A recent study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative-leaning think tank, concludes that when wages, benefits, and job security are accounted for, public school teachers are compensated 52 percent more than their skills would garner in the private sector.
At an education forum in Washington this week, reported by Francesca Duffy of Education Weekly, the authors of the study new study on teacher compensation discussed their "surprising conclusion that, counter to popular belief, public school teachers are overpaid."
Duffy's article can be read in its entirety here ( you have to register). Here's a couple of nuggets:
"One goal of the discussion was to promote the idea that states facing budget shortfalls should consider teacher compensation—a sacred cow in many states—as a viable area for spending cuts.
"Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, another conservative-leaning think tank, and co-author of the study, dismissed Education Secretary Arne Duncan's claim that teachers are "desperately underpaid." He contended that the standard regression method, which compares teachers to workers with equivalent education and finds that teachers are underpaid, is flawed because it doesn't consider "unobservable ability." People going into teaching have lower SAT and GRE scores than people who pursue other fields, he said. Thus, in the case of teachers, "years of education could be an overestimate of cognitive skills." In addition, the education major itself is not as rigorous as other fields of study, Richwine said. When teachers and other workers are compared by cognitive ability, he added, "the wage penalty has essentially disappeared."
"Richwine also pointed out that public school teachers on average make more than private school teachers, which he said could be taken as an indication that the public sector could pay teachers less. To support the point, he later said the "experience of the private school teacher is similar in terms of working conditions" to the public school teacher—an assertion that received an audible gasp from the audience."
The way I see it, this is another salvo in the battle to blame teachers for everything that's wrong with this country. First it was the terrible state of our schools, now it's the massive budget deficits the nation, the states, the cities are facing. It's the teachers! The big bankers, they don't count?