Teacher pay not so shabby

A recent study out of the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that after taking into account pension plans and a shorter work year, teachers earn wages comparable to engineers, accountants, and computer programmers. [via Mises Blog]

Comparing wages on an hourly basis, the report shows that elementary school teachers earn an average of $30.52 an hour, while private engineers make an average of $31.05 an hour. On an hourly basis, accountants and computer programmers made less than teachers.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association questioned the significance of the findings.

"I don't know any other type of employment where you literally have to schedule your entire personal life around your work calendar," Richardson said.

Does this really make teachers unique?

"I guess, to me, what it comes back to is how much of a value we put on education," said Patrick Rumaker, an elementary school teacher in Washington Township who heads the district's union. "The key to having a better life is education, and if they want the people teaching their children to be people who will inspire their children to set their sights high, then the salaries need to be attractive to bring in the best."

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of value. 'We' do not put any value on education. It is not a collective decision. A monolithic appraisal by 'society' did not make Michael Jordan a millionaire. Rather, value is subjective to the individual. Only when parents value education provided by teachers for their children more than their own money will they be willing to exchange it for that service. Right now, those individual appraisals are not made as the parents' money is taken coercively and given to teachers whether or not their children benefit from the service provided by teachers.

So my message to Mr. Rumaker is, if you truely want to know how much parents value 'education' as you mean 'education', let them freely choose among various alternatives and make appraisals of your services.

Somehow, I doubt Mr. Rumaker would be open to that idea.

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some of those numbers seem a

some of those numbers seem a little high to me. I wonder if the American Federation of Teachers is including college professors in their numbers. I have a few friends that have started teaching high school in the past few years and most of them had starting salaries in the high-20's to low-30's and that was in the Washington DC Metro area.

My comments on None the

My comments on None the Wiser are very, very similar. The same excerpts jumped out at me.

I'm simply amazed by the Richardson quote. What's most amazing of all is that average working people will read that inane remark and nod slowly in agreement, even as they set their own schedules around their jobs.

Spoonie, consider that DC

Spoonie, consider that DC may or may not be representative of the nation as a whole, and also that "starting" salaries are necessarily lower than "average" salaries--especially in an industry where raises are essentially automatic and completely divorced from merit, thanks to the unions.

I was assuming that the DC

I was assuming that the DC market is likely more expensive than the national average, therefore starting salaries are probably higher here.

In the article there is a line, "In the township's schools, the current salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree begins at $37,021"

I took that as a starting salary of $37K which seems high to me.

Richardson is a flat-out

Richardson is a flat-out ignoramus. He should try touring rock shows. I've lived on the road 24/7 for months on end, and I walked out of my house to go to work on Christmas Day six times in the first fifteen years.

Of course, it would be at about this point where someone like Richardson would sneer at the whole concept of rock-show touring as "legitimate employment" compared to teaching. They'd be changing the subject if they did, though, because he's the one who made the blanket statement about a "personal life". And the fact is that all kinds of people do exactly what he says he's ignorant of.