Okay, let's start with the fact that your argument sucks by default. If you use a median figure that's vastly above the actual median figure, you've already destabilized the entire following argument that's based on it. Yeah, you might have managed to have a point in a possible world where the median teacher earned 70k a year. Unfortunately, in the actual world, you were 20k too high. According to the bureau of labor
, the median teacher salaries in the US range from 43-51k. And that means half of teachers make less than that.
I already addressed that statistic and showed why that's misleading. Even the source you cited contains the same information I provided:
Teachers can boost their earnings in a number of ways. In some schools, teachers receive extra pay for coaching sports and working with students in extracurricular activities. Getting a master's degree or national certification often results in a raise in pay, as does acting as a mentor. Some teachers earn extra income during the summer by teaching summer school or performing other jobs in the school system.
The point I made earlier, but which you've chosen to ignore is that the median salary figure of 43-51k you're quoting is "base expected salary". What that means is that they are calculating based on what the pay scale ladders indicate is the median and not what they are actually paid
. If that was what they were actually paid over the year, there would be no need to mention that their pay can be increased if they get a higher degree or teach summer school, or do extracurricular activities. Those things are in addition to the base pay calculation used to establish the median pay scale
Get it? That median is based on what a teacher with a bachelors degree working the standard 4-units-out-of-6 schedule, with no extracurricular work or summer work. But most teachers go on to get a masters, and most teacher work at least one extra unit, and most teachers involve themselves in at least one extracurricular activity. So the base median calculation is not an accurate assessment of what teachers are actually paid. A friend of mine this year will be working 6 units (which is an admittedly hellish schedule), advises the robotics team, teaches an adult class in the summer and does the district ROP catalog, and he's got a masters degree. He makes far far more than 51k. He makes more than 70k. He makes somewhere just over 100k. As a public high school teacher.
And while this year is a bit more work than usual, he normally just has one fewer units on his schedule. So he's usually making something in the 90k range. His sister works at a middle school, and makes somewhere in the 80k range. His mother and father are both retired teachers. His father in law is a district manager and lives in a million dollar home. Both my sisters in law are teachers (grade and middle school). I've spoken to all of them. Every single one will say that the claims that public teachers are underpaid are inflated. Sure. They like getting the pay, and the benefits, and to be fair the hours can be tough. But none of them think they are actually underpaid.
Talk to teachers and the big things they really are pissed off at (when they're not supporting their unions by holding signs saying they're underpaid) is the bureaucracy which doesn't allow them to teach freely, parents who don't involve themselves in their kids education and push it all on them, and a school system that often backs up the parents instead of the teachers. None of them are that upset about pay. It's just that pay is what makes the unions work, so pay is what they march over. The other stuff can't be fixed by marching in a rally, so the public doesn't see them as often.
Here's a good note for the future. If you want to do yourself a favor when making an argument, formulate any assumptions so that they work to your disadvantage. That way, if they prove too extreme, it only works in your favor. Of course, if it just proves flat out wrong (as many of yours often are), your argument will crumble anyway.
I'm basing my assumption on how I know teacher pay actually works. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
And you still haven't proven that teachers make more than cocktail waitresses.
Of course I have. Your own source says that teacher pay starts at $33,227. I don't think it's a stretch to say that very very few cocktail waitresses make that much. You can't be serious about this. Teachers *do* make pay in the range I mentioned. They *don't* make pay equivalent to that which cocktail waitresses make.
You've proven that at least half of teachers do. Those are different things. And if we are considering starting wages, you need to consider the lower boundaries of wages.
And you should actually read the sources you cite before making a fool out of yourself. While I'm sure some very highly paid waitresses might make the kind of pay the entry level teacher makes, is that really the argument you want to support here?
That said, I agree they don't make the wages of cocktail waitresses. That was the POINT of the original statement made--that teachers shouldn't be making that wage, so it is good that they aren't.
Sure. So no problem, right? Except that my point is that teacher make wages similar to that made by other people in similarly demanding professions. So why do we constantly hear that teachers are underpaid?
The point you just made says NOTHING about how much they have to put into pensions.
They don't put 20% of their earnings in. I don't happen to know the exact figure, but I think it's more like 5%.
And no, teachers aren't poor. But they make a solid lower-mid middle class wage. And that seems appropriate to me--why would anyone with a good brain decide to become a teacher if it guaranteed they'd be lower class?
They make solid middle class wages if they don't expend anything more than the minimum effort. If they put in the kinds of hours most professionals in the middle class make, they earn more. It really isn't hard at all for a teacher to earn 70-80k. Once they've been in the field for 8-10 years, and take on any extra work, their pay will be in that range. There aren't a whole lot of professions where you're pretty much guaranteed to be earning that much pay that quickly after graduating from college. And that's the next point. It's guaranteed. Work X years, you get Y base pay. The only variables are how much extra work you can pull in.
I'll do you a favor though (and since you asked for assumptions which weaken my argument). So here's a bone for you: The better argument against teacher pensions isn't how much they pay into them, or how much they earn. You lose on that one. The winning argument is that the average lifespan for a teacher after retirement is something like 7 years. Teachers have a habit of working until they can't work anymore, then tend to die shortly after that. So while the pension is great, they don't get to take advantage of it for that long. Their spouses, on the other hand...