How Media Misinforms People about Teacher Pay

Posted by dark_star 2 years, 6 months ago to Politics
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It's easy to show how little poor teachers earn if you simply ignore the full story and only report cherry picked statistics.
SOURCE URL: https://fee.org/articles/how-media-outlets-misinform-the-public-about-teacher-pay/


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  • Posted by elstonc 2 years, 6 months ago
    I taught in public schools for 24 years (I concluded my career last Friday). I came to see how so much money is wasted because market forces are not allowed to work. In my case, my pay scale increased with my years on the job and the additional degrees that I earned. Neither factor necessarily made me a better teacher. However, in the areas where I brought value (leading choirs, directing plays, organizing events, sponsoring clubs, etc.) , I was not paid. If my pay had been market-driven, and I was allowed to negotiate my salary based on my production, I believe that all involved would have been better off.
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    • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 6 months ago
      Good teachers suffer under union-school board agreements designed more to protect the incompetent than to recognize teaching skills and benefit to the students. Advancement by seniority kills performance and punishes the truly capable in any trade, which seems to have been recognized in manufacturing, with union membership in the single digits. Hopefully, school choice and charter schools will change that.
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      • Posted by elstonc 2 years, 6 months ago
        After 24 years of teaching in public schools, I have come to realize that education, like most everything, would be best treated as a commodity rather than a right, delivered by the private sector and subject to market forces. To me, school choice and charter schools are a compromise rather than a solution. They are better than what we have, but not as good as we could have. To have education out of the public sector is a pipe dream, one that I futilly indulge.
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  • Posted by craigerb 2 years, 6 months ago
    There are a lot of issues: Why have public schools? Why have parents with children in private schools or being home-schooled, pay for public schools also?
    But the main issue IMHO is: Why are public school teachers (or any government employees) allowed to strike for higher income? This is the root of the problem.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 2 years, 6 months ago
    although I largely agree with the conclusion, this is also a misleading set of data, and when someone fabricates data, it compromises the entire argument, which this author has done. No one who didn't already agree, is going to be swayed by this. So, "hooray again". We riled up a willing audience and did nothing for the overall cause.

    I work in the private sector, and our costs for an employee are also significantly more than their salary. No $shit, really? Yes, all companies are like this, and about 30% goes to the ridiculous regulat-apitablism we call health care.

    The key relevant points for teachers are:
    1. nine months a year work.
    2. pensions
    These two effects on their salaries count. The rest is irrelevant.

    My father was a high school physics teacher, and I made more my first year of working as an engineer, than he made his last year. That said, teacher's salaries are now out of control, particularly in certain areas, like here in MA, where starting teachers make more $ for 9 months than we pay starting engineers.
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    • Posted by elstonc 2 years, 6 months ago
      There may in fact be entry-level teachers who can command such a starting salary based on the value they bring to the school. My complaint is that such teachers are valued the same as all other entry-level teachers, based on a pay scale that is divorced from market forces. Teachers are generally paid for their years on the job and their degrees, rather than the value they bring. In my school, some of the most engaging, innovative, and productive teachers were the lowest paid, whereas some of the least effective teachers were the paid the most. The free market would not tolerate this.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 6 months ago
    Teachers aren't the problem. Thanks to mistaken efforts at social engineering, administrative staffing has exploded. When I went to high school, we had one principal for over 2,000 students, and the administrative staff were far fewer than the number of teachers. It's not unusual today for a school to have a principal for each year group in the school (4!), with the required support staff for each principal.

    Today the number of administrative staff averages about double the number of teachers. These parasites drain funds that should be directed at the classrooms. They also rob the pensions and benefits intended originally for teachers. When state legislatures try to find more money for their school system, it most often goes to add more administrative staff, instead of into the classrooms.
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    • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 5 months ago
      Agreed. The other problem is that "administrative" staff typically get paid far more than teachers and get most of the money allocated to education just so the political activists can keep harping on the need to pay teachers more. It's a vicious cycle that won't end until we eliminate the public education system as it currently stands - starting with teachers' unions.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 years, 5 months ago
        To show how blindingly corrupt the higher education system is, the president of Oklahoma University, a former Democrat governor, Created a new assistant administrative position overnight, with a quarter million dollar salary, for the loser in the 2010 governor's race (who was of course another Democrat). The universities in Oklahoma beg for more taxpayer money every year, even though they are one of the best receivers of alumni contributions in the country, and then jack up the tuition fees by double digit percentages. What makes this all the more ghastly is the fact that OK universities are highly ranked, and considered one of the lowest cost to students in the nation. Imagine how corrupt the higher education establishment must be for that to happen.
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      • Posted by 2 years, 5 months ago
        I'd start with the department of education.
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        • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 5 months ago
          I'd agree that both need to go. The unions agitate for continuously higher pay absent any real value while the NEA agitates for more money in general in spite of studies showing what actually works. They are both there to further their members using taxpayer funds irrespective of childrens' education.
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    • Posted by $ Solver 2 years, 6 months ago
      +1
      The progressive hierarchy of these equality authoritarians is extensive and they are way overpaid in relation to their value. They actually drain resources and devalue most teachers as well as education as a whole.

      It is an altruist sacafice of our children to the greater good of equalness.
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  • Posted by $ Ben_C 2 years, 6 months ago
    Anyone who owns and operates a small business knew this before the article was published. And anyone who owns and operates a small business says bull sh*t to the media. The problem with teachers is that they are pretty much immune to the fluctuations of the market place. Tenure has made them recession proof. I doubt any of them would survive running a business.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
      Agreed that the lack of direct market freedoms skews the context for the teachers. However, they are affected by changes in supply and demand. Districts and neighborhoods come and go in size. Classes become overcrowded and schools are closed for lack of enrollment. Also, new curricula are added. A few years ago, I gave a series of lectures to high school criminology classes. Those did not exist a decade earlier. At that school, they had six sections of AP Statistics, another subject not taught and certainly not in such volume, earlier. To fill the classes with teachers, they bid (within union rules, within government rules) to attract teachers to their district. As for those government rules, do not blame "the liberals." The State of Texas controls all public education from the state capitol. There is little local variance in methods and none in textbooks. A free market brings diversity of products and services. States with independent school districts do see a kind of competition and a kind of market.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 2 years, 6 months ago
    My uncle retired from a 30+ years teaching in public schools in 1985. At that time he was making more than $55,000 in annual salary for working 9 months a years. He got benefits of more than 25% an top of that- virtually free medical and dental care for life, and his pension was over 2/3 of his salary.
    I assure you that teacher pay has gone up substantially since 1985.
    Many public school teachers are overpaid baby sitters who deliver propaganda mindlessly that destroys the lives of the young people they brainwash.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
      So, was your uncle just some rotter? And if so, does that speak for all teachers? And if it were up to you, what would you set wages at? What would you pay a math teacher? A gym teacher? An art teacher. By what standard? How do you pick a good one?

      We had this discussion before about public education. The problem is the system, not the teachers. Private schools offer some relief in the landscape, but the problem with education in the main is the same as the problem in transportation in general. You can complain about the common culture, or you can manage your corner of it.

      Since 2012, I have served every year as a judge in our regiional science fairs. It is not much, but it is what I do. What do you do?
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  • Posted by $ Solver 2 years, 6 months ago
    Doesn’t it also depend on what the perceived value of what they teach? Imagine the deep resentment of someone that viciously believes that the value of their marxist teachings is worth so much more than some lucky guy that started a car company that won the “capitalist lottery.” Now imagine almost every left bent teacher thinking this.
    If it’s fair value they want, they should be charged heavily for schooling marxist ideology to children. Similar to criminals who hand out drugs to children.
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    • -1
      Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
      What you call "marxism" is just collectivism in general. Marxism is a specific set of theories that comprise an ideology and little of it is taught in school, even on purpose, and hardly at all by accident. Collectivisms of all kinds are easy enough to find. Most people accept most of the tenets without question. Most people think that morality is equated to altruism. Most think that philosophy is an intellectual pasttime that has no practical results. Most people think easily in terms of "them" and "us." Education is in the same problematic space as parks and recreation. It is just more consequential.

      And there is not much so-called "Marxism" in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Physical education is largely collectivist with its emphasis on team sports. But the entire physical education curriculum - the very idea of it - came from Germany in the 19th century. German education was very Kantian. (There'a great scene in the opening of All Quiet on the Western Front when Paul is listening to his high school teacher.) Ayn Rand identified Immanuel Kant, not Karl Marx, as her greatest enemy.

      If you want to solve this problem, you need to focus on the epistemological roots.
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      • Posted by $ Solver 2 years, 6 months ago
        No, I’m talking about Marxism, and it’s derivatives, as in preached by a professor in this summary video,
        https://youtu.be/Eo4rvxDwQZs

        Full lecture,
        https://youtu.be/t32xwMTDx9A
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
          And you could just as easily find some video from some white supremacist calling for the overthrow of our race-mixing communist government in Washington. So what?

          Public education suffers from no end of problems. Like Benjamin Franklin's post office and Benjamin Franklin's fire department, public education today is not what it was 250 years ago when the village parents paid a local someone they knew to teach their children. That model does not work today. It was always flawed by its collectivist foundation, but now the failure is all but complete. All we have are isolated exceptions of success.

          But in any case, you can no more blame the teachers than you can blame the groundskeepers in the city parks department for the failures of their institutions.

          (Why Public Spaces Fail -- https://www.pps.org/article/failedpla... )
          (How Boston Fails at Public Spaces -- https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2... )
          (A Failure in St. Paul -- https://www.twincities.com/2018/03/18... )
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          • Posted by $ Solver 2 years, 6 months ago
            I strongly suspect that if there was a video of a public teacher preaching to students how to be good supremacists and overthrow the government, that teacher would not be teaching and would likely be arrested. That is unless the supremacist color was not white.
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            • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
              It is easy to show the error in that claim. "El Rancho High School teacher and Pico Rivera City Councilman Gregory Salcido, who was recorded calling U.S. service members the "lowest of our low" in an anti-military rant in class in January, has been fired." -- http://abc7.com/education/pico-rivera...

              You appear to have an abiding interest in race and the relative position of the so-called "white
              race" in particular. The fact is that "race" does not exist; "race" has no scientific basis. Have you read Ayn Rand's famous essay on "Racism."

              "— the bum who boasts that his great-grandfather was an empire-builder, or the small-town spinster who boasts that her maternal great-uncle was a state senator and her third cousin gave a concert at Carnegie Hall (as if the achievements of one man could rub off on the mediocrity of another) — the parents who search genealogical trees in order to evaluate their prospective sons-in-law — the celebrity who starts his autobiography with a detailed account of his family history — all these are samples of racism ..."
              See here: https://ari.aynrand.org/issues/cultur...
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              • Posted by $ Solver 2 years, 6 months ago
                “You appear to have an abiding interest in race and the relative position of the so-called "white””

                Only in self-defense to those who use that race first. And then I typically demonstrate the hypocrisy of race baiters.
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  • Posted by fivedollargold 2 years, 5 months ago
    Fivedollargold loves to get under the skin of fellow teachers when they whine about their pay. "Why didn't you choose another career if you don't like the pay?" 99% of the time their response is, "I do it for the children." "So, if you are working for the children, why are you complaining about the pay?" They really get mad at this.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
    (1) "The media" is an unnanmed collective. Does "the Media" not include FEE itself as well as Fox News and Glenn Beck? The definition of "the Media" is missing: no one is identified as empowered to speak for all. And no analysis is provided to compare and contrast sources.

    (2) Why are you mad at teachers? As Newt Gingrich said about all government employees: these folks are your neighbors; they are not evil; they just have the wrong information system. Do you hate the city parks department, too? Refuse collectors? The problem is the institution in which they work. And it was "we the peiople" who created and empowered those structures. The problem is not gardeners or teachers, but the lack of an open market.

    (3) Was your high school physics teacher overpaid? How about the woman who taught you cursive? What was that worth to you in your life? Education is invaluable.

    (4) For every conservative who complains that public education is "Marxist" there is a real Marxist who points out that schools just train people to work at pointless jobs for low wages and then waste their money on consumerist junk in order to fuel the capitalist war machine. (Just sayin'...)

    (5) The original post and the first comments are just examples of "moral posturing" which has been discussed here in the Gulch.

    (6) Since 2012, I have been a judge in our regional science fairs. I have seen the outcomes. Teachers get paid pretty much the same everywhere. What counts most is the involvement of the parents in the education of their children. We have a Muslim "Peace Academy" here and a Jewish high school of course, and a slew of Catholic schools, naturally enough. Those parents made choices. The parents who only want babysitters are getting what they asked for. But you cannot fault the teachers for that.
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    • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 2 years, 6 months ago
      Presumably "the media" is the sources of information that are read/viewed by the majority of the people. Not a lot of people read FEE materials, quite a few more watch Fox News -- which is probably why the left is so determined to destroy it.

      One can be opposed to the educational system and the way money is spent without being opposed to the teachers themselves. Vast sums of money disappear into bureaucracies without making it to the classroom. Unfortunately the teachers union, supported by most teachers, strongly resists any effort to break up this governmental construction and allow the creation of smaller organizations.

      I do think that the attorney model of teaching might make more sense where teachers band together, hire staff and run schools rather than being employees of the state.

      And I do dislike the argument that what teachers do is very important -- unless someone wants to hold them responsible for the result, in which case it's not their fault. We've all been students and we are well aware that the quality of teaching varies significantly, but "teachers get paid pretty much the same everywhere" denies the quality of good teachers. It says "all teachers are the same" -- a collective view of the world.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 2 years, 6 months ago
        I am not clear on two points. You think that what teachers do is not important? ("And I do dislike the argument that what teachers do is very important...")

        Do you think that I was claiming that all teachers are interchangeable? My point was that teacher pay is not the determining factor in student outcome.

        As I said in the previous discussion on this topic, the fact that their salaries are set by political process forces them to negotiate for wages by the same means.
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        • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 2 years, 6 months ago
          Clearly teachers are important, the large union based structure which makes no distinction on quality when deciding pay is a problem.

          I was speaking to the idea that you can't simultaneously say that what you do is important and that it makes no difference because everything is based on parental influence and society.

          Good teachers make a difference. We should identify them and reward them -- but that means that some teachers will not be so identified and rewarded -- they will blame someone else for their failures.
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