Thursday, February 08, 2007

Are You Overpaid?

My favorite anonymous tipster emailed me a story from Jay Greene and Marcus A. Winters stating that teachers were not, after all, underpaid. In fact, the article claims, they're paid better than just about anyone. It's from the Wall Street Journal, I don't have a link, and you have to be a subscriber anyway, so pay up and do a search if you're so inclined. With all that money you have, it shouldn't be a problem.

It's remarkable that anyone can make such arguments. One of the big disagreements between the UFT and Mayor Bloomberg is over the percentage of teachers who get tenure. Bloomberg says it's 99%, but the UFT puts the figure closer to 65%, since fully a third of the teachers hired never make it far enough to be considered. Within five years, fully half have moved on. I've heard, in fact, that more than half of our current union members have fewer than five years (and if anyone knows better, please correct me).

I've heard these teacher pay arguments for a long time. If you sit and make out a chart of actual hours worked, maybe it's true. I mean you get the summers off (I've had three summers off in 22 years) and you only work a few measly hours a day. Unless you take work home, or work nights and weekends (like me, for example).

For me, a regular-working-guy-type, it's hard to attribute teacher retention problems to the pay being too high, or the work being too easy. But folks like Mr. Greene manage to do it anyway.

Another thing I learned was this--according to the University of Arkansas website, Mr. Greene is paid $160,000 a year. That doesn't include speaking fees, or whatever he makes for writing papers and articles vilifying teachers.

I wonder how many hours he works.
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