Friday, March 05, 2010

Talking Turkey

Russ over at Private Buffoon has an excellent post, mentioning this blog, thanks fellow curmudgeon. The main point being that money is not the issue with teachers in either job satisfaction or in the debate over improving schools.

To reinforce his point and the other articles he quoted on the issue, lets do the math:

Currently in Albuquerque a beginning teacher with only a BA degree by law makes 30,000 a year.
If you divide this by the 183 days of the duty year (180 teaching 3 to set up and close down the classroom) This comes to rounded down $25/hr on a 6.5 hour duty day. Teachers do not I repeat do not get paid for the time at home they spend grading papers, preparing lesson plans, making home visits, phone calls and filling out other assorted paper work. Teachers do not get paid for a single day of vacation. We do have 10 days of sick leave, up to 5 days of bereavement leave and one day a year of personal leave (which if not used gets carried over into sick leave). If you don't use up all your sick leave days the district now pays a small stipend in compensation, but that's recent. I've known teachers who lost a hundred days of accumulated sick leave and didn't get a dime.

In short with a five year degree (four years for the BA another year for pre-student teaching and student teaching) you start off being paid 25 bucks an hour.
Now if you were to take any other job at 25 bucks an hour and work a full 220 day work year, which usually includes paid holidays and two weeks vacation, that would come to 55,000/year.
This means a beginning teacher is giving up 25,000 dollars a year over a regular office job requiring that much education.
There are two possibilities I conclude from these numbers: 1. All teachers are insane, or 2. There is more to a satisfying career than a paycheck.

No one goes into teaching to get rich. All we ask is a living wage consistent with the amount of education and time required to do the job.
As Russ point out our main concerns are about how to better educate the students after every politician and administrator has decimated our instructional time with useless standardized testing.

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