Friday, December 28, 2007

The Teacher Controversy

I've been sifting through the Wakefield Item lately only to read a bunch of articles in the opinion section of the paper regarding what seems to be teachers' salaries. Many of the letters that are published are actually very funny. Selectman Phyllis Hull's writing contains very obvious anti-union themes. Hull, if I am reading her letters correctly, believes that teachers should not be parents or baby sitters. In other words, she doesn't think that they should help out in after school activities. If they dare help out after school (oh no!) that may mean that they deserve more money (oh no!). All hell will break loose and taxpayers will have to pay even more in taxes (oh no!). The teachers, Ms. Marsh and Mr. Brennan just to name two, have spoken out against Hull. Obviously. They are trying to convince her that their day doesn't end at 2:05 pm. And it doesn't. Teachers have stacks of papers to correct and many teachers also help out with extra curricular activities (oh no!). I think that Hull said in one of her letters that the salary of teachers should be merit based. Teachers getting paid the same amount of money (oh no!) sounds a lot like socialism to me. I know that many teachers have jobs on the side which serve as adjuncts to their base teaching salary. If these teachers want a higher teaching salary, they should go to school for a Master's and other certifications. Another part of me thinks that teachers do deserve to be paid more simply because they are instructing others (and preparing them to earn a good salary).

One fellow on brings up a some what intriguing point:

I don't believe that public school teachers are underpaid. I base this upon a comparison between my pay and my sister's pay. I am an Accounting Manager, with a bachelor's degree and fourteen years experience in my field. She is a high school Math Teacher with a bachelors degree and 10 years experience in her field. I work an average of 240 days per year, and she works an average of 180 days a year. I usually work 9 hours a day, and at certain times of the month/year work 10 to 12 hours a day. She usually works 8 hours a day including prep time at home. Based on this, I estimate that I work about 2400 hours a year. She works about 1440 hours a year. As a result, her hourly wage scale works out to be about $6.00 an hour more than mine. In addition, she rarely has to work nights, never has to work weekends, gets the entire summer off, gets a week off in February, gets a week off in April, gets 10 days off at Christmas, gets 4 days off at Thanksgiving and never has to work a holiday. The last time she complained to me about how much more people in the private sector were making, I did this calculation for her. I haven't heard her complain since then.

In addition, since the majority of teachers are paid with tax money, higher pay for teachers means higher taxes for the general public. I am pretty liberal, but I still would think twice about voting to increase my tax burden so a teacher who makes $6.00 per hour more than me could get a raise.


  1. Teachers are underpaid. $40000 per year seems like a good salary, until taxes are taken into consideration and the teachers end up with half of that. Good teachers should deserve more pay than bad teachers. If they perform better, then they do deserve a bonus rather than being treated the same a crappy one.

  2. Teachers are indeed underpaid. Though I actually agree with Phyliss Hull in that teachers sallary should be performance based. There are simply no insentives, other than morals or work ethic, for teachers to work harder in this state. People need to feel that working hard will actually net you something. Thats how the real world works why should public education be any different?


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