get a raise! That's right. Her pension is greater than her $99,000 salary by about 20%! Like many teacher's unions, they were also able to opt-out of the lame Social Security system. So she's paid nothing into that system and will still qualify for a spousal benefit of 1/2 the amount her husband receives.

      Now some will say, 'Yeah, but she is at the top end of her scale' and that's true. But guess what? They'll replace her with someone straight out of college who will receive $40,000 to $50,000 a year, all their benefits paid, who in a few years will have tenure and be well on their way to what this retired teacher is getting and more.

    36. Gewthw says:

      As a taxpayer, I resent the idea of unions representing teachers, first for the benefit of the union, secondly for the benefit of the teacher and never for the benefit of the students or the taxpayer. If there is limited money, then everyone should expect less. That is why I don't have a job any more, there was less money and stock holders (taxpayers) come first. Secondly, I am concerned that the current administration's close relationship with the unions is driving the effort to provide more federally borrowed money to teachers, police and firemen, which will leave the states with the burden of either cutting back later or being forced to raise taxes. If the states waiver, then I fully expect an executive order to "federalize all teachers, police and firemen". That is the only way that the liberals have of busting right to work states and to further socialize this country!!! So get over the crying and belly-aching and try to use some common sense, grow a backbone and learn to negotiate for yourself. Only the weak and shy need the union bosses to leverage for them and our kids need teachers who aren't weak and shy, but rather strong and responsible, and with common sense!

    37. R Brown says:

      I taught in both public and private schools during a 41 year period of time. The latter part of my experience was in school administration. In private school I paid 5 % of my salary toward retirement and 5% toward a medical plan. The School system paid a matching amount. I felt it was a fair deal. In public school I paid 5% of my salary toward retirement and 7% toward medical for the first 8 years of my experience. The state changed all that and had the school system pay all to the retirement. Medical stayed the same. As far as quality teachers goes. public schools have better teachers. As an administrator I was able to terminate teachers who were ineffective, but it took a lot of time to complete the process. Florida now has in place a good system of hiring new teachers. They are on probation for three years. A principal can terminate them any time during that three year period. Most people have no idea how to judge teacher performance, particularly politicians

      • DJ3 says:

        Not all states are like Florida. It is practically impossible to fire a teacher in New York and California, for instance. Even teachers that are abusive toward students aren't fired in NY! No one should be able to keep their job if they are abusive, especially when they are in charge of children!

    38. The Farmer says:

      For twenty years I worked in the public school system here in Michigan, we were under-worked and over paid, I told those in charge about it often but to no avail we had to follow the contract. And believe me most of the folks that were in the system liked it just the way it is.
      Yes there are a few good workers in the system, but you will not likely hear from them, they don't yell, demonstrate, or make demands, they just work, and if you ask them they will tell you the same thing I just did! By the way the one time the union had a cause to get involved on my account, the union tried to bail the Adminstration out, by sticking it to my fellow employees in a manor they wouldn't know about.

    39. mtawney says:

      This is certainly not the case in NC. My wife probably spends at least 2500.00/year in supplies- and hasn't had a raise in five years.

    40. Charles says:

      Right on!

    41. Don - ret. USD Admin says:

      The requirement to pay mediocre teachers the same as the very best teachers, and to permit the alcoholic or burned-out teachers with seniority to "bump"the younger and/or more effective teachers is archaic. Remember years ago when teachers had the pride and honor of belonging to a professional organization instead of a union? Remember when school boards were not dominated or controlled by the teachers unions they were supposed to direct or lead? Remember when school boards were not stepping stones to a new political career?
      I do.

    42. jayneTX says:

      I was a teacher. Tenure is the worst thing that happened to any school district. Lazy, inadequate teachers are given the same benefits and innovative and motivated teachers are. Get rid of tenure and the union and our schools will begin to actually teach our students again.

    43. Bob says:

      What the article does not say is: 1) the PE teachers may have more years of service; 2) the PE teachers salary probably includes after school coaching.
      Another point. How do you "differentiate what a teacher does when considering compensation?" Does anyone have a scientifically proven 'scale of importance' to say that a language teacher should be paid more than an English teacher or a science teacher more than a math teacher? I know some people who think art classes were the most important classes for their child. I also know students who say they got more out of competitive sports than any academic subject. If someone says, "Well common sense tells us…" That will never hold up in negotiations over a legal contract.
      I have recently needed plumbing and electrical work in my home. The rate for both was more that $125 an hour plus travel time. That equates to over $250,000 yearly salary. By the way, is there a 'scale of importance' that says a carpenter should be paid more than an electrician or an electrician more that a meatcutter?

    44. Winghunter says:

      Wisconsin schools buck union to cut health costs http://bit.ly/tCWsV0

    45. Guest says:

      Good Morning…my husband taught in the public school sector for 25 yrs before retiring (now serves as a substitute teacher because he feels his influence is still greatly needed). If there is one thing I have observed that stands out above all else ~ no respect ~ for either teacher or student. Teaching was formerly a profession, just like attorneys, doctors, sales reps, wall street brokers, etc., and teachers dressed accordingly. Today you can walk into most classrooms and find teachers in very relaxed dress, shorts, sweats, t-shirts… Why would we want to advance this attitude by increasing wages, benefits, etc. Teachers look sharp ~ act like professionals…

    46. Ben C. says:

      Remember than teachers work nine months of the year. My complaint with teachers and unions: 1) tenure is a bad idea and needs to be discontinued, 2) poltical indocrination of children needs to stop (my nine year old daughter just finished her project on "Core Democratic Values" – why not Core Democrac y Values, or Core American Values, or Core Constiutional Values? Subtle but effective indoctination), 3) the Department of Education needs to be defunded and local school boards empowered to adminster to their districts as they see fit, and finally 4), teachers be allowed to teach without the presence of classroom terrorism – out of control kids that occupy all of the teachers time.

    47. Palmer Galacier says:

      All teachers should be judged and evaluated objectively.

      Good, skilled teachers should be valued, and compensated fairly; poor teachers should be directed to other vocational opportunities.

      Unfortunately, the teachers unions view all teachers as the same, regardless of skilled or dedication to their students. Unions justify this vision of equanimity by virtue of some undefined “social fairness” doctrine.

      But, “life, the universe and everything” just ain’t fair! As in any endeavor, there are very good teachers and truly awful teachers; unions and tenure are cloaks hiding and protecting many of the latter.

      Unions pursue political power by virtue of the number and activism of their members. This is why we occasionally see teacher abandon their students to demonstrate and “sit in” the foyer of state capitol buildings.

      Teachers will never achieve the status as true professional or merit the respect of society they deserve as long as they continue to pursue those goals under the mantle of “organized labor”.

      Other professions (doctors, accountants, even lawyers) submit to rigorous review by peer organizations and professional standards licensing boards. They do not collectively organize posing as “oppressed workers”.

      My message to the good, dedicated, hard working teachers is:

      Throw off the burden of collectivism, abandon the drag of protecting the incompetent in your ranks and demonstrate the true value of your endeavors to the society. That will pay great dividends –in compensation and respect for your profession.

    48. Laurie says:

      Once again we have an article written by someone who has never had to stand in a classroom. As a teacher in a non-union state, I have no job security, I have not had a raise in 4 years and often have to buy school supplies out of my pocket. The medical care is so poor that the dental plan consists of an apple and a piece of string to tie to your child's loose tooth. I am blessed to have a husband with a secure job and good benefits. He, who makes nearly 2xs what I do, does not have near the education that I have so tell me how fair that is.
      I wonder how many have the patience or mettle to stand daily and be mocked, abused by both parent and child, be unsupported by your supervisors, work 14-18 hour days (I frequently am up til midnight grading papers or doing some admin task for AYP) and then be underpaid. We don't get paid for the summer or those holidays so let's get that right out in the open. If I had the power to go back and start all over, there is no way in this world that I would be a teacher as much as we are maligned and mistreated. Don't let the ones that make the headlines taint your view of the rest of us who are trying to educate your kids.

    49. Retired Lady says:

      Pay per merit will never happen! The teachers' unions must protect the weakest and most ineffectual teacher in order to retain the base. I have worked with public school teachers who are constantly absent from the classroom while special speakers lecture to the class, field trips are the norm whether relevant or not. Movies and special "Ed" TV are frequently used in the classroom rather than "teaching." If there are teacher aides or assistants even more frequently they are used rather than effective teaching. The effective teachers do, in fact, grade homework assignments, the ineffective, the ineffectual, and the lazy teachers do not!

    50. Steve says:

      Based on the standard value of performance our education system is failing our students. They claim it's lack of pay yet they make more than they ever had. They claim it is lack of support from parents. Yet they have more parent participation they ever. They claim it is everything but them. I did have teachers competing with me during the summer and even when school was in session. I did get their newsletter about the countries they visited during the summer. I heard how they went to advanced schooling while they were being paid as full time employees. I have attended
      School board meetings where the salary of a paid employee "A teacher enhancement official" was termed as indispensable but when I asked what this employee did, no one knew. The motion was passed to increase her pay in the mist of name calling and calling me anti education and a child hater. The superintendent of schools in my children's district made twice what the Governor of my state. In my book they are over paid. They should be paid by merit and the time they work. I had tenured teachers that read from the lesson book and gave us the test in the back on Friday. This is all the results of Teachers Union's who do not care squat about the education or students.

    51. geoman says:

      when it comes to teachers pay, all states are not equal. some states over pay and some under pay

    52. Counselprof says:

      Please check your facts before you paint all educators with a wide brush. I am very conservative fiscally and socially and resent this article. I am an administrator in Texas and make no where near $70,000. I have a master's degree with 2, working on 3, graduate level certifications and have 26 years experience. My district pays for none of my healthcare. And I work as hard as anyone I know in any job. Period. I work two jobs, teaching evenings at a local college to have money to pay for my children's education and enjoy a vacation every couple of years. Educators earn our keep. Especially those of us who make moral, ethical decisions on a daily basis with the level of stress we have.

    53. tina dewey says:

      What a one-sided article! I thought that Heritage usually told a balanced story. I am a teacher in Michigan. I have not had a raise, even a cost of living raise, for the last two years. In addition, I have always paid a portion of my health insurance during my seventeen years of teaching. Why the assault on teachers lately? Isn't there enough other topics to write about with a socialist president in office? A little support for the hard-working teachers would be appreciated!

    54. Ron Houser says:

      When we worry about the pay and benefits others are making are we not buying into the class warfare promoted by the left. Greed has two sides to it. Wanting what others have and wanting others to have less.

    55. maryallen says:

      Teachers make a good salary these days for only working nine months out of the year. I don't believe there should be a Teacher's Union so those who are failures as teachers can be replaced with teachers who WANT to teach for the sake of the children and not just a pay check. There are so many "burned out" teachers these days when there are so many who would do a better job. I speak from experience with teachers who just don't care to teachers who tell their class to bring chocolate candy to her. We need to weed them out or they need to get some training or inspiration to do their job right. Our children are missing a good education.

    56. buck says:

      Want to save a lot of money on teachers ? Get rid of all the socialist and progressive propagandists that have been destroying our youth for the last sixtie years and just keep the real teachers of reading , writing , math , science , and AMERICAN history , and not the revised version . It should not be hard , just ask every socialist under sixty who his teachers were and fire them , tenure should only be offered to educaters , not propagandists so that should not be a stumbling block .

    57. Bre Cregor says:

      In the United States of America, there is no longer a place for the conservative well-educated dedicated public school teacher. Conservative politicians and taxpayers are outraged by the unions, who they associate with ALL public school teachers. These same people also speak negatively of public school teachers, regardless of how much good they do behind the scenes (and after work hours). Liberal politicians often side solely with the unions, which do not always represent the best interests of public school teachers, when they go off on tangents, which only minutely connect to teachers or education issues. As a public school teacher in the state of California, I have been shocked at how little the public knows about how much teachers do, regardless of how much they get paid. Each year, I spend well over $2000 on my students and classroom, out of my own pocket. This is not unusual and this amount is modest, compared to other teachers I know. I stay after school hours after the union says I should go home, because in the end, I want what is best for my students. If American taxpayers or politicians have a problem with how much work teachers get paid for the ACTUAL amount of work they put in ( my husband is a small business owner, I know how much WORK TIME is wasted by private sector employees), well, I say take a dry erase marker, come get my truckload of base program resources and take over a "regular" classroom for a month. The reason teachers have so many "fringe benefits" has to do with the fact that VERY FEW people want to deal with what we deal with on a daily basis. The American tax-paying public has essentially had to "bribe" well-educated people to go into this most-often-thankless profession WITH health benefits and retirement, which are eroding away year by year. Most people in my own city do not know that teachers in our district have had pay decreases (via furlough days), that we have accepted paying more for our health insurance co-pays, that we will probably NOT see the retirement funds we were planning on ( our Governor is "making plans" at this moment to see this is accomplished), and that our annual pay increases have been indefinitely frozen. And do we work less hours? No. Do we act any less professional? No. Do we buy fewer resources for our students out of our own pockets? No. And yet, each year our student population becomes less interested in focusing on demanding subjects, like Reading and Math. Parents are more disrespectful towards teachers and detached from the academic achievement of their children. There are more drug babies than ever, more students from impoverished homes, more children with parents in gangs or in prisons, and yet we go on. If we ask for support, if we ask to preserve the salaries and benefits we earned through years of education and professional development, please do not begrudge us, until you walk in our shoes for even 20 school days. Now, I know there are those out there who will say, " We are not talking about you. You are a good teacher." To you I say, any negativity presented in the public arena regarding public teachers, which really is meant to target a MINORITY of the "bad" teachers, hurts the majority, which are good teachers, and makes it more difficult to inspire people to join this once noble and respected profession.
      { LIKE A SCAPEGOAT ON A PENDULUM is a pro-teacher documentary}

    58. Charles Perry says:

      You are talking about Union School Teachers. There is a huge different between union and non union teachers. Here in Georgia teacher are so load down with Federal, state and local paperwork ,than goes nowhere, they hardly have time to teach. My wife now retired, spent 10 to 12 hours a day at school and could hardly get it all done. Lots of teachers have to work weekends just to stay up with worthless paper work. They are all retiring as soon and they possibly can from burnout. Nninty percent of them have a masters and several specilized certificates also. Before you jump to conclusions in general do some more research at the schools. thank you and have a nice day

    59. Guest says:

      Please keep in mind that different states structure teacher pay differently. The district I work for pays a small portion of my health care costs and I pay the majority. I topped out at year 18 (ten years ago), with only very small state raises that do not come every year. Don't let the mass hysteria that is going after teachers' unions (of which I am not a member) lead you to believe that all school systems are the same. They most definitely are not. And please name one other profession in this country that bases nearly half of the salary of one person on the performance of another, who just happens to be a child! Everyone involved must be accountable, the teachers, the parents, and most of all, the students.

    60. Pam says:

      I have four grandchildren I have listened to my son and daughter complain about most of the teachers the children all have had or have now. Overworked? NO What a joke on the public and the people that are paying their salaries. where my kids live these over worked teachers want parents to bring them dinner in when they have their parent/ teacher conferences. When my daughter was a teacher, NO ONE brought her dinner in. They use the fund raiser money that is brought in for computers for them and many other supplies that really aren't needed but just nice to have. If you are a teacher that's your job TEACHING
      Over all these years my kids have seen more and more BAD teachers. Young teachers that really shouldn't be teachers because they have NO IDEA how to talk to kids of any age. The children I'm referring to are ages 10-17…………I've heard about all kinds of bad teachers more than good or great teachers. UNIONS need to GO It produces lazy lazy teachers who eventually don't really care because they have 10year so NO ONE CAN FIRE THEM and they know that no matter how bad they are or how unhard they work with KIDS

    61. June says:

      It has been this family's experience, over the years, that "most" teachers are paid far more than they're worth. When you put 4 children (in succession) through the same school system and, year after year, you find the "same single" inept teachers giving each child the "lack of attention", losing homework assignments passed in, not bothering to enter the students' grades in the parent portal (because they were "too busy", or just didn't have time) – -but then you, accidentally discover they're "dating" (on school nights), or taking extra days off (just because) and always "away" for the weekend – - -GIVE ME A BREAK! I don't know any other job that gives so- called professionals "paid work shops" (time off from school) and 2 months (or more) off in the summertime! From first hand experience I would say "Due to the lack of dedication shown" to actual student education, then 90% of teaches ARE over-paid. And I won't even go into the topic of progressive, racist, libnut professors!!

    62. walt says:

      ALL of the folks concerned about teachers making too much money are free to educate their children at home. You are also free to get an education degree and join the teaching ranks and fight the battle.

    63. Anne1123 says:

      You fail to mention that teachers only work 8 months out of the year, which would make a $75,000 salary be in fact $100,000!

    64. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      In junior high, I had a gym teacher who was also a science teacher. I think he was also an assistant football coach. I don't know how much he got paid.

    65. siarnne says:

      I challenge anyone with a more 'rigorous' education with more valuable resume skills to redo your family budget for standard annual teacher compensation in your state (hell, you can throw in summer school if you want) and then walk into a school with your purportedly superior education and intelligence and sense of personal discipline and teach a class in any subject for a week and prove that you can do better. Mind you a month of teaching means, six classes, an hour of planning each day (when the state doesn't decide to add another class to your schedule), Grade 150 pieces of homework a week on your time, buy school supplies out of your budget, take your continuing education credits to re-up your certification every two years, field calls from irate parents about your assignments, about your tests about your curriculum and then put up with people like the heritage foundation saying you took the job because you were academically lazy.

    66. Amanda says:

      I for one am sick of hearing how teachers are over paid and under worked yet they spent more time with your children than you generally do. Athletic stars get paid hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year and they do not have any affect on this countries future. Once America starts to realize this and demand they take pay cuts in order to benefit the general public then by all means come talk to me about how much teachers get paid.

    67. Greg Andrews says:

      Mr. Brownfield: Thanks for a thought provoking article.
      As a career changer (I rebuilt transmissions for thirty years) and a seventh-year teacher of English and Journalism, I would like to offer a few ideas on the topic of teacher benefits and salaries.
      The idea of chipping away at the benefit of full health care coverage is penny wise but pound foolish. Teachers work daily in a high risk- for- sickness environment. Teachers deserve the finest plans available.
      Mr. Brownfield, I am well aware that The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank and thus espouses more conservative viewpoints. However, I see a one-sided take on this issue here, and whether it is The HeritageFoundation or not, you have written a "news piece" that deserves a balanced approach.
      It was teachers who helped you hone the rhetorical skills necessary to prepare you for your impressive career. Sadly, now you seem to do the bidding of big business. Where is the teacher voice in this article? Where are those voices that call call for CEO salary reductions, or fairer corporate tax rules, or deeper funding for pre-school educational programs that will enable poorer kids to enter primary school on a more equitable level?
      It is not teacher salaries that are creating budgetary problems. It is poverty. In fact, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, cites poverty as the crux of the education problem. It is the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. It is unconscionable that minimum and middle class wage-to price-values have remained stagnant over the past 40 years while the top tenth percentile of wage earners have seen a continued rise in this area. No, we must not target teacher salaries and benefits. Our problems stem from the inability of some people who wield economic power and control, to admit that their successes have grown from the labor and purse strings of those from the lower economic tiers. Our present budgetary crises are weeds, fertilized by unchecked avarice and crassly and knowingly cultivated by a system that needs to experience what Dr. King called "A true revolution of values [that] will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth."
      Children born into poverty enter the classroom with serious language deficits. NPR recently reported that while the average child from an affluent family enters kindergarten with a 20,000 word vocabulary, the lower-middle to poor child enters with a 3,000 word vocabulary. This language and self-image gap–often follows the child for the rest of his or her public education. Trying to reverse this damage is a tremendous and nearly impossible task.
      Mr. Brownfield, in earning a doctorate of law at Loyola, and winning awards for your performance in constitutional and administrative law, I ask that you –as a journalist—make an attempt to include sources who advocate for actualizing a focused support for educators and thus our kids. This issue can be seen a Brown v. Board of Ed issue, but on a different level. These children, through no fault of their own, are not being afforded the same 14th Amendment protections (educational, social, health care, etc.) under law as their more affluent peers. Whether a constitutional case could actually be made regarding this is a matter for legal experts, but as a human issue, there is no doubt that the disparity is as equally reprehensible as was the 1954 case.
      Taxpayer money would be better spent on doing everything possible to level this playing field and thus support teachers in this war on poverty. Making laws to eradicate this gap through a more just wage system would also alleviate the stressors on teachers and society.
      Education is a proven deterrent to a life of crime and a proven vehicle toward healthy citizenship. I ask that you write pieces that also include voices who work toward supporting teachers in their effort toward attaining social and economic parity for their students.
      Only a more balanced approach can help us to develop the most powerful tool our children have–their minds. Include the left on these issues and help us build a system that offers a chance for a better world.

    68. Bill Nelson says:

      As a lifelong conservative and advocate of limited government, I am saddened to see the Heritage Foundation join the ranks of those working to dismantle public education and demean teachers. Teachers as a whole work hard in environments that members of a think tank would never tolerate. The idea that public school teachers are overpaid smacks of the elitism conservatives have long used to describe liberals. How much would Mike Brownfield expect to earn if had to work with 23 four year olds for seven hours each day in tight spaces, teaching them not only academic concepts but how to use the toilets, eat with forks, and interact appropriately with their peers. How much pension will governors Walker, Kasich, and Christie make for serving one term compared to the retirement benefits earned by teachers who dedicate decades helping young people reach their dreams. Conservatives will soon return to irrelevancy if they don't move beyond simply attacking people and ideas to offer real solutions to the challenges Americans face now and in the future. Our country needs problem solvers, not naysayers.

    69. recce1 says:

      I found out that my ex-wife, an excellent well qualified teacher (and my better half), could not get hired full-time. It seems that Connecticut schools save money thru manipulation of its lower substitute teacher pay schedule. Once a substitute teacher works a certain number of days without a break they qualify for full time teacher pay. So the schools will transfer a substitute approaching that qualification to another school or even another class in the same school and claim the substitute had a break in continuity and thus had to start all over to qualify.

      My ex was finally fired and blacklisted from teaching when she refused to apologize in writing to a black teacher who made a false charge of racial discrimination. In Connecticut political correctness has run amuck and if one challenges the system they will find or devise a way to retaliate.

    70. Patriot says:

      After having what you might call an intimate relationship with public education I've come to the conclusion that about 95% of teachers are grossly overpaid and receive too much in the way of benefits . Then factor in all of the " school breaks " such as Thanksgiving , a couple of weeks at Christmas , another week in February and another in April , all on top of summers off and unlimited " sick time " , well I'm sure there are millions of workers that would probably give up just about anything for that package . Under-paid and over-worked ? I don't think so !!

    71. miller says:

      End to the corrupt techers union!!!!! Let the states be responsible for our kids education.

    72. John says:

      Get your facts correct. Teachers in NJ contribute to their medical and pension plans. They may pay less than some private sector people, that's mainly because teachers negotiated for better benefits and took less in their salary as part of their contracts, when the private sector are getting much hire percentage increases in their take home pay. Teachers don't get paid enough. I challenge anyone of your staff to spend 6 months in a class room of 25 to 35 undisplined kids and then tell me if teachers are paid to much. Teachers are the back bone of our country. They should be paid more and treaty with greater respect so that we can continue to attrack quality teachers. Get your facts correct.

    73. GR American says:

      It seems about 20% of the teacher and really GOOD teachers. I agree that the Teacher Union and the NEA is all about $$'s and cares less about the QUALITY of Education. Further more what I don't like is that some how we feel that little Johnny and Mary need to have a BROAD education. What is wrong with getting the basics down so that little Johnny and Mary can write, read and do math.
      Sorry…but this country is in the shape it is because no one wants to work, can't wait to EARN something that might take years to get and is all about THEM…sorry there are some that do like to work…but it is a low percentile.
      As a 54 year old male I was taught 6 different forms of English, 8 different American History themes and some elective courses in the 70's that were just stupid.

    74. GR American says:

      What is wrong with the education that children were getting in the early 1900's? They KNEW how to write, do math and read…OR they stop going to school and started working at the end of 8th grade. Some became wise and went back to school, while others learned a craft and became good at it.
      The American Education system is broken. Teacher should be able to discipline the childern and there is nothing wrong with a spanking. I got the ruler over my fingers ONLY a few times…because I understood from it that the TEACHER had the authority and deserved the respect. Thanks to our courts trying to protect the children, they have actually made it worse for them and our country because of the poor students we are turning out.
      Teacher need to be given back authority in the classroom. Johnny and Mary need to respect the teacher OR get kicked out and forced to work. Maybe after a semester of doing manual labor as a 7th grader…just might light the fire that paying attention and doing homework is not such a bad thing after all.

    75. Carol says:

      I am a teacher in a non-unionized state. I am at work at 7am and do not leave usually until 5pm. I am lucky if I get a bathroom break between 7 and 2:30. I eat lunch with my students and supervise them at recess. I then take more work home and spend my money getting supplies that are not provided by the school system so that I can make sure that my students are getting the best education I can possibly give them. Like most of my coworkers, I not only spend my time and energy educating the children, but often I am spending my Saturdays at their soccer or football games to that they know there is someone who cares. I teach in a high poverty school but in my classroom, I demand the best from all. I will not allow them fail or quit. It is a draining, exhausting job and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    76. carol says:

      I have had parents threaten me, get in my face, yell, etc. Children have thrown things at me, brought razors to school and more. What other job allows their customers to treat their employees like that? Even McDonald's would kick out the customer. Yet we teach. We come back to work every day and work with these children and try to teach them how to get out of the environment they are living in. We teach them about perseverence and determination. We teach them all of this AND the mandated cirriculum as well. We deal with students who come in with lice, bedbugs, and various other ailments. We deal with the students who come in with a 103 fever and the parent who refuses to pick them up. We handle it all because we don't turn our back on a child. Yet you want to tell me I am overpaid? I made more in wages and tips waitressing in college!

    77. carol says:

      I challenge any of you to do what I do for a month and then you would begin to understand. Maybe teachers in the union states have some sort of utopian group of students they teach, but I doubt it. Schools today are not like the schools that you experienced growing up. Maybe you should go to some of the lower income schools and meet some of the teachers who go there every day and make a difference. Just for the record, I graduated in the top 10 percent of my class in high school, put myself through college and graduated college magna cum laude. Not everyone who teaches is an idiot!

    78. chad hannan says:

      Coaches of major college sports really rake in the big salaries plus high paying endorsements and often a nice bonas from sports boosters. Many receive more income than the President of the USA. Is this fair???

    79. Delaney T. says:

      Most teachers are saddled with more and more cuts every year. While yes, there are bad teachers out there, I've had a few myself, but many deserve much more than they receive. Every year they are expected to teach more and more to students who aren't always willing to learn or listen. You can't expect all children to learn there must be the desire to learn already present. They are blamed for much of societies problems however it's not their fault. There are bad and good people in every profession and anyone can agree. My suggestion to all of you who believe that teachers pay should get cut more than now, try to show some empathy to them because there are some wonderful great teachers out there who deserve much more than they have now. So before you judge, look at both sides of a story before being biased and narrow minded.

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