So I started to think about teachers as the CAUSE OF ALL ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN THE U.S. today ( At least this is the image that is being projected today). I considered my salary and whether I was ripping off the taxpayers in California… who pay about $9,000 per student a year for each student’s education.
(Source: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind10/c8/c8s1o11.htm). I decided to examine this question through several lenses.
Using high-end figures for my analysis, my salary and benefits would equal $100,000. For clarity and simplicity I have used rounded numbers for this discussion. To begin with I teach 200 students a day for 180 days. When I divide $100,000 by these numbers I come to a daily cost of $2.78 per student per day. Now since I have reached the top of my district’s pay scale, most of the teachers at my site earn less than I do. But let’s err on the high side and say that on average teachers at my school cost the tax payer $2.50 per class for each student’s teacher. Students at my school have 7 classes a day so the teachers’ salaries (including all benefits) would cost the taxpayer $17.50 a day or$ 87.50 a week or $350.00 a month. I am paid 10 equal payments throughout the year which means $3,500.00 is the cost of a child’s teacher at my site for an entire year.
Question …where is the other $5,500 spent?
Is a child’s education in my class worth a parent passing up a Starbucks…or a Big Mac…or a trip on the Metro? Is the cost of a day of education for a child worth a pair of movie tickets…or two margaritas…or having someone clean half your house?
Sidebar: Considered another way… the amount of money my district receives for 11 of my 200 students would cover the cost of my salary and benefits for a year.
Now let’s return to my data. You could say I cost each parent of each student in my class $2.78 a day. I spend 45 minutes instructing that child. This does not include the time spent planning and researching and grading any assignment your student is given. It does not include the hour and a half minimum I spend every day after school working with students who need extra help or a place to work or to access the technology or supplies they need in order to complete their homework. Also be aware that I have the same educational experience as a lawyer. I have a BA, a credential, a CLAD certificate, and a MS. That is 8 years of college level work. I have 36 years of experience. I belong to professional organizations, read current literature, and attend conferences to improve my practice.
Question…Which doctor, lawyer, accountant, or therapist would you expect to provide 45 minutes of services at a cost of $2.78?
Next I considered my salary through another lens. How much does each student cost the tax payer for the hours I work?
Once again I will use the $100,000 figure for my salary and benefits and the 200 figure for my number of students. (My actual student number is 197 by the way). If I add up the actual hours I work the average would be 10 hours a day. For the purposes of this discussion I will not include my weekend hours.
Next I did the math.
100,000/10=10,000 salary divided by months
10,000 /4= 2,500 cost per week
2,500/5=500 cost per day
500/10=50 cost per hour
50/200=.25 This is the cost to the taxpayer per student per hour for me to prepare, instruct, and evaluate a child’s learning.
Question… How many minutes at a parking meter is that or how many minutes on a dryer at a Laundromat?
By the way if I completed this process using my 7 hour contracted day the cost comes to .33 cents per student per hour.
I am a bargain for the taxpayers and for the children that I teach. As we work as a nation to improve economic conditions let’s not nickel and dime the education of our children. That would be “penny wise and pound foolish” (Burton).