Teachers around the country, not just in Wisconsin, are facing potential pay and benefits cuts as lawmakers try to narrow gaping state budget shortfalls. Teachers individually remain very popular, but as a group they are being called greedy, lazy, and overpaid. "For most of my adult life, politicians have asserted that public-school teachers are underpaid and under-resourced," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Has the pendulum now swung in the other direction?
Yes, teachers are overpaid: Look at the numbers, say Nick Gillespie and Meredith Bragg at Reason. (See their video argument below.) Including summer earnings, the average public school teacher pulls in $52,000 a year — "about $14,000 a year more in straight salary than private school teachers" — and their benefits are great, too. On top of that, they "teach fewer students than ever before." So, what do we get for our "ever-growing pile of tax dollars"? Stagnant test scores and unhappy parents.
"To Surly, with love: Are teachers overpaid?"
No, teachers work hard for their pittance: "In an era when criminal bankers go free, how did we decide that teachers should be punished?" asks Craig Crawford at The Huffington Post. Nobody ever got rich "trying to educate our kids against all odds," yet the same pundits who defended taxpayer-subsidized Wall Street bonuses have somehow turned teachers into villains. News flash: Teachers aren't the "fat cats draining tax dollars."
If anything, teachers should be paid more: Let's assume for a minute that teachers are "little more than overpaid baby-sitters," instead of highly educated professionals, says E.D. Kain at Forbes. At $3 an hour per kid, 25 students to the class, a 36-week school year should be worth $108,000 per teacher. Public school teachers don't make anywhere near that much.
"Are teachers overpaid?"
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