A recent study released by some outfit called the Manhattan Institute proves conclusively that teachers are way overpaid.
According to their research, the average teacher earned $34.06 an hour in 2005, “36% more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty and technical worker”.
As you might expect if you’ve ever taught, the think tank folks left out a few details about a teacher’s workday.
The cherry-picking data analyses of the Manhattan Institute relies on governmental data that calculates teachersÂ¹ work hours by examining union contracts or school district employment rules. The vast majority of teachers work more than 49 hours a week, with many after-school hours of lesson planning, parent conferences, home visits, school events and meetings with colleagues. In addition, in any given year approximately 25 percent of AmericaÂ¹s teachers attend summer education programs to improve their skills or learn new content. Unlike what is found in most professions, teachers often pay for their own professional development.
The reality in all this is that good teachers work many hours outside that “contract day” and are drastically underpaid to begin with. The bad ones really are overpaid.
But the same could be said of doctors, lawyers, accountants, hair stylists or any other job category used for comparison by the statisticians.
(Don’t give me the crap about the free market penalizing the bad eggs. The shoddy products and poor service provided in far too many places these days shows that’s not happening.)
If we want to attract and keep highly qualified teachers (real ones, not as defined by NCLB), we need to pay them appropriately, a view shared by a growing number of business leaders.
And we should differentiate between the best and worst to better compensate teachers who do the best job of educating kids.
However, we first need a way to identify them. Something other than the incredibly artificial measure provided by standardized tests.