A surefire applause line for a politician is a vow to spend more money on public education. This sets my teeth on edge. One of my pet peeves is that lack of funding isn’t at the root of our declining public school system.
Exhibit A today is a story from Business Insider. It is about what teachers are paid, and it focuses on one state, Illinois.
Money is unlikely to be the heart of the problem, when teachers are making this much:
Illinois is broke. There is a great debate beginning in the state about public pensions. Teachers pensions are a part of that debate. An aside, another travesty in Illinois is public school administrators.
They make an average of $106,217 in salary, not including pensions and health benefits. In the final three years of their contracts, school districts jack up the administrator salaries to increase their pension benefits for life. Of course, there is hardly a check or balance on the behavior. The taxpayer gets stung.
Teachers also have a pretty good deal in Illinois. They are 100% unionized. The rent seeking teachers’ union curries favor with the Democrats. Democrats at every level of government do whatever the union wants.
The average teacher in the state of Illinois makes $61,402. Illinois teachers work around 176 days, 300 minutes, or 5 hours, per day. That’s just over 35 weeks per year. On average, they make $348.88 per day, $1.16 per minute, or $69.60 per hour guaranteed. Teachers in Illinois work an average of 12 years. They can retire at age 55.
Let me say-and say quickly-that I want teachers to be paid well. A great teacher can affect your entire life. I am quoting this story mainly to make the point that, if we care about public education, we need to do something more than spend more money.