View Full Version : It's just a myth: 'underpaid' teachers (Chicago Sun-Times)

08-20-2010, 02:09 PM
An excerpt from the Chicago Sun-Times column (http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/betsyhart/2614154,ESY-News-EasyHart19.article) by Betsy Hart:

The Hollywood version of the overworked, underpaid teacher is the mother's milk of the teachers' unions... Yes, some teachers fit that description. But on the whole, it's a myth, and perpetuating the myth degrades teachers, their profession and our kids...

A 2007 report from the Manhattan Institute looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and found that... "The average public school teacher was paid 36 percent more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11 percent more than the average professional specialty and technical worker."

On average teachers also worked fewer hours per week, in the weeks they worked, than their professional peers. BLS statistics are designed to take into account all hours worked by teachers including those spent grading papers and preparing for class, and any hours spent on required extracurricular activities.

But the base pay is just part of the compensation package. Educator health benefits are gold-plated, and the pensions are staggering. Fully vested teachers in Illinois can retire with up to 65 percent of their average career salaries for the rest of their lives, with regular "cost of living" increases. Along the way, teachers have several months off each year to work elsewhere or not at all. And the unions make it almost impossible for a lousy teacher to get fired...

And so perpetuating the mythology that most teachers have a raw deal doesn't honor them at all, but only denigrates their profession and status. Worst of all, this agenda dishonors our kids by telling them they are not a public priority, when nothing could or should be further from the truth.

Most teachers, certainly here in Illinois, have well-compensated, comfortable, meaningful, secure jobs precisely because we value teachers. There are lots of problems with our education system. But the lesson here is that not taking good care of our educators sure isn't one of them.
To read the full article, click here (http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/betsyhart/2614154,ESY-News-EasyHart19.article).