In a recent address titled "Working Toward 'Wow,'" delivered to the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Arne Duncan declared that public school teachers "should be earning a lot more money — as much as $150,000 per year."
Duncan began with a fantasy from a newspaper cartoon in which superstar athletes are "standing around waiting to get an autograph from a short, balding guy. One player points to him and says, 'I wish I had that kind of money and respect.' Another athlete points to the man and says, 'Wow! A teacher!'"
As loaded as LeBron James and Peyton Manning may be, with their incomes in the tens of millions of dollars, they and their fellow sports stars can't boast receiving a $10 billion bailout from the taxpayers last year, as public school teachers can.
What's more, public school teachers are already paid tremendously well. Research projects by the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey, Ohio University economist Richard Vedder, and the Manhattan Institute's Jay Greene and Marcus Winters all found teachers' hourly earnings exceed significantly those of architects, mechanical engineers, biological and life scientists, and other professionals.
Greene and Winters found that the average public school teacher earned $34.06 per-hour in 2005, some 11% more than the average professional specialty and technical worker.
If our education system was functioning properly, I'm not sure that I'd be as resistant to this as I am...but it's not working and hasn't been for more than 20 years. More money in the form of a huge pay raise isn't going to fix the problem...it's going to make it far far worse. We've been tossing piles of cash at our education system for 40 years, since Nixon founded the Dept of Education at the federal level.
Since federal intervention, schools have gone from mediocre, to poor, to...turning out kids who when they go to college aren't prepared to work at the college level. And Democrats want to throw even more money at a constiuency of theirs (National Association of Teacher, oddly enough a huge financial supporter of the Democratic Party)...
It's time to abolish the federal Dept of Education and return the responsibility for education back to the states and the counties where it has resided for the vast majority of our history. No more federal funds for education. It's ruined our schools and turned out 2 generations worth of illeducated and ill prepared adults.