Here's Why A Conservative Think Tank Says Teachers Are Overpaid

teacher

Photo: Editor B via flickr

A study released today by the American Enterprise Institute concludes that America’s teachers are way overcompensated for their work (via NPR).AEI, a conservative think tank, says that public-school teachers are paid 52 per cent more than private-sector workers with similar educations and backgrounds.

In all, says the study, government pays out $120 billion in excessive labour costs for teacher compensation.

The report begins with the assertion that the teaching profession is “crucial,” but says that if you include unrecognised fringe benefits — such as pension programs, retiree health benefits and job security — teachers are better compensated than their private-sector peers.

Also, non-teachers who become teachers see a nine per cent wage increase, while teachers who leave the profession see a three per cent drop. “This is the opposite of what one would expect if teachers were underpaid.”

In response, The American Federation Of Teachers put a statement that looked to refute the points made in the study with their own analysis. For example:

  • The 8.6 per cent job security premium is a “ridiculous assertion,” given the 278,000 public education jobs lost during the recession.
  • Teachers subsidise their own classrooms, spending hundreds of dollars each year on classroom supplies.
  • Teachers work longer, unreported hours grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and meeting with parents and students.

The teachers also said that “In our business, [the reasoning used in the report] would get a flunking grade.”

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