Are Teachers Really 'Not Paid for the Work [They] Do'? Time Says Yes, Reality Begs To Differ


A single teacher is paid better than household median wage where I live after just a few years. Two-teacher households do very well.

Yet Oregon performs poorly compared to nationwide statistics.

“I truly love teaching,” says the 52-year-old. “But we are not paid for the work that we do.”

The polite term for this sort of journalism is b.s.

Indeed, according to Time’s sister publication, Money, the median household income in Kentucky is $45,215, meaning that Brown is making about $10,000 more than half of all other households in the Bluegrass State.

The percentage of students in Oregon who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 33 percent in 2017. This percentage was smaller than the nation (40 percent).


I suppose a lot depends a lot on where, but there are certainly a lot of overpaid and underspanked public school teachers. If I recall correctly, New York (state) has the highest median teacher salary in the country, and on the whole, they don’t produce worth a hoot, either. And Mom told of seeing a news story of a teachers’ strike in the Pittsburgh area- in the early '90s- and this woman was saying: “Have you ever tried to make it on $52,000 a year?!” No, but I’d sure love to try. Athough there’re only two of us in our household at present, we’d be cooking with gas in 2018 we had that salary even with the 5 and the 2 reversed…


Add to that the fact that they work 10 months a year PLUS the fact that “not the sharpest blades in the drawer” became education majors. That was the way it was when I was in undergraduate school.

Many years ago, John Silber, who was a conservative Democrat who ran for governor of Massachusetts, was the head of education for the state. He got into testing teachers, and found that some of them, despite the fact that they were college graduates, were unable to read above the elementary school level. He started letting them go, and no surprise, the unions screamed bloody murder. If you can’t read, how are you qualified to be a teacher?

My mom was language arts teacher in the 4th through 6th grades. She worked hard and saved a lot of kids who might have dropped thought the cracks. Several of them came up to me that at her funeral.

You could not say the same for some of her colleagues. For them education was turning on the TV and trying to keep the kids quiet.


Teaching in a public school is miserable for the most part. I know so many people who you’d think were born to teach, but who were driven out by the awful and oppressive conditions. Unreasonable parents. Restrictive rules.

Don’t blame the teachers for student performance. For the most part, they’re just doing what the bureaucrats are forcing them to do. Teachers take a lot of blame for what are really administrative and political failures.


My mother saw her share of asinine parents. The trouble is in her day she got the backing of school administrators, and the vast majority of the parents wanted their kids to get an education, not just pull down grades they didn’t deserve or have their kid indoctrinated with progressive ideology. Kids that were disruptive were taken out of class or expelled if they were really bad.

I believe that all this rot started in the colleges. While I was in undergraduate school in the late 1960s, over half the class flunked out. Forget about everybody getting all A’s or B’s. If you didn’t produce, you were gone.

I had trouble my freshman year because I was in the wrong major, engineering, pushed there by my parents. Once I got into accounting, business courses, history and economics, there was no problem.

Today, it’s different. Everybody has to be to be a winner. That’s how people who can’t read ended up with college diplomas and teaching credentials. All you need to do is spit back the right politics, and you will get through school.


I don’t know if teachers are “overpaid” or not. I agree that the Times article in question seems wildly melodramatic and false. But the problem with public schools is much like many other problems we’re having: bloated government structures filled with unqualified busybodies who rule over the people who are actually qualified. Interestingly: this has always been a major problem with socialism—that it leads to “committees” filled with corrupt and ignorant bureaucrats who “oversee” the people who are actually qualified to do the jobs. It’s hard to say what the solution is…privatizing education is too much of a political hand grenade to ever get done.


Who are you and what have you done with J. Anderson…?:alien:


Unfortunately, so we work through with what we’ve got the best we can. I think charter schools and vouchers are a step in the right direction. My kids go to public although they have an option for charter. The public charter school is doing really well here, but kids from families that value education usually do well in the regular public schools too.

Qix, let me introduce you to J. This is J. :wink:


Bah, that can’t be J: there was nothing there for me to argue against…


Much of this started back in the 60’s when some moron decided that black children were failing in school because there were very few black teachers, so, particularly in urban school districts, the rush was on to find and hire blacks as teachers. NO attention was paid to qualifications. Having a BS or BA after one’s name was sufficient to get hired to teach. Often only an Associate degree was sufficient. No attention was paid whatsoever to whether or not these people COULD teach.

Another factor in play was, regardless of race, college students who couldn’t cut the mustard in more rigorous disciplines changed to an “Education” major because so little was actually required to achieve a teaching degree and certification compared to say law, medicine or engineering. Sociology and business degrees were a close second. This was a result of society deciding that EVERYONE “deserves” a college education and MUST have one in order to be successful. 'Way too many people bought this lie hook, line and sinker. In fact, I was one of them, opting for a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology on the advice of a “counselor” because I was a police officer while going to college. I didn’t realize my mistake until much later. I lucked into a great job with a major oil company ONLY because I had that degree. I’d been working for almost a year before the man who hired me even ASKED what my college major was. As it turned out, I was very good at what I was hired to do, so the degree didn’t matter.


So what ought we do about it, folks? What do you think the firs action should be to fix it? What “pie-in-the-sky” is the best solution? And what realistic reform is the best next step?


Reform primary and secondary education to teach our kids HONEST history, the REAL Constitution, life (how to balance your checkbook, cook a meal, drive a car, change the oil or a flat tire, sew on a button, etc.), the basics of chemistry and physics, math, reading, writing and literature. It’s not the public school’s BUSINESS to teach kids how to put a condom on a cucumber or banana or “relative morality.” Those are the jobs of PARENTS. Secondly, we need to take “colleges of education” and drown them like an unwanted cat. If you want someone to teach history, hire a historian. If you want someone to teach literature, hire a writer. If you want someone to teach the Constitution, hire a constitutional attorney.

One of the best history professors I ever had taught revolutionary war history (tongue in cheek) from the viewpoint of the British! I learned more about our founding from him than from anything else I ever studied.


Get the defibrilator; I’m agreeing with J.Anderson…


I’ve done that several times lately…the real J.Anderson is locked in a basement somewhere and parties unknown (probably VRWC operatives) have taken over his account.


Is privatizing education a thing you believe to be desirable? Why or why not?


A few hundred years ago, there were arguments from people, who were as classical liberal (i.e. skeptical of state power) as you like, arguing for the necessity of a public school system. It’s difficult to put oneself in that context to say whether they were right or wrong. I don’t think public school is inherently undesirable in all contexts, but I think it’s hard to defend it in our current context. As best I can tell, there’s plenty of infrastructure for a private school system to emerge in its absence. Public schools have no incentive to innovate. Let me ask you this: if you had a choice between a school offering critical thinking and logic courses, and a school without them, which would you pick (all else being equal). Right. So why hasn’t public school incorporated critical thinking and logic? Certainly not because parents don’t care about these things.

From my layman’s perspective, my argument would go like this:

Parents, not the state, are best equipped, and most motivated, to know what’s best for their kids. Private systems are pretty well empirically established as more responsive to consumer desires than state-ran systems. Therefore, a private system should respond better to parent’s desires for their kids’ education than the state, and a system driven by parental choice should operate better than a system designed by the choices and preferences of bureaucrats.


Schools were MUCH better when they were exclusively controlled as to curricula, teacher qualifications, etc. by LOCAL communities. They got screwed up when the FEDS started funding them and then demanded that they teach BS they had no business being involved in.


I find nothing to disagree with in any of this except for the proposition that it was written by the original J.Anderson. Who is using his account as a sock puppet?


That Jay Leno…

If you don’t stop saying things that I agree with, my head is going to explode…


I taught in the Kalifornia public school system (taught high school math, chemistry, biology, and physics) in the early 1980’s . . . lasted only about five years before I quit in frustration.

Be careful what you wish for.

Part of the required math curriculum was a course called “Consumer Math”.

The course included not only lessons on how to balance a checkbook, but lessons ON HOW TO FILL OUT LOAN APPLICATIONS.

What we were turning out was burger flippers who knew how to secure loans but never had the horsepower to repay them. They were perpetual minimum wage kings and queens, and always deep in debt.

I was taught the three R’s in Catholic school in the 50’s. For all their faults and flaws, the brothers, priests, and nuns were excellent educators. Required parts of the curriculum were things such as Latin (four years), Algebra I and II, Trigonometry, Geometry, Calculus, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics.

And of course Catechism was in there too.

I remember that I lugged home a huge load of books every night, and always had about four hours of homework.

Those days are gone.

Anyway, “Consumer Math” was not a course I favored. Nevertheless, it was required to graduate.