Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

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Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Richard Strausz
I got the following online article from ‘Education Week Teacher’. It gives an interesting back-and-forth on the question of whether public school teachers are overpaid.
Richard
===================
Published Online: November 2, 2011
Study: Teachers Make Too Much Money
By Francesca Duffy
At an education forum in Washington this week, the authors of a new study on teacher compensation discussed their surprising conclusion that, counter to popular belief, public school teachers are overpaid. Speaking before a wound-up audience at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative-leaning think tank that published the study, the researchers said that when wages, benefits, and job security are accounted for, public school teachers are compensated 52 percent more than their skills would garner in the private sector.
As suggested in the opening remarks, one goal of the discussion was to promote the idea that states facing budget shortfalls should consider teacher compensation—a sacred cow in many states—as a viable area for spending cuts.
Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, another conservative-leaning think tank, and co-author of the study, dismissed Education Secretary Arne Duncan's claim that teachers are "desperately underpaid." He contended that the standard regression method, which compares teachers to workers with equivalent education and finds that teachers are underpaid, is flawed because it doesn't consider "unobservable ability." People going into teaching have lower SAT and GRE scores than people who pursue other fields, he said. Thus, in the case of teachers, "years of education could be an overestimate of cognitive skills." In addition, the education major itself is not as rigorous as other fields of study, Richwine said. When teachers and other workers are compared by cognitive ability, he added, "the wage penalty has essentially disappeared."
The AEI study also shows that when teachers switched to non-teaching jobs in the private sector, their wages tended to decrease by 3 percent. Conversely, when non-teachers went into teaching, their wages went up slightly. According to Richwine, that amounts to evidence that teachers are not underpaid. "It's at odds with the standard refrain that teachers are constantly tempted by the promise of higher pay in the private sector," he said. "That's certainly true for some teachers, but for the average teacher, it's not true."
Richwine also pointed out that public school teachers on average make more than private school teachers, which he said could be taken as an indication that the public sector could pay teachers less. To support the point, he later said the "experience of the private school teacher is similar in terms of working conditions" to the public school teacher—an assertion that received an audible gasp from the audience.
'Questionable Research'?
The AEI study also looks at teacher benefits, vacation time, and job security. Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at AEI who co-authored the study, said that the Bureau of Labor Statistics information that is typically used to compare benefits "omits the value of [teachers'] retiree health coverage, understates public employees' received defined-benefit pension plan, and omits the value of teachers' longer vacation time." When these factors are adjusted for, teachers do far better than they would if they worked in the private sector. Further, "public school teachers' risk of unemployment is nearly half that of other relative employees," said Biggs. "Job security has real value for people."
Panelist Robert Costrell, professor of education reform and economics at the University of Arkansas, the final panelist, praised Richwine and Biggs' research, saying their study helps to "debunk misguided work." No panelists with alternative viewpoints were included in the event.
When asked during the question and answer session if the study included data on teacher attrition rates and how those might affect the value of the retirement benefits teachers actually receive, the study's authors said they did not because of a "data access issue."
One of several agitated audience members asked how it is possible that teachers are overpaid when most people in the profession spend long hours after school grading papers, leading extracurricular activities, and planning lessons. Richwine contended that many other professions require their employees to work from home after regular work hours as well. "It's not supported by data, the idea that teachers work so many more hours than the average person," he said.
Another audience member asked why superintendents and principals aren't boasting about the profession's high pay when recruiting candidates to teaching. Biggs replied, "There are various explanations—one is crude self-interest. If you’re at the top of an overpaid pay scale, you’re not going to advertise that." Costrell added that schools actually do talk about their comprehensive benefits and salary packages. "And unions really talk about it," he said.
In a press release sent out immediately after the event, American Federation of Teachers' President Randi Weingarten stated that the AEI report "uses misleading statistics and questionable research." The report's statements on job security are "pure fiction," she said, considering that 278,000 jobs in public education were lost during the recession.
"If teachers are so overpaid, then why aren’t more '1 percenters' banging down the doors to enter the teaching profession?" Weingarten asked in the release, referring to higher-income Americans. "Why do 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within three to five years, an attrition rate that costs our school districts $7 billion annually?"

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Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Paul A. Tanner III
--- On Thu, 11/3/11, Richard Strausz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Richard Strausz <[hidden email]>> Subject: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?> To: [hidden email]> Date: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 4:33 AM> I got the following online article> from 'Education Week Teacher'. It gives an interesting> back-and-forth on the question of whether public school> teachers are overpaid.> Richard> ===================> Published Online: November 2, 2011> Study: Teachers Make Too Much Money> By Francesca Duffy > At an education forum in Washington this week, the authors> of a new study on teacher compensation discussed their> surprising conclusion that, counter to popular belief,> public school teachers are overpaid. Speaking before a> wound-up audience at an event hosted by the American> Enterprise Institute, the conservative-leaning think tank> that published the study, the researchers said that when> wages, benefits, and job security are accounted for, public> school
 teachers are compensated 52 percent more than their> skills would garner in the private sector. > As suggested in the opening remarks, one goal of the> discussion was to promote the idea that states facing budget> shortfalls should consider teacher compensation-a sacred> cow in many states-as a viable area for spending cuts.> Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage> Foundation, another conservative-leaning think tank, and> co-author of the study, dismissed Education Secretary Arne> Duncan's claim that teachers are "desperately underpaid." He> contended that the standard regression method, which> compares teachers to workers with equivalent education and> finds that teachers are underpaid, is flawed because it> doesn't consider "unobservable ability." People going into> teaching have lower SAT and GRE scores than people who> pursue other fields, he said. Thus, in the case of teachers,> "years of education could be an overestimate of
 cognitive> skills." In addition, the education major itself is not as> rigorous as other fields of study, Richwine said. When> teachers and other workers are compared by cognitive> ability, he added, "the wage penalty has essentially> disappeared." 
Look at the GRE Verbal and Writing scores of education majors and business majors: 
http://testprep.about.com/od/grescores/GRE_Scores_Information.htm 
Educations Majors; Verbal and Writing Scores
Curriculum/Instruction459 4.3Elementary440 4.2Evaluation/Research451 4.3Higher464 4.5Secondary484 4.5Other439 4.2
Business Majors; Verbal and Writing Scores
Accounting440 4.1Business Administration/Management438 4.1Other436 4.0
If we were to look at the earned and especially investment incomes of these Wall Street billionaires and hyper-millionaires as well as all those highly compensated CEOs out there all over the country with their business degrees, and then look at their scores on such tests, I'd say that using the very analysis of Jason Richwine and all other conservatives like him, which says that education majors are overpaid, we would find that their business buddies, these Wall Street billionaires and hyper-millionaires and high-paid CEOs all over the country, are VASTLY, VASTLY, VASTLY overpaid. 
Whoops for Richwine and all other conservatives like him. 
Not only that: 
Is he and all other conservatives like him actually suggesting even the least little bit that pay should reflect scores on such as GRE tests or cognitive ability tests? I think that they are. Therefore: Has he and all other conservatives like him forgotten the fact that people of some different ethnicities score lower on these tests than people other some other ethnicities, and has he and all other conservatives like him forgotten all the implications of all that? Do not he and all other conservatives like him understand that they not only stepped in a mountain of it but actually gleefully dove headfirst into it?
Mega-Whoops for Richwine and all other conservatives like him.
In addition, Richwine an
servatives like him no doubt think that US education spending as a percentage of GDP or per-pupil is too high. But as the following demonstrates, when we look at the percentage-of-GDP or per-pupil education spending of all those countries in the world that have larger per-capita GDPs than the US, we find that almost without exception we see the rule being followed that if a country is to have its per-capita GDP be larger than the US, it will spend more than the US on education in terms of either percentage-of-GDP or per-pupil or both.
Almost without exception, those countries that presently or usually these past many years have had larger per-capita GDPs than the US also spend more than the US on education on a per-student basis as well as a percentage of GDP. These countries include Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland: 
(spending per student - click on map for better view and scroll to the right)http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/education-spending-gdp-around-the-world/
(percentage of GDP)http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_edu_spe-education-spending-of-gdp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita
(In both of these last two above pages, see the page history to see the different numbers for the different years.)
In my post"Re: Moving beyond 'blame the teacher'"http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7573570&tstart=180I go into more detail.
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Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Richard Strausz
"Oh no she didn't!"
http://youtu.be/VS4X5_-OAE8

Richard Strausz Posted: Nov 3, 2011 4:33 AM

In a press release sent out immediately after the event,  American Federation of Teachers' President Randi Weingarten stated that the AEI report "uses misleading statistics and questionable research." The report's statements on job security are "pure fiction," she said, considering that 278,000 jobs in public education were lost during the recession.

"If teachers are so overpaid, then why aren?t more '1 percenters' banging down the doors to enter the teaching profession?" Weingarten asked in the release, referring to higher-income Americans. "Why do 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within three to five years, an attrition rate that costs our school districts $7 billion annually?"
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Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Gary Tupper
In reply to this post by Paul A. Tanner III
Being a somewhat literalist, I'd say a teacher is overpaid if the school
board inadvertently  wrote a '5' in place of a '3', say, on the dollar
amount of the check. (similar to 'over-charged')

I'm guessing that the author is really suggesting that the employer  
agreed to a pay scale higher than the author believes necessary.  But if
this is the case, then the author needs to explain
why such largesse is not attracting the "best & brightest" and why  the
early attrition rate is so high.

Gary Tupper
Terrace BC
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Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Richard Strausz
We could very well be witnessing the popping of the education bubble. The retreat from NCLB alone will have a significant impact on costs. And when you think about it, how could the public be expected to pay a premium for something that has failed to deliver for so long. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that teachers have not delivered, but a non trivial portion of these inflated educational budgets was put there to close the gap, and on that they have not delivered. I think people are realizing that the gap is essentially immutable and quite naturally are beginning to reasses the sense of throwing good money after bad. This isn't the case of teachers doing a bad job. You can't fault teachers for not being able to do something that was not doable in the first place (at least not doable via public school). But for the same reasons, you can't fault the taxpayer for not wanting to throw good money after bad anymore.

While I feel better as each of these bubbles pop and a (slightly) more sustainable equilibrium is established, I will sleep most soundly when the biggest bubble of all gets its long overdue just dues. And that would be medicine.

Bob Hansen

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Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?

Paul A. Tanner III
- --- On Thu, 11/3/11, Robert Hansen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Robert Hansen <[hidden email]>> Subject: Re: Online article - public school teachers overpaid?> To: [hidden email]> Date: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 9:42 PM> We could very well be witnessing the> popping of the education bubble. The retreat from NCLB alone> will have a significant impact on costs. > And when you think> about it, how could the public be expected to pay a premium> for something that has failed to deliver for so long. Don't> get me wrong, I am not saying that teachers have not> delivered, but a non trivial portion of these inflated> educational budgets was put there to close the gap, 
How is that, exactly? You think that per-pupil spending on African-Americans and Hispanics is statistically more than per-pupil spending on whites? 
Even the conservative Heritage Foundation points out the fact that, adjusted for cost of living, that is not true:
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/the-myth-of-racial-disparities-in-public-school-funding
Look at Table 1, the national category, adjusted for cost of living, percentage of white per-pupil spending. White 100%Black 101%Hispanic 96%Asian 97%
> and on> that they have not delivered. I think people are realizing> that the gap is essentially immutable and quite naturally> are beginning to reasses the sense of throwing good money> after bad. This isn't the case of teachers doing a bad job.> You can't fault teachers for not being able to do something> that was not doable in the first place (at least not doable> via public school). But for the same reasons, you can't> fault the taxpayer for not wanting to throw good money after> bad anymore.> 
Ah, we see now. You actually are in agreement with those who say that those darker skinned people - African-Americans and Hispanics - are inherently not as educable as whites and (East) Asians and therefore the US should stop spending so much money on them. (Never mind that, as I point out above, it's a plain fact that the US is NOT "s
m" AT ALL, that per-pupil spending on African-Americans and Hispanics is statistically no greater than per-pupil spending on whites.) That is, we should be (as you say) "not wanting to throw good money after bad anymore" - we should recognize that trying to educate African-Americans and Hispanics is trying (as you say) "to do something that was not doable in the first place".
You have a very large amount of explaining to do.