Are teachers underpaid or not?

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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:45 pm

Corth wrote:
Pril wrote:
Corth wrote:There are plenty of qualified teachers who have left the profession to earn more money elsewhere, and would return if the pay was better.


Corth wrote:Lets put it this way. None are underpaid. Why? Because the school district wouldn't be able to fill the position if they weren't offering enough money. The fact that someone voluntarily applied for the position and voluntarily took the job and continues to work there indicates to me that they are being paid sufficiently at minimum.



Corth are you even reading what you write? According to you if they are "underpaid" they should switch jobs. Then you write that many have "switched jobs and would come back if pay was better" yes yer absolutely right. Hence they are UNDERPAID and are not returning and if you PAID THEM MORE (as per your argument) they would return.


I did not say if they are underpaid they should switch jobs. I said that if they can make more money elsewhere, then all things being equal they should take another job. For instance, if they can be a human resources manager and make more money, and they don't have any preference over the two positions, then they should go take the human resources job.

If there were not enough teachers to fill all necessary positions, then salaries would increase, and some of those human resource managers might decide they prefer to be teachers. That is why there is no true teacher shortage. Anyone who says there is a teacher shortage is parroting propaganda. Just about every necessary teaching position is filled, and to the extent that any aren't, its not because there is a shortage but rather because the district is not offering enough money.

Teachers who agree to work for X dollars per year, are not underpaid, as they AGREED to work for X dollars per year instead of doing something else.



Districts can just magically offer more money without pissing off the voters now?

Interesting.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Pril » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:46 pm

Corth wrote:
Pril wrote:
Corth wrote:There are plenty of qualified teachers who have left the profession to earn more money elsewhere, and would return if the pay was better.


Corth wrote:Lets put it this way. None are underpaid. Why? Because the school district wouldn't be able to fill the position if they weren't offering enough money. The fact that someone voluntarily applied for the position and voluntarily took the job and continues to work there indicates to me that they are being paid sufficiently at minimum.



Corth are you even reading what you write? According to you if they are "underpaid" they should switch jobs. Then you write that many have "switched jobs and would come back if pay was better" yes yer absolutely right. Hence they are UNDERPAID and are not returning and if you PAID THEM MORE (as per your argument) they would return.


I did not say if they are underpaid they should switch jobs. I said that if they can make more money elsewhere, then all things being equal they should take another job. Teachers who agree to work for X dollars per year, are not underpaid, as they AGREED to work for X dollars per year instead of doing something else.


Corth,

I agree that if teachers can make more money elsewhere they should take other jobs. And they are which is why so many teachers are leaving the profession. Yes i understand that they agree to work for X dollars per year they have AGREED to work for that amount, HOWEVER if teachers were not underpaid then they would not be leaving the profession. Let's look at the ones leaving not the ones working for the argument Corth.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:47 pm

Yes, Sarvis. Potentially there is a HUGE surplus of teachers. If they raised teacher salaries, for instance, to 200k per year, you would have dozens of qualified applicants for each available position. Retired teachers would come out of retirement. Former teachers who left the proffession to become human resource managers would renew their licenses. College students would change their majors from Finance or Pre-Law to education.

The point illustrates that there is no shortage of teachers. The goal of the school districts is to pay the least amount possible to fill the available positions.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:49 pm

Pril,

Its not because they are underpaid that they are leaving the profession. Its that some of them can make more money and/or have a better quality of life doing something else. The same thing happens with doctors, lawyers, and jizz moppers. When all is said and done, however, the districts pay enough money to fill all necessary positions, and the people filling those positions do not have a gun to their head. There is no such thing as any free person being underpaid.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:56 pm

And if you're a teacher making less than median for your profession, chances are they're going to leave anyway. That does not even mean that they're leaving teaching, they may just be going to another jursidiction or school.

Pril:
You told me that a large number of teachers leave our county after one or two years. Like our friend AP. He left, but all he did was start working at another county's public schools :P
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Pril » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:01 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:Pril:
You told me that a large number of teachers leave our county after one or two years. Like our friend AP. He left, but all he did was start working at another county's public schools :P


I was referring to leaving the profession all together not being fired by a county and working in another one.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:11 pm

Corth wrote:Yes, Sarvis. Potentially there is a HUGE surplus of teachers. If they raised teacher salaries, for instance, to 200k per year, you would have dozens of qualified applicants for each available position. Retired teachers would come out of retirement. Former teachers who left the proffession to become human resource managers would renew their licenses. College students would change their majors from Finance or Pre-Law to education.

The point illustrates that there is no shortage of teachers. The goal of the school districts is to pay the least amount possible to fill the available positions.



No, the "point" illustrates nothing. By your logic every person in America should be shooting for a CEO job. Or every teacher should be running for President. They aren't. You and I aren't. There are, once again, a lot of other factors at work.

And again, if a district is having trouble finding qualified (and that word is important!) teachers they can't just raise the salary. To do that they have to get more funding, in and of itself a difficult process. To get that funding they most likely would need to raise taxes, at which point most people are going to complain. Especially you "taxes are theft" libertarian types.

So districts failing to raise salaries to $200k really tells us nothing about whether teachers are properly compensated or not.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Pril » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:21 pm

Corth wrote:Pril,

Its not because they are underpaid that they are leaving the profession. Its that some of them can make more money and/or have a better quality of life doing something else. The same thing happens with doctors, lawyers, and jizz moppers. When all is said and done, however, the districts pay enough money to fill all necessary positions, and the people filling those positions do not have a gun to their head. There is no such thing as any free person being underpaid.


Corth we seem to be looking at this from two different point of views. My view point is that a person who has a Masters degree, works 60-80 hours a week, has to take on the responsibility raising the children as well as educating them, is unable to use any discipline when raising the children because if they do the people who SHOULD be raising the children will sue them or complain to the administration about them. For all the crap they have to deal with they should be paid more. I understand that they have agreed to work for that amount, however they should still be paid more.

EDIT:
As an example one of my friends worked at a school where a student started to hit his teacher with their recorder. Administration of the school sucked. Student got nothing teacher couldn't touch the student to even restrain them or the teacher would of been fired. Yeah it sucks and yeah they don't get paid enough to deal with crap like that.

What ever happened to the good old days when you would act up in school the teacher would smack you, you'd come home tell your parents and they'd smack you instead of suing the teacher?
Last edited by Pril on Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:26 pm

I worked my first two years in a public school. It was a lower middle class neighborhood. I didn't have to prepare as much for my daily job because what was required of me, what they wanted me to teach, was poop. The typical 'HOLA ME LLAMO JOHN' garbage for people who already spoke the language. I had very little to do to prepare for the classes, the grading was easier, and I got paid pretty well since I started with a Masters with a year of university teaching experience. The ambience, however, sucked hard. 60% or more of the class had zero interest in learning, even why I tried to up the level of material being taught. They had been used to 9 years of sub-standard coursework and had gotten lazy. Any attempts at giving them advanced coursework or more homework were criticized because they "couldn't handle" it or had too many issues at home to deal with doing homework every day, etc. etc. Two years and it sucked. I won't even mention some of the crap that I saw happen in other teachers' classrooms and outside the classroom.

If I just showed up each day Sarvis and did what was "expected" of me, that was money easily made, since I barely did jack squat. The discipline sucked, but since I barely smile in class, I didn't have any MAJOR issues in MY classroom.

Now, I don't even know the meaning of poor conduct, because I have never seen it. But, my coursework has tripled? I spend a week of my Christmas break grading papers. It's more WORK. It's HARDER material being taught and HARDER to finish everything I need to do each day than it was before.

I know what you are trying to imply, but trust me man, you're completely wrong on this. People who don't make it here are those teachers who try to use public school standards, where we expect much higher ones. Teachers who assign little work, teach simple things, etc. They have a life span here of two years usually.

Doing my JOB might be easier, but my JOB is harder. Maybe that helps.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:34 pm

Teachers are underpaid by around $10,000. It is the most logical, rational number I've come up with in all my years of seeing what my friends do, doing what they do, etc. I feel the numbers used for teacher salaries are 20 years too old.

You're wrong on this Corth, and I back you up 90% of the time. People keep teaching because they LOVE TEACHING every day, regardless of the fact that they are getting paid a salary that doesn't reflect the energy spent or the long-term responsibilities of the vocation. I could go to public school and be paid more, but then we go back to my points in the other posts. I could teach less each day, grade less each day, and say that I'd do that to compensate for the amount they pay me. But I don't, because what I do is more important than what is paid to me; underpaid to me.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:40 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:And if you're a teacher making less than median for your profession, chances are they're going to leave anyway. That does not even mean that they're leaving teaching, they may just be going to another jursidiction or school.


ANY teacher, ANY, who has left our school (not kicked out) has left because of monetary reasons to pursue another career. Over the past 4 years we've lost teachers who have been here for many years to: Insurance Salesman, Financial Planning, and two to Law. I.E. money. In one case in particular, I know it was a matter of not being able to make ends meet at home anymore, not a question of not truly loving the vocation,.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:02 pm

Adriorn,

I understand your point that you feel that the content of the work justifies additional pay. Pril is making the same point as well.

I respectfully disagree with it. People break their back as day laborers and get paid $10 an hour. By that logic they should get paid more as well. Lawyers sit at desks and write threatening letters. By that logic, they should get paid a lot less.

But thats an impossible way to determine compensation. What do you want, the government to form a committee to evaluate the societal benefit of everyone's labor and determine what each profession should be paid? Of course not.

There are plenty of qualified day laborers, and if Tom demands $15 per hour, I'm going to hire Bill who demands $10 per hour. Thats the job market. The market is what determines what someone's time is worth, and that is the only way for compensation to be set beside some governmental committee, and we don't want that.

In the education context, as an employer, I want to hire the most qualified individuals for the least amount of money. And somehow, although you believe that your work is worth $10,000 more per year than what they are paying you, your employer is able to fill those positions. Enough qualfied people love teaching enough that they are willing to work for the pay being offered. Would you expect employers to pay more, just because, you know, its an honorable profession? If I were your boss should I pay you more than you would otherwise work for, just.. because?

Fact of the matter is that the job market does not discriminate between day laborers, teachers, or any other profession. Its a supply and demand issue all the way. Maybe teachers are willing to work for less than they could make elsewhere because they love the profession. Well, there is value in that sort of quality of life decision. If at the end of the day your job wasn't worth it, you wouldn't do it. Its the same thing for day laborers, jizz moppers, or anyone else.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:09 pm

This one was hard to find, so:
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007307.pdf


Year vs. Teachers
88-89 2,386,500
91-92 2,553,500
94-95 2,555,800
00-01 2,994,700
04-05 3,214,900

So, about that teachers leaving the profession thing...
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:15 pm

Corth wrote:Lawyers sit at desks and write threatening letters. By that logic, they should get paid a lot less.


I don't think you'll find many who disagree with that! :P

But thats an impossible way to determine compensation. What do you want, the government to form a committee to evaluate the societal benefit of everyone's labor and determine what each profession should be paid? Of course not.

There are plenty of qualified day laborers, and if Tom demands $15 per hour, I'm going to hire Bill who demands $10 per hour. Thats the job market. The market is what determines what someone's time is worth, and that is the only way for compensation to be set beside some governmental committee, and we don't want that.

In the education context, as an employer, I want to hire the most qualified individuals for the least amount of money. And somehow, although you believe that your work is worth $10,000 more per year than what they are paying you, your employer is able to fill those positions. Enough qualfied people love teaching enough that they are willing to work for the pay being offered. Would you expect employers to pay more, just because, you know, its an honorable profession? If I were your boss should I pay you more than you would otherwise work for, just.. because?


Why not just hire a bunch of Mexicans to teach our kids? Can't get any cheaper than that!

Damn... I guess I'm borrowing from South Park, aren't I.


Fact of the matter is that the job market does not discriminate between day laborers, teachers, or any other profession. Its a supply and demand issue all the way.


Everything is a S&D issue to someone who chooses to ignore every factor that doesn't fit his mold. Good thing it isn't people like you who design airplanes and space shuttles. Air friction is a bitch, even if you don't have to account for it in grade school science class.


Maybe teachers are willing to work for less than they could make elsewhere because they love the profession. Well, there is value in that sort of quality of life decision. If at the end of the day your job wasn't worth it, you wouldn't do it. Its the same thing for day laborers, jizz moppers, or anyone else.



And all of the good teachers Adriorn's school has lost to becoming HR personell or lawyers? Are we really better off having our children educated by the leftovers?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:19 pm

1996 Teachers
Digest of Education Statistics, 2001

Willingness to teach again:
Certainly Would 32.1%
Probably Would 30.5%
Chances About Even 17.3%
Probably Would Not 15.8%
Certainly Would Not 4.3%

I would have to say, that at this point, on a national level, you would not be able to argue that teachers are abandoning the profession.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Pril » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:20 pm

Corth,

That is the issue. School systems are accepting "qualified" applicants. If a job is looking for someone with an MCSE certification and I go out and find brain dumps and take the tests and pass them I am "qualified" by their standards, yet i still know dick about how to do my job. A good number of teachers are like that. Ask Teflor about his AP Psych teacher in High School.

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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:21 pm

Pril,

That is not different from ANY profession.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby avak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:30 pm

Corth wrote:Pril,

Its not because they are underpaid that they are leaving the profession. Its that some of them can make more money and/or have a better quality of life doing something else. The same thing happens with doctors, lawyers, and jizz moppers. When all is said and done, however, the districts pay enough money to fill all necessary positions, and the people filling those positions do not have a gun to their head. There is no such thing as any free person being underpaid.


Corth, you never replied to a point I made earlier....and I believe it is fundamental to the discussion. Pay discrimination based on gender or race is a real issue. A woman doing equal work but not receiving equal pay is being underpaid. Plain and simple. The reason, which breaks outside of your elegant model, is that they often do not have full access to information....or as others are pointing out, there are a nearly infinite number of other factors.

Now, you can argue that, even if pay discrimination exists no employee is being forced to take a job. That is true, but now we are getting into a semantic discussion about the nature of being 'underpaid.'

The essence of the discussion, imho, is that you can't have it both ways. If the market is capable of over-paying, it is capable of under-paying. There is just no rational argument otherwise.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:35 pm

avak wrote:If the market is capable of over-paying, it is capable of under-paying. There is just no rational argument otherwise.


The market itself is not a rational argument. There is no market, there are people. People make decisions, not the invisible hand. My old manager decided to pay me less than I could have gotten elsewhere (if I didn't suck at interviewing.)

Some managers pay people less because of their gender.

Some people accept less because they are struggling and have few options.

We're talking about PEOPLE, who make mistakes and bad decisions and don't have all the information. Not some invisible entity that magically makes everything right by applying the magic supply & demand formula.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby avak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:47 pm

Oh no, I agree with you Sarvis. I just think that at the bottom of it all there is a rational decision making process. Ultimately, that is what fuels the market. I still think (and maybe I'll just do it someday) that we would have an awesome discussion about our fundamental views on things like rational motivation and the economy.

So, for example, I agree with Corth in the sense that any employee will choose their best option. Now, as you pointed out, they may not have many options, they may not have complete access to information or they may be sacrificing for a future payoff, etc...but at the end of the day, we are all inherently bound to act in what we deem to be our best interest.

We're just not being tidy in this discussion. Being underpaid or overpaid is a simple discussion. Probably best started at a full understanding of what the definitions of those words are. Clearly people are using various definitions within this thread.

The idea that a teacher -should- be paid more for what they do, based on some moral perspective or based on a desire to invest in our future, is completely legitimate. It is also completely separate from the idea that market is working efficiently or inefficiently. My reading is that Corth is arguing the market is essentially working efficiently. I disagree based on some key evidence. That is all!
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:48 pm

Avak,

I must have missed your post. Heh, if you could quote it for me I would appreciate it :)

Its a difficult subject you bring up regarding gender discrimination. Studies have shown that it continues to exist, although it is leveling out over time. I sometimes wonder, and I don't have anything to support this theory, but I wonder if perhaps men are more sought after as employees, perhaps unconsciously, because female employees can be costly with regard to maternity leave. You have to hire a temporary employee and train him/her, perhaps for an extended period of time. As a small employer, that is something i would be concerned about if I were thinking of hiring a woman of child-bearing age. Not that I am justifying such discrimination, but I think there could be some logic behind it.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:49 pm

Avak,

I actually agree that the market when it comes to teachers is not working efficiently. Why? Because government is involved and it has no profit motive. Teacher compensation would probably be quite a bit less if education was privatized.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby avak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:55 pm

Corth wrote:The point illustrates that there is no shortage of teachers. The goal of the school districts is to pay the least amount possible to fill the available positions.


No profit motive? Maybe not in the same sense as a private industry.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:56 pm

avak wrote:Oh no, I agree with you Sarvis.


I was agreeing with you, and building on what you said. It was meant to be directed at Corth... sorry if I was unclear. :(
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:58 pm

avak wrote:
Corth wrote:The point illustrates that there is no shortage of teachers. The goal of the school districts is to pay the least amount possible to fill the available positions.


No profit motive? Maybe not in the same sense as a private industry.


Thats right. Because in private industry every cent that I don't pay you goes into my pocket. So as an employer I have a very strong incentive to pay you as little as possible. In the public sector, wasteful expenditures are more the rule than the exception.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:01 pm

Corth wrote:Avak,

I actually agree that the market when it comes to teachers is not working efficiently. Why? Because government is involved and it has no profit motive. Teacher compensation would probably be quite a bit less if education was privatized.



And teacher quality, under the lowered salary?

The good one's running off to be lawyers like Adriorn's ex-coworkers...?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:22 pm

Governments still have to operate within markets. They still have to provide pay competitive with similar industries, or industries that require similar skills.

And markets are people.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:22 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:And if you're a teacher making less than median for your profession, chances are they're going to leave anyway. That does not even mean that they're leaving teaching, they may just be going to another jursidiction or school.


ANY teacher, ANY, who has left our school (not kicked out) has left because of monetary reasons to pursue another career. Over the past 4 years we've lost teachers who have been here for many years to: Insurance Salesman, Financial Planning, and two to Law. I.E. money. In one case in particular, I know it was a matter of not being able to make ends meet at home anymore, not a question of not truly loving the vocation,.


I appreciate that it is that way at your school, but don't you think that just what happens in your local jurisdiction may not necessarily apply to the nation as a whole? Take for example, inner city schools, where the new teacher (1-3 years) attrition rate is often over 50%. It is highly likely that these teachers are simply finding better schools to teach at, and in fact, the national statistics seem to support my theory.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:51 pm

Sarvis,

You are correct to some extent about teacher quality. I'll use my own local long island market as an example. As I mentioned before, they pay something like 30% more than the nearby city schools. As a result, there are sometimes hundreds of applicants for a single position. Extremely competitive. They get to cherry pick the best of the best. On the other hand, property taxes here are off the wall. Your typical mid-priced home has something like $12k per year in real estate taxes.

The conclusion is that the local districts here make it a priority to get the best of the best, and pay dearly for it. Each community has to essentially make a value judgment about how much they want to pay for better teachers. But say, for instance, it decides that it isn't willing to pay $100k per year for teachers, and doesn't want $12k taxes on a mid-priced home. Well, thats a legitimate decision IMHO.

Let me put it another way. If school districts paid $200k per year for teachers, you would have some very bright people who might have otherwise become doctors, hedge fund managers, or whatever, decide to pursue an education degree instead. Or say they paid $1 million a year.. you get the point. But is that a prudent expenditure of taxpayer funds? Would taxing mid-priced homes $50k per year justify the marginal increase in teaching talent? I'm not so sure.

I attached an image of last year's compensation schedule in my wife's district. Its a public record, so I may as well put it here (but I redacted the name of the district). As you can see, the salary tops out at $113k with 17 years of service, a master's degree, and 60 additional credits. Its actually more because you would get paid $1898 for a second master's degree, or $3,749 lump sum for every 10 credits over MA+60. This year I think the top of the chart is closer to 120k. The typical teacher in that district is making around 80k base plus additional monies for summer school, clubs, teaching inservice classes, etc. Anecdotally, probably about 30% of the teachers in the school are making $100k or more. This is what we get for crazy high RE taxes. Its a value judgment on the part of the community. I think that perhaps its a little bit overboard.. that the marginal benefit of having more qualified applicants does not justify the increased cost.. but I am certainly not complaining. :)

BTW, the credits after master's degree are generally free. They are done in-house. No tuition expenses.

Keep in mind also, that in addition to these salaries, they get an awesome pension (better than anything you will find in the private sector), and the other benefits including health, disability, life insurance, etc, are not to laugh at either.

Image

Edit: Forgot to mention. All this and they work 180 days a year.
Last edited by Corth on Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:59 pm

As I stated in a previous post, my examples might, or might not, apply to other cities. But living in Miami, this isn't a small town I'm talking about.

We have commercials on TV and on the Radio targetting people who might be interested in teaching. They are paid for by the County, after having a shortage of teachers. The program helps them with training and who knows what else, as I didn't really pay much attention to them. Does your county advertise looking for teachers? We have the same problem here with nurses, btw.

Corth said, "If school districts paid $200k per year for teachers, you would have some very bright people who might have otherwise become doctors, hedge fund managers, or whatever, decide to pursue an education degree instead. Or say they paid $1 million a year.. you get the point. But is that a prudent expenditure of taxpayer funds?" I think DEFINATELY. Corth said 100k for a teacher is too much. I think someone with 15 years of experience as a teacher, that actually is a GOOD and KNOWLEDGEABLE teacher, can certainly hope to earn that much. We pay doctors alot of money because they have our physical life in their hands. As teachers, we have the future partially in our hands to a degree. I think that if we want to have a badass American society, we MUST place teachers in an adequate level financially. But, with the high pay should also DEFINATELY high expectations and high standards. Perform as a teacher or bye bye.

One of the first things my graduates tell me when they pass by to visit after starting college is how prepared they feel for their classes, and how poorly educated and prepared many of their peers sound. That's sad to realize.

Mind you, Corth, I don't even work in public school, nor would I. But to have a true wonder of a civilization, the school system here needs to be fixed, and pronto.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:06 pm

By way of comparison, here is a link to the NYC teacher compensation schedule. They recently increased salaries there significantly, but notice that you dont get to 100k until 22 years in with MA+30. A teacher at my wife's district will make that much after 14 years with the same MA+30.

http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/72DE1FF1-EDFC-40D7-9D61-831014B39D1E/0/7TeacherSalarySchedule.pdf

This is a great example because its the same job market. Many of the teachers in NYC live in LI, and vice versa. LI districts pay substantially more so that they can get a huge applicant pool and cherry pick the teachers perceived to be the best. I am not so sure that this additional money is being used wisely. I think the marginal increase in teaching talent does not justify it. LI schools do well not because the teachers here are any better, but because the students come from wealthier families.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:09 pm

Adriorn,

Our disagreement is on the value judgment of just how important it is to attract more talented people to be teachers. I happen to think that the teachers we have today, at the pay they voluntarily accept, are quite sufficient. I don't think our children are suffering, generally, due to incompetent educators. I don't think paying more money to teachers would result in significantly more talented teachers. Thus, I think as a matter of fiscal policy, the government should not pay more of the taxpayer's money than what the market would otherwise bear.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:30 pm

Corth wrote:Sarvis,

You are correct to some extent about teacher quality. I'll use my own local long island market as an example. As I mentioned before, they pay something like 30% more than the nearby city schools. As a result, there are sometimes hundreds of applicants for a single position. Extremely competitive. They get to cherry pick the best of the best. On the other hand, property taxes here are off the wall. Your typical mid-priced home has something like $12k per year in real estate taxes.

The conclusion is that the local districts here make it a priority to get the best of the best, and pay dearly for it. Each community has to essentially make a value judgment about how much they want to pay for better teachers. But say, for instance, it decides that it isn't willing to pay $100k per year for teachers, and doesn't want $12k taxes on a mid-priced home. Well, thats a legitimate decision IMHO.

Let me put it another way. If school districts paid $200k per year for teachers, you would have some very bright people who might have otherwise become doctors, hedge fund managers, or whatever, decide to pursue an education degree instead. Or say they paid $1 million a year.. you get the point. But is that a prudent expenditure of taxpayer funds? Would taxing mid-priced homes $50k per year justify the marginal increase in teaching talent? I'm not so sure.

I attached an image of last year's compensation schedule in my wife's district. Its a public record, so I may as well put it here (but I redacted the name of the district). As you can see, the salary tops out at $113k with 17 years of service, a master's degree, and 60 additional credits. Its actually more because you would get paid $1898 for a second master's degree, or $3,749 lump sum for every 10 credits over MA+60. This year I think the top of the chart is closer to 120k. The typical teacher in that district is making around 80k base plus additional monies for summer school, clubs, teaching inservice classes, etc. Anecdotally, probably about 30% of the teachers in the school are making $100k or more. This is what we get for crazy high RE taxes. Its a value judgment on the part of the community. I think that perhaps its a little bit overboard.. that the marginal benefit of having more qualified applicants does not justify the increased cost.. but I am certainly not complaining. :)

BTW, the credits after master's degree are generally free. They are done in-house. No tuition expenses.

Keep in mind also, that in addition to these salaries, they get an awesome pension (better than anything you will find in the private sector), and the other benefits including health, disability, life insurance, etc, are not to laugh at either.

Image



Quick response until later: You're posting a district in NYC, where $100k really doesn't sound like much. The guy who had my job before me is got his masters and went to NYC to start at $100k. So what you're telling me is that a starting job as a computer programmer _should_ be valued more than a person with multiple masters degrees and 17 years experience who ALSO determines the quality of our workforce in the next generation?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:33 pm

Corth wrote:Adriorn,

Our disagreement is on the value judgment of just how important it is to attract more talented people to be teachers. I happen to think that the teachers we have today, at the pay they voluntarily accept, are quite sufficient. I don't think our children are suffering, generally, due to incompetent educators. I don't think paying more money to teachers would result in significantly more talented teachers. Thus, I think as a matter of fiscal policy, the government should not pay more of the taxpayer's money than what the market would otherwise bear.


When you say the children aren't "suffering" are you looking mostly at Long Island? Again, look at those inner city schools. How are those kids doing? How are we doing nationally, when compared to other countries?

Oh yeah: BADLY. Very badly.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:37 pm

Yes Sarvis. If computer programmers are getting paid $100k to start then there must be more demand for them than teachers relative to supply.

Also, before moving to the LI district, my wife worked in an inner city school. The problems there are not the quality of the teachers. Rather, its the quality of the students, or more specifically, the student's parents. Paying the teachers more there, imho, would not result in great improvements. There are deeper issues than teacher compensation.
Last edited by Corth on Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:43 pm

Corth wrote:Yes Sarvis. If computer programmers are getting paid $100k to start then there must be more demand for them than teachers relative to supply.

Also, before moving to the LI district, my wife worked in an inner city school. The problems there are not the quality of the teachers. Rather, its the quality of the students, or more specifically, the student's parents. Paying the teachers more there, imho, one not result in great improvements.


I didn't ask about _demand_ Corth, I asked about <i>utility</i>. Are you going to argue that a lazy computer programmer is worth more than a good teacher to our society?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:54 pm

I don't think you, me, the government, or anyone else has the capacity to decide what someone's time is worth. I'm not ready to say that doctors are more important than teachers who are more important than lawyers who are more important than computer programmers. I'm certainly not prepared to have a government committee decide what is an acceptable wage for each profession and impose it upon employers. The market is the only mechanism capable of making that decision. If there are not enough teachers, teacher salaries increase, and then there are enough teachers. If there are not enough computer programmers, the same thing. Or if there are too many computer programmers, then wages decrease and some computer programmers become.. maybe teachers. If the market wasn't there to set wages based upon supply and demand, you would have huge surpluses of one profession, shortages of another, and the economy would be in shambles.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:40 pm

Corth wrote:I don't think you, me, the government, or anyone else has the capacity to decide what someone's time is worth.


That's not true, you think anyone who hires someone can do so. That's your entire argument: People are offering the "correct" amount for a given candidate.

I'm not ready to say that doctors are more important than teachers who are more important than lawyers who are more important than computer programmers. I'm certainly not prepared to have a government committee decide what is an acceptable wage for each profession and impose it upon employers. The market is the only mechanism capable of making that decision.


The market does not exist. It is not a computer evaluating things. It is a concept, nothing more. It decides nothing. Individuals are making every decision you are trying to attribute to the "market." Teachers in your district make $100k after 17 years because the government decided that would be so. Teachers in Adriorn's school are making what they do because the owner of that school decided it would be so.

People are making these decisions.

The same people you said above were not qualified to do so.

If there are not enough teachers, teacher salaries increase, and then there are enough teachers. If there are not enough computer programmers, the same thing. Or if there are too many computer programmers, then wages decrease and some computer programmers become.. maybe teachers. If the market wasn't there to set wages based upon supply and demand, you would have huge surpluses of one profession, shortages of another, and the economy would be in shambles.


Have you looked around lately?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Corth » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:47 pm

I'll let you have the last word on that one Sarvis.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:56 pm

*pat Corth*

I wonder... if the teachers a few generations ago had been better, would our current crop of bankers and CEOs have made so many mistakes as to bring down our economy?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:51 pm

I hold 5 major industry certifications and about a dozen pre-requisite ones. It is very easy for me to go out and find what the average salary is for a Unix administrator or an Oracle DBA (some of the highest in the industry). If I'm employed as a network admin am I being underpaid even though I hold these certifications? If I choose to take a helpdesk position because I like working with customers, should the company pay me like a DBA?

I made a moderately high salary at various points in my career. When I left for Japan I was making six figures, when I came back I took a job for $17 an hour. Was I underpaid? I changed jobs a few times and was in the high 80s, then I quit and moved to Oregon and took a job for $19 an hour. Was I being underpaid? I was working for the government at that time, so I guess I was really underpaid. I moved from there took an entry level position at a hospital. Was I being underpaid there too?

All these different times in my life, was I being underpaid? Who's responsibility was it to make my pay correct? If teachers are underpaid, then they need to go somewhere else and get paid what they are worth.

so again

what exactly are these skills / responsibilities that are in high enough demand that justify teachers needing to be paid more even though there are plenty of people to fill the job? If they are unwilling to give up the stability, the union protections, the benefits or even the kids they love, then they are paid what is appropriate.

I was hoping someone would bring up parental involvement and wealth in the incentives and performance pay discussion... if parents are the key to kids succeeding in education, then what exactly are teachers paid for or why exactly should they be paid more?

The very point of this thread is to get past this social programming we are taught throughout our lives, that teachers are underpaid. What specific job or skill or responsibility do they have that justifies more pay?
Last edited by kiryan on Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:15 pm

kiryan wrote:what exactly are these skills / responsibilities that are in high enough demand that justify teachers needing to be paid more even though there are plenty of people to fill the job?


Teaching a generation of bankers to be smart enough NOT to bet the entire economy on high risk, poorly understood "credit swaps" maybe?

Plenty of people does not translate to plenty of qualified people, either by the way.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:18 pm

Blaming the bankers again. Next the government for not "regulating" . How about teachers for not teaching the consumers how to read a contract and what compound interest is?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:21 pm

Be careful what you ask for, if people were smart enough to figure out CDOs then they might see that emperor Obama has no clothes.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:35 pm

kiryan wrote:Blaming the bankers again. Next the government for not "regulating" . How about teachers for not teaching the consumers how to read a contract and what compound interest is?


Consumers weren't the ones buying credit default swaps or lending money to people who couldn't afford to pay it back.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:35 pm

kiryan wrote:Be careful what you ask for, if people were smart enough to figure out CDOs then they might see that emperor Obama has no clothes.


Interesting choice of metaphor, considering the latest Palin scandal...
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby avak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:43 pm

Oh, I figure I'll give this one more shot.

Some of you are arguing about a values question while some of you are arguing about a market efficiency question. And then some of you are casually mixing the two questions to suit your needs.

Question One, Values - Are teachers paid too much or too little based on what they are asked to do and the skills necessary for that job?

Clearly, if you answer that from a free market perspective, the answer is mostly 'no.' About the only wrenches in the works are pay discrimination and then a pretty complex issue around school resources (inner city schools and rural schools). But, if you answer it from a more humanistic perspective, then it is easy to see why someone would legitimately argue that teachers are underpaid. A child's education to our country's economy is like compound interest is to a long term savings plan...the more you put in and the earlier you put it in, the greater the benefit.

Question Two, Market Efficiency - Does the American free market system properly compensate teachers?

Again, you'd have to admit that the answer is mostly 'yes.' In fact, I originally took interest in this discussion because of the logical contradiction that one can be overpaid, but not underpaid. The fact is, in most cases, the market seems to be doing a decent job of compensating teachers -or- we would see wild discrepancies in the private schooling sector, which we don't.

But, if you look at the second question from a more humanistic perspective you're liable to get bogged down in very real, but irrelevant, peripheral issues that people face when choosing careers.

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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:54 pm

I was hoping someone would get to the whole idea that because its for the children. That "noble" cause or the "future" argument. I agree education for children is the best investment we make as a country. However, teacher pay is not necessarily a good investment.

Teachers commonly cite parental involvement as the #1 reason for poor performance. How will paying teachers more get the parents involved? or turn an average kid into above average? The so called achievement gap starts at home, it starts with not having a strong family and not having two loving parents (preferably male and female). Not with teacher pay or underfunding in the urban school systems.

So why exactly should teachers get paid more if they can't make kids smarter?
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:28 pm

Knowledge is power. The more cultured you are, the better your options are in the future. Intelligence is vital to our country. The Renaissance Man.

Education is what ensures we have people capable to rational thought, capable decision-making, solid work ethic, independent discipline, etc. By providing children with an advanced level of information, we give them the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a whole life. There is a saying in Spanish that says, "Los maestros enseñan, los padres educan." Teachers teach, parents educate. Parents pass on to their students the discipline, the drive, the motivation, the lust for learning, the work ethic, etc. Teachers teach them information, knowledge.

I remember every single thing I was taught by my best teachers. I was picked for a position in school because students and other teachers know I know not only my subject matter, but likewise have a solid foundation in other ones as well. Learning something means never forgetting it. Blah, blah.

If you want to argue over underpaid or not, that's one thing. Saying teachers don't have an important role in society is just completely ignorant, I'm sorry.

You do have a very solid point about parental involvement though. And not just involvement, but parents teaching their children MANNERS, ethics, good behavior, what is expected of them etc. These are things I see lacking throughout children today. Manners especially, even in my school. All these things combine to make a child whole, to make them good students at the same time.

Maybe your point of view Kiryan is based on having received a fluff education in school? Just wondering how it went for you.
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Re: Are teachers underpaid or not?

Postby Kifle » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:17 pm

Oh lord I thought simple reason and rationale would have ended this argument a week ago...

Corth, God (if there is one) did not create free-market theory, Adam Smith did. Therefore, please stop leaning on it as a crutch when anything even remotely resembles the basic principles of market economies. It is hardly even a science, let alone a hard science. It is educated "guess work." In short, nobody can predict a damn thing according to economic principles.

As far as the teachers not being underpaid because the "market indicators" (such as them keeping the job, training for the job, etc.) say they are not, I think this is a gross miscalculation of said indicators. Point of fact, there is a marked shortage of teachers -- enough so that there are student loan forgiveness programs. Basically free school. Ask yourself why there is this shortage. Is it because it is an underpaid job market? Is it because the job that they do is much harder than, say, a middle management shitstain that floated through college in an alcoholic haze? To be completely honest, it is much, much easier to get a business degree than a teaching degree (especially math and science). The monitary benefits for working harder in school (something you republicans murmur uncontrolably as if you had diarrhea of the mouth) are not there. Period. There is no argument.

So the question remains, why do people become teachers? Well, some like the benefits, so that accounts for the smaller paychecks. However, if you ask younger graduates and current students in the education schools, you will find that most want to actually help society rather than leech off of it (read: lawyers, politicians). In essence, they are punished for being benevolent. But, contra your market theories, people are motivated by means other than money.

Lastly, I think you're hung-up on the idea of opportunity costs. Sure, I like the principle when it's applied to behavior in general, but the moment you attempt to assign, predict, or explain specific behavior, the principle falls apart. And it is quite obvious that employment in a failing economy proves this. People will know they are underpaid, yet work because there are no better offers out there. People will know they are underpaid, yet work anyway because they have decided security is more important for the time than risking a larger pay increase that is not secure.

As an example: Lawyers that work pro bono. Is their time really worth nothing? One day they will be paid $100/h, but the next they will make $0/hr. How does this translate into your economic theory that people will work for as much as they think their time is worth? In this case you seem to produce a Schrodinger's Lawyer. The lawyer is in a superposition of states -- both worthless and expensive.
Last edited by Kifle on Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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