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  • Are Public School Teachers Underpaid? (VIDEO)

    Last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that America’s public school teachers are “desperately underpaid” and called for a doubling of teachers’ wages. A similar theme is touted frequently by politicians, media, and education unions.

    But teacher compensation is much more than salary. The plush benefits given to public school employees are a large part of teacher compensation, especially pension benefits that are several times more valuable than typical private-sector retirement plans.

    Teachers also benefit from retiree health coverage—rare in the private sector—and strong job security. Taking benefits into account, public school teachers often end up with a more desirable compensation package than those with similar skill levels in the private sector.

    Teaching should offer competitive compensation and reward effective teachers, but rigid union contracts and benefit structures are impediments to rational reform. Rather than rewarding quality teaching, salary determinations and raises are often made across the board, regardless of performance in the classroom.

    In the following video, Heritage’s Jason Richwine discusses the problems with teacher compensation with Choice Media TV’s Bob Bowdon.

    To read more about teacher compensation, see “Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers” and “A Better Way to Pay: Five Rules for Reforming Teacher Compensation.”

    Teresa Shumay is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Are Public School Teachers Underpaid? (VIDEO)

    1. Bobbie says:

      the worth of public school teachers by common sense is the determination by the ones paying for them. But since it doesn't work that way, whatever entity is underpaid by government an entity is overpaid by government. People are worth more than this irresponsible, reckless behavior of government budgeting, financing, decision making, taken from our control.

      Stop the tax increasing cover that pays for costly corruption then slaps us in the face within the control of unconstitutional government authority. Correct and hold accountable by the peoples' constitutional restraints, at all times! Please stop the abuse!!

    2. LRod says:

      If teachers want more money, get a summer job!

    3. AmSocietyToday says:

      What is your evidence to support the claim that health care coverage is "rare" in the private sector? Don't about 55% of private sector jobs have health care coverage now down from about 70% a few decades ago? With the Affordable Care Act being declared constitutional, isn't this a moot point now? And according to the Wall Street Journal, teachers work about the same number of hours per year as the average private sector worker: http://www.americansocietytoday.blogspot.com/2011

      • Bobbie says:

        The "affordable health care act" is a tax. Taxes infringed by government is never moot. Especially when the "act" impressed by government control, intrudes unconstitutionally by abuse of authority to regulate freedoms and liberties where people inalienably, control their own!

        Lets use consideration when it comes to comparing teachers hours to private sector hours.

    4. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      He's right. Save a teacher. Fire a union.

    5. I. Emma Ripoff says:

      In Michigan the average government school teacher pay is more than $68,000 a year, for about 185 days or 925 hours of instructional work. The Walled Lake system has 100 staffers (including six janitors) paid more than $100,000 in base pay, plus huge benefits. In Lake Orion there are 21 making more than $100,000. The cost per student is just under $12,000 per year. Put 25 students in a classroom and the income is $300,000. If the teachers gets $100,000. where does the other $ 200,000 go? And never is it enough. Class sizes are down, cost per pupil doubled, but there are no improvements in instruction. America has the 2nd most expensive education in the world, but is 34th best in overall quality of instruction. Michigan ranks 37th in the nation. The taxpayers are being hosed, and America is losing its egde. It bodes bad for the future.

      • Bobbie says:

        my husband works in heavy labor at 40+ hours a week 52 weeks a year! he makes under 40k! and about 25k net due to over taxation by highly paid government! He gets 2 weeks a year and 5 sick days and fed holidays paid. we live in a household of 5 but claim zero in dependents just so we can get the deduction to have for the next year's property taxes which always helps but never enough! We're forced to take out of our retirement we both paid into! It's the only way we can sustain! While the government gets the interest! We're taxed more and more losing our independents caused by the government we have no use for, we can't afford and don't benefit from!! That's why it's appropriate for those that do benefit from unconstitutional government communism TO PAY FOR IT! sorry…

    6. James says:

      Yes, teachers are underpaid, and private sectors are even MORE underpaid.

      The fact that they continue to have benefits that are steadily disappearing from the private sector is an indication that the labor movement and society as a whole need to put pressure on the private sector to give its workers the treatment that all workers deserve, and that public-school teachers and other public workers have.

      A living wage, health benefits, a pension, and the protection of due process in workplace are things that EVERY worker has a right to.

      If the "leaders" of the private sector are so incompetent, so bumbling, or so morally deficient as to be incapable of making money while treating their workers the way they deserve to be treated, then it is they—not workers in other industries who are getting the things they deserve—who are the problem, and they who need to be replaced by competent and capable individuals.

      • James too says:

        written by a serial slacker, a true communist. Dont go out in the workforce and create a demand for your services…nope….they are "owed to you" I wish people like you had signs on your forehead so the hard working, more innovative among us could stop wasting time on you. No matter, in the end, you get left behind anyway!

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