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Report Asks: Are Public School Teachers Overpaid?

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LANCASTER (CBSDFW.COM)- Pamela Broussard of Lancaster has a bone to pick. “I have a few choice words,” scowled Broussard.

The former teacher is furious after reading a report by the conservative think tanks, Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute that dares to ask; are public school teachers overpaid? “Teachers are not overpaid,” Broussard fired back.

The former reading and english teacher spent ten years with D.I.S.D and two years with Charter Schools before leaving to earn more money as a private tutor and consultant. Broussard says many of her former colleagues still struggle to make ends meet. “Single teachers; I don’t see how they survive on these salaries,” she added.

The report concluded that public-school teachers are provided more generous fringe benefits and greater job security, so therefore, their compensation is 52% greater than fair market levels.

The American Enterprise Institute’s, Andrew Biggs cites recent unemployment numbers over a five-year stretch. According to Biggs, “from 2005 to 2010, public-school teachers had average unemployment rates of 2.1% versus 4.1% for private-school teachers and 3.8% comparable to non-teaching occupations.” Biggs added that “if you are a public-school teacher, you have a risk of unemployment that is roughly half that of other similar occupations.”

That may be hard for educators in Texas to swallow after the state’s massive budget shortfall forced school districts to layoff teachers.

The report also concluded that taxpayers are overcharged more than $120 billion each year because of teachers’ salaries and that their incomes could be reduced with only minor effects on recruitment and retention.  Broussard scoffed at the assessment and added, “they are crazy.”

The average salary for teachers in Texas is just under $50,000 a year.

To read the entire report by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, click here.

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