Exploding the Myth of the Underpaid Teacher (Part 2)

In part two of my expose, I am going to use the information readily available to anyone who cares to look, to expose the truth about the teaching profession, teacher’s unions,  and their cronies. No matter where you are in California or the rest of the USA, take a moment to Google Teacher Salaries in [my district].  Now, please understand, this is just BASE SALARY and does not include any overtime, summer pay, or benefits.  Again, I am using Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) in California as my example.

There are two documents easily accessible to anyone via the web.  It takes less than two minutes to locate with a simple Google search. If you wish to look for yourself, here is the link to the 2016-2017 Salary Schedule for Certificated employees for Desert Sands Unified School District.  The second document that you should review is the teaching schedule or School Year Calendar.  Again, I invite you to download this document for yourself.  Click on the link to find the 2017-2018 School Year Calendar for Desert Sands Unified School District.

While the salary schedule is important, the School-Year Calendar is a more important document because it exposes the disparity between the teaching class, and the professional class in California.  Most teachers that I know want to be recognized as professionals in their field, so for the purposes of this review, I will be comparing the salary and benefits of other similarly educated professionals (Engineers, Architects, Urban Planners, Managers, etc.).  I have specifically chosen to not compare Teachers to Doctors and Lawyers because of the massive disparity in educational requirements and the cost of entry to the profession.

Over the course of my career as and Urban Planner, I have hired dozens of young professionals (YPs) right out of college and put them to work.  The entry level hiring package for these private sector professionals peaked from 2004-2008.  At that time, the need for competent and talented YPs was great, and there was tremendous competition in the marketplace.  However, since 2008 and through the duration of the last recession, entry level salaries and total compensation have dropped dramatically, to the point where typical entry level salary for a college graduate in a professional field is now between $35,000 and $45,000/year.  There is no guarantee of continued employment, and you must prove your value to the firm annually.

For teachers, the State Union (CTA) has “negotiated” contracts with the local school districts that make teaching the new “dream job” in the minds of many college students.  If you come out of college with a Bachelor’s Degree and you have completed the “fifth year” which is necessary to complete your teaching credential.  You are hired in at close to $55,000/year with a benefit package that no private sector company can hope to match (more on that in part 3).  If you keep your nose clean, you are granted tenure within 2 years, and now you have a job for life, or at least that is what the Union wants you to believe.

So, the typical teaching professional, right out of college, begins his/her career with a $10,000 to $20,000 head start in annual pay for no more effort than is required by any other profession.  But the disparity really begins when you cross reference actual working days between the teaching profession and other professions.

Most YPs are also happy with one-two weeks paid vacation, and a handful of national holidays (usually 7-10). That means the typical young professional, right out of college, works up to 240 days per year, compared to the same young teacher who works only 184.  This same young teacher, has the ability to work overtime, weekends, and summer if he/she chooses to further increase his/her annual salary.

So, are Teaching Professionals underpaid when compared to other professionals of similar education and experience?  Let’s break this down by combining the Salary Schedule and Working Days and determining a per working day wage:

Entry level Teacher:  $55,000/yr. divided into 184 working days = $299/per day

Entry level Professional: $45,000/yr divided into 240 working days = $188/per day

The bottom line is that when you compare apples to apples, Teaching Professionals begin their careers with a MASSIVE financial advantage over other similarly educated professionals.  Of course we haven’t even discussed automatic annual pay raises, step raises, and benefits available from the Union, banks and credits unions, and private sector companies that increase the gap dramatically.

In Part 3, I will expose the Benefit packages that our Public School administrators and teachers enjoy.  It’s amazing to me that so many teachers still complain about having to pay an incredibly small co-payment, or a singularly small deductible, while the rest of us pay the equivalent of a HOUSE PAYMENT just to have health insurance.

It’s time for all of us to speak #TruthToPower #TakeBackCalifornia #MakeCaliforniaGreatAgain #WakeUpCalifornia.

To your health, happiness, prosperity!

Kevin

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