Monday, March 31, 2014

Teachers are NOT underpaid

Sometimes I get tired of hearing over and over how underpaid teachers are.   Teachers in Maryland make an average of $46,000 for 190 days of work.   The average worker works 235 days.  That is subtracting 14 days (or 3 weeks) for paid holidays and 2 weeks for vacation.  In addition, teachers have a retirement plan that they can never outlive and for which the state and school district pay the bulk of the cost.  The same thing is true for their health care.  And there is one more thing, teachers are almost never fired.   So if they live and breathe, each year they get a step increase as well as a cost of living increase most years.  You can be the best teacher alive or the worst, and if you stay in the classroom your salary will just keep moving up.
That is not true for many workers in the real world.   Add to that the fact that teachers do not even work a 40 hour week.  Although they will tell you they put in long hours in class preparation.  The truth is that the more curriculum is systematized and spelled out for each day in these things called teaching guides, there is less and less that the teacher really has to create.
Now comes a winter from hell.  Most school systems have used many more days than were allotted in the original calendar.  So those districts are asking the state to waive or reduce the number of days schools need to be open.  If that happens, teachers will work fewer days but still receive the same pay.  Not so the hourly workers such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers and some classroom aides.  These people who are much lower paid to begin with will see their income go down even more.
There was a time when teachers were poorly paid.  They had to work during summer breaks to make financial ends meet.   That time has long since past but you wouldn't know it from listening to the moaning of the teachers' union who know only one song to sing- give us more money.
I do not believe test scores measure the ability of a classroom teacher, far from it.  But there needs to be some evaluation of teachers that is tied to pay.  If we still think of teaching as a profession, and some of us do not, then there needs to be compensation commensurate with performance.
That's how I see it teachers, stop your whining.

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