Workin’ at the Carwash

So some heady types from the University of Arkansas, who also work for the Manhattan Institute Policy Research got together and sought to put some tread on the well worn sole of how little teachers get paid. If you wish to read their summary, you can find it here. But let me cut to the interesting chase by pasting some of their finds below, then asking some questions of my own.

Their findings that I have chosen to highlight:
• “…the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005.”
• “Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.”
• Public school teachers are paid 61% more per hour than private school teachers, on average nationwide.

My questions:
• Why are we going with an hourly wage? Most teachers I know find it very difficult to separate “work time” from simple “life time.” Are we just going by hours “at school.” Get real, most of a teacher’s work goes home with them. In almost 20 years of teaching I would’ve killed for just one month when I worked only 40 hours, and that does include the summer months.
• I am blown away by the 61% overage of public to private – I would never have put it at that great a difference. I know my faculty would argue otherwise, but our school’s desire to hit at about 20% below our state’s pay is actually well above the curve.
But much more importantly…
• What is it going to take to get private schooling to a point where we can concentrate on teaching rather than fund raising?
• What should a teacher be paid in comparison to other professions?
• I long for the day when I don’t have to ask these questions, but heaven is still a ways off.


2 thoughts on “Workin’ at the Carwash”

  1. How did they figure out the 36.5 hours per week? What about the meetings before and after school. Also, as you stated, Teachers do bring stacks of papers home every night. People in different professions come home and don’t have anything to do the rest of the night/ weekend… Teachers have to worry about grading papers and getting them back to the students in a decent amount of time, while trying to figure out how and what to teach the next school day.

  2. To me, this is what happens we reduce our lives to numbers and “work” categories. Teaching is not like factory work. It is a way of living. We cannot let the accountants redefine our lives in this way.

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