Report Asks: Are Public School Teachers Overpaid?

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.

  • Richard Tait

    What do you expect from the Heritage Foundation? For the past 20 years this “right wing conservative” organization’s main objective has been to destroy public education!

    • harry

      “main objective has been to destroy public education!

      like public education needs any help destroying itself LOL

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  • Steve

    While we’re at it, let’s slash soldiers, paramedics, police officers and firefighters pay.

    Who needs all those people when we normal citizens can just carry buckets, bandaides and guns to their “real jobs” at corporations and small businesses.

  • joannehitch

    What in comparison to what pro football players make? Really? These individuals mold and teach our children. They not only teach but babysit and teach manners and deal with violence. Things parents are supposed to do. They are not paid nearly enough in my mind.

  • Rose

    What they failed to mention is that all classroom teachers are required to have at minimum a BS degree from an accredited institution. The working public in general doesn’t, so they are comparing teachers to workers who have a high school education or some college as well as college educated workers. Teachers are underpaid by a huge sum. I’d love to see some of these think tank workers in a classroom of low income kids or even average kids. They’d be eaten alive.

    Who do they think is going to go to college for 4 years, pay tuition and then work in a profession that will pay them less than $25,000.00 a year after 20 years. Talk about stinking education, you’d have it then for sure.

    • RussP

      The article states the state average pay as just under $50,000 and a Texas website shows the average starting salary as $33,755. Where is you r figure of $25,000 after 25 years coming from?

      • Sarah

        Well, she’d have it about right if she meant $25,000 net. Depending on where you work in Texas, salaries are low, and yearly raises are minimal if at all.

  • Rick McDaniel

    Compared to the education required…….no.

    With 18 students in the classroom………yes.

    Everything is relative. The number of students in the class, per teacher, is a huge factor, in that equation. In recent years, the class size dropped to such a low level, that the dollars per student became excessive, too many aides were also in use, and there was too much bureaucracy and administration, in most school systems.

    There is also far too many attacks on teachers, for things that are parental responsibility.

    It is a thankless job, and why people continue to enter the field, is beyond me. We already have far too many teachers, making it very difficult for a teacher to even find work, especially if they are experienced, as that means they already have a master’s degree, and the pay differential that includes, which means schools won’t hire them, because the new teachers with only a bachelor’s degree are less expensive.

    No college student, should be entering the profession, today. None. There is no future in teaching.

  • Sarah

    My net salary a month as a teacher in Manor, Texas was $2,890. Subtract about $1,000 for mortgage, subtract retirement, subtract college loans, subtract medical, dental, vision, ENT bills (HA! Still have to pay for medical since had to pick lowest costing insurance with highest deductable ), subtract billsbillsbills, subtract groceries. What is left? Zero dollars and zero cents. Not complaining per se as some are struggling to find jobs right now and the homeless population is rampant in Austin-area … BUT we deserve a little more respect than to say we get paid too much. When a software company downsizes to save money, the consequences are more hours and labor put on existing employees. When a school district downsizes, the consequences are far more detrimental and reach into YOUR home, to YOUR kids’ education. Agree with Rick that being a teacher in Texas in not a promising career right now, but you can’t say there is no future in teaching. That makes no sense. Change will come, but the teachers and community are the ones that are going to make it happen … so VOTE!

    • anonymous

      I agree

  • oldman69

    You have to consider the source of this question.Why would anyone even listen to the drivel put out by these ?

  • Matt

    Teachers do not get paid enough. Unless you teach or are married to a teacher you have no ideal how much time and effort teahers put into there jobs. People think a teachers job ends at the end of the school day. That is quite the opposite. Teachers spend much of there evenings grading papers, making quizes etc until wee hours of the night. When most people are sitting around relaxing watching TV, teachers are working. It is my opinion teachers do not get paid near enough. Teachers should be one of the highest public service jobs there is. After all teachers are what mold your childrens minds and help them get ready for life in the real world. People that try to change the education system or cut teachers pay have no ideal what there doing and how it affects the real world.

    • EJ

      Wow! I Hope you’re not a teacher! I’ve counted at 6 grammatical and/or spelling errors alone! Also missing are several apostrophes and commas! Aside from that, I agree with most of your comments! There are, however, many people that work 8-5 and don’t have the luxury of sitting around watching TV at night – they actually bring work home with them too.

  • Tonny

    I agree with Matt, teachers are hard workers to make sure our children get the knowledge they need to learn. It’s a shame we pay sports players MORE money and watch them ACT like children! Teachers should make what they pay major sports players! After all, sports players “thank” this teacher or that teacher for who they are today.
    Get your heads out of your ________ and PAY teachers what they deserve!

  • RussP

    I can’t answer this question but it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
    Average DISD teacher salary/days teaching/hours in each day tought=hourly wage. Now how does this compare to the average corporate worker with the same education?

  • James Harmon

    Worked for 30 years as a teacher with a take home retirement check of $24,000.
    Sure I get paid too much HA!

  • RussP

    Just found a state website which shows the average starting teacher’s salary as $33,755 per year/180 days teaching = $187.53 per day/7 hours = $26.79 per hour for a starting teacher. Again, these are averages and I’m sure it varies greatly depending on whether in a small or large district.

  • Matt Chalmers

    Matt C.
    I have 38 years in public education in Texas. I am presently a middle school principal. When the article talks about summer ‘vacation’ the authors demonstrate a total lack of knowledge about Texas. Teachers are paid for 187 days per year and they work for that period of time. In the summer they are actually unemployed, not on vacation. As far as teaching a profession that is receiving too much money, how is it then that when we have an opening for a position that I receive very few applications even though our students consistently score high on state exams and we have very few discipline issues? We are not out in the middle of nowhere either, just 30 minutes from Dallas and a little further from Ft. Worth. Those guys are idiots!

  • RussP

    So using the articles avarage salary of just under $50,000 and middle school principal Chalmer’s figure of 187 days, we have

    $49,000/187 = $262 per day or over $37 per hour.

  • Ton

    Hmmmm….I would think making $50,000/ year and getting 2 1/2 months off during the summer sounds pretty great. I have a college degree and have worked at a state university for 10 years and I barely make $28,000. Seriously, stop whining and get back to teaching our kids.

  • darrell

    if you were comparing teacher requirements and responsibilities today with say requirements and responsibilities of 40 to 60 years ago converting now and then dollars then yes, teachers may be getting overpaid. because salaries have not kept up with inflation for virtually anyone including teachers its unfair to make that determination. more importantly teachers today have to not only teach and mentor children as they did 40 to 60 years ago, now they are counselors, referees, babysitters, social engineers, and mostly scapegoats for all the problems any child has by its parents. teachers are having to virtually raise children because parents either dont have time, or are too lazy to accept the responsibities of raising them like they should be. children, especially older ones no longer view school as a source of education first but as a place to have a social life, education and teachers are just something they have to put up with while doing what they think they have the right to do because our society and the media industry say thats the way it should be.
    so, are teachers overpaid? HELL NO! unfortunately they also cant do the job they love doing because of all the other obligations and responsibilities society and government have forced them to do.

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