Don’t throw any rotten apples at me, please. I could apply any number of adjectives to my teaching career, but “overpaid” isn’t one of them.
Still, I recommend that blog readers take a look at a study just published by the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. I’ll simply report the findings from their executive summary:
“Standard analytical approaches to this question compare teacher salaries to the salaries of similarly educated and experienced private-sector workers, and then add the value of employer contributions toward fringe benefits. These simple comparisons would indicate that public-school teachers are under-compensated. However, comparing teachers to non-teachers presents special challenges not accounted for in the existing literature.
First, formal educational attainment, such as a degree acquired or years of education completed, is not a good proxy for the earnings potential of school teachers. Public-school teachers earn less in wages on average than non-teachers with the same level of education, but teacher skills generally lag behind those of other workers with similar “paper” qualifications. We show that:
The wage gap between teachers and non-teachers disappears when both groups are matched on an objective measure of cognitive ability rather than on years of education. . .”
It turns out that the report offers still another indictment of teacher recruitment and preparation, with data showing, among other things, that education majors have lower standardized test scores and higher (inflated?) grades than other college graduates.
To further quote from the report: “Although the College Board is reluctant to say exactly what the SAT measures, it is essentially an IQ test.19 In 2010, the College Board asked students taking the SAT about their intended college major. Students who indicated that education was their intended major earned a combined math and verbal score of 967, about 0.31 standard deviations below the average of 1,017, meaning the 38th percentile in a standard normal distribution.20 In contrast, students intending to major in engineering had average combined SAT scores of 1,118. In a standard wage regression, however, individuals with bachelor’s degrees in education and engineering are assumed to possess the same human capital and should earn the same wages, all else being equal.”
Okay, this report is going to infuriate a lot of people. But the authors make serious arguments, and substantiate them with empirical findings.
You can read the report here: