Some people claim that teachers’ are overpaid- they argue that teachers’ only work 9 or 10 months a year and basically most teachers simply babysit kids today. And for that they should be paid a minimum wage.
That’s right- people claim that we should pay teachers $7.50 (roughly the minimum wage in most states) an hour and only pay them for the hours they worked (not any of that silly planning time or any time they spend before or after school). That would be $48.75 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).
So, in summary each parent should pay $48.75 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Teachers only work about 180 days a year, so that works out to $8775 each year in childcare (per kid) to have teachers babysit your children. That’s a little high for daycare, but is pretty darn close to what some of us pay for our own kids for childcare.
But hold on- let’s look at this from the teacher’s perspective. The average classroom size in America is 23 students. So that means to babysit these students each day the teacher brings in $48.75 x 23 = $1052 a day. If the teacher brings in $1052/day and works 180 days a year, this teacher brings in $189,360.
The average teacher’s salary is about $55,000 though. That’s about $134K less than expected.
Many in the public sector and many union people would argue that the failure here is that people are not paying enough for education- they want higher taxes, more money sent into education, more government control over the process, and more centralized control over education in general coming from Washington DC. They suggest that taxes should be levied on businesses, individuals, homes, and goods that we buy to increase the amount of money that is churned into the education establishment and that if this happened than teachers would be paid more. Probably a bit of the wealth that is extracted from free citizens would in fact find its way to teachers- but this whole argument is missing an important idea- why is so much of parents’ money not finding its way into the classroom now?
The problem is not that government isn’t involved enough here- the problem is that government is too involved in education today. Teachers are being robbed of the wealth that should flow to them for the services that they provide- $134K per year per teacher is being sucked away by non-classroom teachers such as union employees, government bureaucrats, and other useless waste on the system. Oh, some of that money obviously goes to cover administration, those children who free-load because their parents can’t afford to pay, the building costs, bus drivers, and the cost of technology and textbooks- but I doubt that those costs would eat away all of that $134 per teacher per year.
The problem is that education is the government is interfering with the market for supply and demand for education and is running horribly inefficiently. To solve these problems, we need to strengthen the connection between parents paying for education (through local property taxes or direct payments to schools) and the connection between teachers being paid for providing education to these children (without having that money cycle through government bureaucrats all around the United States).
I’m sure my math on this subject is far off, and of course teachers provide much greater service than babysitting, but maybe I’m on to something here- maybe government is not the solution to the problem in education, maybe government is the problem?
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher