Thursday, December 08, 2005

You will NOT believe the article I just read in The Indy Star

December 7, 2005
Indiana teachers' pay lags
Salaries for educators fall short of U.S. average, study finds

By Jon Murray
Indiana's 60,000 public school teachers have been losing ground in pay compared with their peers nationwide, a growing gap educators say could hamper the wave of hiring expected as retirements swell over the next decade.
A National Education Association report released this week says salaries for teachers have failed to keep up with inflation in 41 states, including Indiana.
Related links
National Education Association salary survey

During the 2004-05 school year, Hoosier teachers were paid an average salary of $46,591 -- 17th in the nation and a 1.7 percent increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, the cost of living increased 3.1 percent.
Indiana teacher salaries fell short of the national average, $47,808, and the state has been slipping.
"The real problem that underlies it is that we may no longer be able to attract the most qualified people to teaching," said Dan Clark. He is deputy director of the Indiana State Teachers Association, which is affiliated with the national teachers' union. "The trend is not positive here."
In the 2002-03 school year, Indiana's average salary was 98.2 percent of the national average. Last year, it was 97.4 percent of the national average.
The report does not account for teachers' benefits or cost of living differences between states, but several education advocates and officials said it highlights a challenge for Indiana.
Some estimates predict 30 percent of Indiana's teachers will retire by 2015, Clark said. Lower-than-average salaries could complicate efforts to replace them.
"We've always been well-supplied, but there's more competition and more mobility today than ever before," said Suellen Reed, the state's superintendent of public instruction. "If a young person is a science teacher and they can choose making $25,000 in Indiana or making $30,000 working somewhere else . . . they may decide to go somewhere else."
Over time, the salary report says, Indiana teachers' pay has barely kept up with inflation. From 1994 to 2004, Indiana salaries increased 0.9 percent once the cost of living was factored in; nationwide, the increase was 2.9 percent.
Michigan, Illinois and Ohio rank above the national average, while Kentucky is 34th.
Don Hanlin, a Center Grove High School government teacher who has been teaching since 1967, thinks the quality of teacher applicants has gone down over time, because the best candidates often pick jobs that pay better.
"Talented people have so many resources, particularly talented women," he said. "We used to have women who were valedictorians and salutatorians in high school who became teachers, but they're not going into teaching anymore. We're in a much more competitive market now."
Kimberly Williams, 32, a nine-year math veteran who earns about $50,000 at the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School in Indianapolis, said she was not surprised teachers lack the earning potential of some other professions. In Indiana, construction workers make an average of $36,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while professionals in scientific or technical services make an average of $45,000, and company or business managers make an average of $69,000.
"You go into the field knowing that already," Williams said. "You don't do it for the pay. You do it for the love of teaching and knowing you have an impact on kids."
Strict comparisons are difficult with other professions because teachers work nine months of the year. Many take other jobs during the summer, and some work part-time jobs during the school year to supplement their income.
But many also use their time off to earn advanced degrees.
Salaries make up the vast majority of a school district's budget, and Clark said the General Assembly's belt-tightening, which has slowed the growth of school funding, has made it more difficult to give teachers raises.
Also, Clark said, the national recession hit Indiana hard and the recovery has been slow.
The NEA's salary ranking process invites some criticism.
John Ellis, executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, said comparisons by state are difficult because teachers' benefits aren't taken into account.
Some states -- such as Michigan, whose average salary of $56,973 ranks fourth -- opt not to participate in Social Security for teachers. As a result, Ellis said, salaries there are higher.
Indiana does have a competitiveness problem, he said. He sees the teacher retirement system, which he said falls short of those in other states, as the main liability. The system is less generous than in some states, and it takes longer for workers to qualify for payouts.
Another issue that clouds the NEA rankings is cost of living differences among states. Indianapolis has the most affordable housing market in the country, according to one recent report, so $46,591 goes further here.
Of the 10 states with the highest average salaries, eight are among the most expensive places to live, including Connecticut and California.
Star reporters Kim L. Hooper and Staci Hupp contributed to this story. Call Star reporter Jon Murray at (317) 444-2710.
Copyright 2005 All rights reserved

I know a lot of Indiana teachers. My mother-in-law and father-in-law are both teachers. I like teachers. I think teachers are important and I think it is a job that should be paid a fair wage.

My wife and I have talked about teacher's salary's a lot.

Here is an interesting experiment for you. Go and do this google search and see what you get:

5 of the first 10 hits I get are for teachers which is incredible. There is a lot of research about how much they are paid.

Based on my experience I feel that teachers are OVERPAID. Let me give you some personal examples.

My wife went to college and got a four year degree in International Business. She then spent several years working as both an accountant and a bookkeeper. She went back to school and got an additional certificate in accounting. (My wife has 149 credit college credit hours). She got her license and became a certified public accountant. She spent some time working for three different CPA firms doing various tasks including travelling and doing auditing. Now she runs her own business.

One of her best friends went to college and got a degree in education. Her friend got out of college and became a public school teacher in Indiana. She went back to school and got her Masters Degree. Their entire careers the following has been true:

Both have about the same education level
Both have to have about the same amount of continuing education

Which one has been paid a higher salary EVERY year (We are looking at 14 years)? The teacher. Amazing when you consider:

The teacher has ALWAYS had:
Much better benefits of every kind including retirement, medical, etc.
Has always worked fewer hours. On average the teacher works about 25% less hours.

So you ask, why do the teachers make so much?

There is one main reason. The teachers unions are extremely large and powerful.

Do not get me wrong, teachers should make a good wage. I really do think they should. That being said, keep in mind a teacher works 25% less then most other jobs, has better benefits then almost every comparable job in Indiana, and rarely has to work overtime or holidays. Teachers have a very good deal.

I think the comment about teachers salary's not keeping up with inflation is the funniest. No one's salary' is keeping up with inflation. Most of us work at jobs that are CUTTING benefits (Especially health and retirement). When is the last time your heard a school board propose cutting teacher's benefits or wages because we need to show some compassion for the porperty tax payers because their expenses are going up faster then their income?

Property taxes are projected to increase ABOUT 10% across Indiana this year; almost entirely due to schools. Let's show some compassion for the rest of us...


Doug said...

I think maybe you're looking at it the wrong way. I think the question is less whether the people currently in the position are being paid enough as whether we are paying enough for the people we want to have in those positions.

Just to make what might be a poor analogy, say your company needs a printer that prints 100 pages per minute that costs $1,000. The company only pays the $500 to get the crappy 40 page per minute printer. (Figures have clearly been pulled out of my nether regions). Your company's paper production causes bottlenecks. What do you do?

You don't point at the copier you have and say, well it's only worth $500. Instead, you deal with the fact that you need to cough up $1,000 to get the job done that you need done.


Oh, and as for your quite correct observation that everybody's wages and benefits are being cut despite the cost of living rising. And yet productivity has been rising at a remarkable clip. So where the f*&**% is all the money going?

Mike Kole said...

Doug- That money is going to taxes and to upper management. While business corporations take the majority of the heat for this, it is also true in government and including school corporations.

But focusing more strictly on schools, the money is there. If we reduced the compensation to school administrations slightly, and significantly cut the spending on palaces for sports or other buildings, we could put the money where it actually belongs- on education; on books and other materials, and on teacher salaries.

Libertarians are helping to correct the misplaced priorities. For instance, in Marion County, Washington Township, Libertarians have been instrumental in reducing an enormous bond issue. It was slated to approach nearly $100 million for a natatorium and renovation to a football stadium, and oh by the way, needed repairs to some aging buildings. The final numbers aren't in yet, but the savings could be around $40 million. The pool may not be suitable for hosting the 2012 Summer Games, but it will be a great place to swim, and more importantly, all of the genuinely needed repairs will still happen.

Priorities, as ever.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Doug has another good point (He has lots of them...).

I think we should be able to FIRE bad teachers, and pay great teachers MORE money if they are effective. No doubt about that.

GadFlier said...

The NEA opposes merit pay. It's easy to understand why. Teachers who take the time and make the effort to become great teachers don't have time to become bigwigs within the NEA. Likewise, NEA bigwigs spent all their effort in politicking, not in becoming great teachers. Thus, the NEA opposes merit pay, since it means that NEA fatcats won't get a big cut of it.

Robert Enders said...

The reason why teachers make less in Indiana is because cost of living is lower here. A Hoosier school teacher can afford to buy more with her salary here than a New England school teacher can afford to buy. Of course the reason why the cost of living here is so low is because we pay less in taxes.

one4JC said...

Ok as for the time spent working let's look at reality. Most teachers are present for the 7 hour (give or take a few minutes)work day. In addition to the time needed for mandatory meetings, continuing education (not college)required, parent teacher conferences (held when there is a problem not just once a year), lesson preparations (because we must challenge those little minds),"Counselor" time molding and shaping the characters (not to forget breaking up fights and the miriad of discipline problems), and oh did I forget about time to grade papers and other items that come up daily.
Most I know work a 10+ hour work day. If a teacher doesn't teach summer school or one of the "jumpstart programs" they may have 2 months off before they go back 2 weeks (sometimes) before the children to prepare the rooms.

The unions might be big and powerful but that is because teachers do not have time to advocate for themselves.

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Jack said...

Your writing made me curious, so
I went back and looked up some stats on our lovely education system. I wanted to find out what we are getting for our educational dollars.

The statistics I found were from 2000. While somewhat out of date, they should stil give us a good feel for our states overall performance.

In 2000, Indiana was 16th in the nation for the rate of pay for teachers (with an avg. salary of almost 42K). The average SAT scores for Indiana students ranked at a horid 43rd in the nation (*NEA Research, Estimates Database - 2002).

So, we pay the teachers a top rate and we get from the teachers s bottom rung education...
hmmm maybe we aren't getting our money's worth. Just a thought.

Jack said...

Your writing made me curious, so
I went back and looked up some stats on our lovely education system. I wanted to find out what we are getting for our educational dollars.

The statistics I found were from 2000. While somewhat out of date, they should stil give us a good feel for our states overall performance.

In 2000, Indiana was 16th in the nation for the rate of pay for teachers (with an avg. salary of almost 42K). The average SAT scores for Indiana students ranked at a horid 43rd in the nation (*NEA Research, Estimates Database - 2002).

So, we pay the teachers a top rate and we get from the teachers a bottom rung education...
hmmm maybe we aren't getting our money's worth. Just a thought.

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Anonymous said...

Doug, I'm not a teacher but my wife is, she usually brings home a minimum of 2 hours worth of work. The schools continually require teachers to go to meetings after school, for whatever reason. By the way my wife could have went to school in whatever field she wanted and quite frankly could have made a lot more money.----Benefits are erroding quite quickly as well

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