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Long Hours, Low Pay

Teachers Pay and Hours
[from Tim Smith]

It is almost as if someone was purposely overworking teachers and paying them very little. But only in the good old USA.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    There is one important statistic missing from this illustration that I would be interested in seeing and that is the total amount of government (local, state and federal) spending on education. Is government mis-managing the money or do we really under-spend that much.

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    While this chart makes an interesting point, it is extremely misleading by basing the salaries only on per capita GDP. This allows poor countries (e.g., Mexico) to look significantly better than rich countries (e.g., Luxembourg). Compare (in order from “highest” to “lowest”):

    Kiwis = $50,000 (1.4 * $36,000)
    Mexican teacher = $13,000 (1.3 * $10,000)
    American = $48,000 (1.0 * $48,000)
    Luxembourg-ian (?) teacher = $92,000 (0.8 * $115,000)
    Norwegian teacher = $67,000 (0.7 * $97,000)

    So which countries really pay more? To get an even better comparison, we should factor in Gini coefficients. Yes, the U.S. does a crappy job. But we also do a crappy job of wealth distribution in general. We also have issues of scale that smaller countries don’t have. Overhead/administrative costs do not necessarily scale linearly with population size.

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  3. Duckman wrote:

    The education system needs to be overhauled. Our assembly line system of education is no longer relevant in this day and age.

    I agree they need to be paid more, to an extent. I would like to see a teaching job equated to a lawyer or doctor as far as education needed and thus the pay rising as well.

    However, I do not believe you should be paid more simply for your job. American scores are low as shit and I’m not about to reward teachers with higher pay for it

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  4. txjill wrote:

    You shouldn’t immediately assume gov’t is mismanaging these funds…unless you are a republican.

    We are seeing Congress at state and national levels cutting funds on education on a regular basis more and more to the point that even now the more affluent schools are feeling it (where I live).

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    “American scores are low as shit and I’m not about to reward teachers with higher pay for it.” Using student test scores to evaluate teachers’ performance is like basing a doctor’s pay on how many of his/her patients have heart attacks. You might have the best doctor in the world, but if you eat 5 quadruple bacon cheeseburgers a day, you’re going to die; why should that doctor be punished for your lazy, irresponsible behavior?

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  6. Sammy wrote:

    As the son of a retired school teacher (with a sister and sister-in-law also teachers), I can tell you we lived in the biggest house in the neighborhood, took fabulous vacations to Europe and the Caribbean each summer, drove fine European automobiles and had the finest designer threads…all while my dad only worked 5 hour days, 9 months a year, retiring at age 45 with full pension.

    Or maybe the opposite of that.

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    LOL Sammy!

    Yeah, my sister is a teacher. She works long hours, teaching “at-risk” students who are the ones normal schools have given up on. She’s got multiple teaching credentials (the equivalent of a masters degree). And she gets paid (and treated) like shit by the school district (even though the parents love her, since she’s one of the few who gives their kids a chance).

    If you evaluate teacher performance based only on test scores then there will be absolutely no incentive to put any effort into marginal students. Why would a teacher take on a student who has low test scores, when that will reflect negatively on the teacher? (it would be like, you know, allowing health insurance companies to reject people with preexisting conditions!) Surely there are better ways to evaluate teacher performance (and there are — just look at some of the dramatic improvements in educational results from reform in the Scandinavian countries).

    Like many of our country’s problems, this one too seems to be largely self inflicted. We’ve completely politicized education, to the point where we are arguing about whether creationism should be taught alongside science. We have corruption among school administrators. But we still want to blame our bad results on the teachers who work long hours for low pay.

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  8. rk wrote:

    What are the other relevant statistics. Is there a correlation between the GDP/pay ratio and the number of students who graduate college?

    Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    I just don’t think there are relevant statistics for any meaningful comparison.

    For one thing, you have to consider the matter of scale (which is critical, but ALWAYS ignored). U.S. population is about 313 million. To get a comparable population in Europe, you’d have to take the entire EU but without Germany, France, and Poland. That now leaves you with 24 countries as diverse as UK, Greece, Romania, and Malta. Now you would have to add a layer of educational bureaucracy on top of all of those countries (just as we have federal Department of Education governing the 50 states). That bureaucracy would then start adding hours to teachers’ workloads, as European teachers would then have to start filling out documentation about their own performance, their students’ performance, preparations for standardized tests (which may or may not be in their students’ native languages!), etc. Just for the heck of it, let’s toss in some TPM reports.

    Oh, and you have to ignore the cultural differences so that every country is teaching the same material. Wouldn’t it be fun trying to get Italians, Norwegians, and Portuguese all to agree on the facts of the Spanish Civil War?

    It’s not so much comparing apples and oranges. It’s more like comparing 50 apples with a collection that consists of a single orange, grape, kiwi, watermelon, pear, peach, kumquat (I just like that the way that word sounds), fig, etc.

    Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink