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September 21, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

What are teachers paid per hour? Are teachers overpaid? What is a good teacher worth?

Are teachers overpaid? What are good teachers worth? How much should we be paying teachers? Forbes recently attempted to answer this question just in terms of an hourly rate per student served.

But are teachers overpaid babysitters?

Let’s imagine for a moment that teachers were paid a baby-sitter’s salary. Let’s assume that they charge $3.00 an hour per kid. They “babysit” 25 children from 8AM to 3PM Monday through Friday. That’s eight hours a day, five days a week, for approximately nine months (or 36 weeks) a year. The math, very briefly:

* 8 hours x $3.00/hr = $24 a day per student.
* $24/student x 25 students = $600 a day per class
* 36 weeks x 5 days per week = 180 days
* $600 x 180 days = $108,000.00/year salary.

The average teacher in Wisconsin – where teachers are fighting the Republican governor, Scott Walker, for their right to collectively bargain – makes about $51,000 a year.

(Link) [Side note: even if you adjust the hours worked below 40, you would likely have to increase the amount paid per student. Further, the value in ensuring crime doesn’t occur…..along with the value of graduating kids to high school or college….can further be economically computed…although you would have to divide that by 13 based on the number of years from kindergardento 12. Admittedly this is the value….and its future projected value…..but is a start at estimating a year of teaching from a teacher].

Or you can base the value of a teacher on the quantitative impact on the economy:

Alternative valuation methods are based on the impact of increased achievement on individual earnings and on the impact of low teacher effectiveness on economic growth through aggregate achievement. A teacher one standard deviation above the mean effectiveness annually generates marginal gains of over $400,000 in present value of student future earnings with a class size of 20 and proportionately higher with larger class sizes. Replacing the bottom 5-8 percent of teachers with average teachers could move the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings with a present value of $100 trillion.

From the abstract of “The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality.” by Eric A. Hanushek from Stanford University Link

Yet another calculation of teacher value based on the future earnings of students:
$25,000 X 30 years X 25 students= 18, 750, 000 …..divided by 13 is 1, 442, 307 of value in a given class.
This is a vast under-estimation because it doesn’t assume the value of graduating high school fully or the number of students who end up attending college.
It also doesn’t assume the character & avoiding crime impact played by school. Combined, that should push the number higher.

One Comment

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  1. Nathan Ketsdever / Dec 11 2011 9:22 pm

    I just ran across this interesting scenario about the math of teacher pay:

    Okay. Let me play with the numbers here. Imagine I have the ideal classroom and only have 20 students in my classroom. Let’s just say I am going to be paid $1.00 an hour for each child. So that’s $20.00 per hour. That’s $1.00 per hour to teach your child to read, write, factor mathematical equations, feel safe enough to question and push themselves further, so that when they are set free in to the world they challenge silly people who think their teachers were over compensated. Now back to the math. If I am just an okay teacher and only put in 2 extra hours a day (after teaching your child for 7 hours) to grade papers, come up with lesson plans, meet with parents and change classroom enrichment materials, that means I will make $180.00. Now let’s say I never grade paper, do lesson plans, etc. on the weekends, this will give me $900.00 per week. Now if I multiply that by 4 because there are 4 weeks in a month, that’s $3600/ month. Now we will pretend that teachers don’t do any work in the summer, because everyone knows those classrooms just get themselves ready and those new lesson plans just grow on the desk, so we multiply that by 10 months. That is $36,000 per year. That’s the average starting salary for the teachers in my area. Now that is just $1/hour/child, in the ideal world. The reality is that the average class size is 25 and that most teacher put in more than 2 extra hours a day, and do work on weekends, and do work during the summer. If you factor in the actual work they put in, even at $1/per child/hour, it would only come to about $65,000 per year. I don’t know about you, but my child is precious and worth much more than $1.00 per hour.

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