Date: Oct 3, 2012 12:31 PM
Author: Wayne Bishop
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid

Twice as many teachers?  Not so, we are well in line with others:

One place we differ - and it is crucial - we
insist on not requiring students to know anything
as they move forward; The Prime Directive, you
know. Hence, everything every year and lots of
seat time because we do not assume
student/family/community responsibility for
knowing what's been taught no matter how well it
was presented. And, fighting a lot of unruly
students - lots of them underprepared but a few
knowing far more than the level of the class,
neither good, and occasionally outright criminals.

But the teachers being (generally speaking) the
bottom of the college barrel does fit that model,
we get what we need. There is a lower
educational standard required for babysitting
than teaching. The reference to Japanese reminds
me… I went to hear Jim Stigler shortly after
publication of The Learning Gap, co-authored with
Stevenson who was late in a long career of
comparison studies with Asian schools (the book
is still relevant, by the way). Anyway, Stigler
had been doing the university tour to better
known education schools around the country and he
related an incident at one of them, Chapel Hill,
if I remember correctly. After describing many
differences between comparative schools (schools
at various socioeconomic levels), teacher
academic ability/education, etc., he noticed an
uncomfortable looking young Asian lady in the
audience. Fearing that he was perhaps
overstating the case, he called on her to ask if
he was getting something wrong. Quite the
reverse. She was Japanese and had been a
prospective elementary school teacher who, after
completing nearly all of the preparation, failed
the competency test allowing her to become a
teacher. Instead of waiting another year (and
cramming appropriately) to take the test again,
she had accepted the university's offer to enter
their PhD program in education.


At 07:28 AM 10/2/2012, Paul Tanner wrote:
>Actually, to address teacher salaries and not benefits: They were not
>"killed" since they were never "alive". Look at the salaries over the
>years and you will see that adjusted for inflation, they are in the
>neighborhood of where they've always been.
>But you have not addressed at all the fact that I demonstrated that US
>teachers are very overworked in terms of teaching hours in comparison
>to the teachers of other countries - up to roughly twice as much. And
>that if US teachers were worked no harder than other teachers, then
>the system would have to hire up to roughly twice as many teachers.
>On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 8:17 AM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

> > Well, as I was saying, what killed teacher
> salaries was benefits and all the extras that
> schools have had to fund over the last 3
> decades. Either you are interested in teacher
> salaries, or you are interested in something
> entirely different. If it is the former then I
> would look at the school budgets. As many have
> stated, school funding has tripled (inflation
> adjusted) since the 60's. I bet you that your
> salary issue is in the budget not in a lack of funding.

> >
> > Bob Hansen
> >
> >
> > On Oct 1, 2012, at 9:09 PM, Paul Tanner <> wrote:
> >

> >> These "benefits" are things like health care and pensions to retire
> >> on, things that in these other countries are provided by the *federal*
> >> governments of these countries, sometimes in partnerships with
> >> corporations. That is, they centralize payment for these "benefits".
> >> Since I talked most specifically about Japan below, see
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> and
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> for more.
> >>
> >> As I said in
> >>
> >> "Re: Is This Really Happening?"
> >>
> >>
> >> Quote:
> >>
> >> " economic philosophy is right and conservative economic
> >> philosophy is wrong.
> >>
> >> The former says that many times (not always), it is better to have
> >> more centralization of government services since with more
> >> centralization comes a greater revenue base, which means that
> >> centralization offers a more efficient way to offer government
> >> services, which means that centralization offers more bang for the
> >> buck with respect to government services. (This means that for
> >> instance it's better to have health care financing centralized in the
> >> federal government as progressives say should be done, as apposed to
> >> having 50 different states have 50 different systems. Medicare is a
> >> more successful program than Medicaid since it's much more
> >> centralized. Conservatives in the Democratic Party will be to blame
> >> for the coming partial disaster in Obamacare, since they are ones who
> >> caused that law to have 50 different insurance exchanges in the 50
> >> different states - progressives wanted a single national insurance
> >> exchange. Every smart person not brainwashed by conservatism should be
> >> able to see that it would be better in so many ways to have the
> >> centralized version.)
> >>
> >> Another point on the former: With respect to the total area governed
> >> by the central government of that total area, with more centralized
> >> government services there is more redistribution from the richer areas
> >> through that central government to the poorer areas. This goes on
> >> whether that central government is county government and the
> >> non-central governments are the city governments, whether that central
> >> government is the federal government and the non-central governments
> >> are the state governments. (I've always wondered at the hypocrisy of
> >> the conservative position on redistribution, since whether we're
> >> talking about the poorer and usually more conservative cities in a
> >> county or the poorer and usually more conservative states in the
> >> country, these poorer and usually more conservative entities are
> >> usually the beneficiaries in a big way of redistribution through the
> >> relevant central government.)"
> >>
> >> Oops! You forgot about that, didn't you?
> >>
> >> On Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:09 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

> >>> What killed teacher's salaries was benefits
> and all the extras that schools have had to
> fund in the last 3 decades. Unless you undo a
> bunch of legislation, I don't see that changing
> Paul. And it probably gets worse from here.

> >>>
> >>> Bob Hansen
> >>>
> >>> On Oct 1, 2012, at 6:18 PM, "Paul A. Tanner

> III" <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> US teachers are overworked and underpaid. Here is some proof:
> >>>>
> >>>> "Teacher Pay Around the World"
> >>>>

> >>>>
> >>>> Quotes:
> >>>>
> >>>> "American teachers spend on average 1,080

> hours teaching each year. Across the O.E.C.D.,
> the average is 794 hours on primary education,
> 709 hours on lower secondary education, and 653
> hours on upper secondary education general programs.

> >>>>
> >>>> ...
> >>>>
> >>>> In the United States, a teacher with 15

> years of experience makes a salary that is 96
> percent of the country's gross domestic product
> per capita. Across the O.E.C.D., a teacher of
> equivalent experience makes 117 percent of
> G.D.P. per capita. At the high end of the
> scale, in Korea, the average teacher at this
> level makes a full 221 percent of the country's G.D.P. per capita."

> >>>>
> >>>> Even the hyper-conservative Wall Street

> Journal has the guts to tell the truth on this one:
> >>>>
> >>>> "Number of the Week: U.S. Teachers' Hours Among World's Longest"
> >>>>

> >>>>
> >>>> And:
> >>>>
> >>>> "How much time do teachers spend teaching?"
> >>>>

> >>>>
> >>>> Look at chart D4.2. This shows that the

> number of yearly teaching hours of US teachers
> is roughly 50% greater than the OECD average.
> This is really significant, since the US school
> year is typically shorter. This means therefore
> that each day, US teachers spend vastly more
> time teaching in the classroom than do teachers
> of other countries, which means that US
> teachers have vastly less time each day while
> during contracted work hours to do anything
> else such as collaborating with other teachers
> or preparing instruction or other such
> important things that would involve good teaching.

> >>>>
> >>>> Look at chart D4.3. This shows that the

> percentage of working time spent teaching for
> US teachers was greater than a large majority
> of the other countries in the study, and very
> much larger than for some countries: In the
> neighborhood of *twice as high* as Japan and Norway, for instance.

> >>>>
> >>>> Note: US teachers, although sometimes

> having shorter contracted work time, work much
> longer hours than teachers of other countries
> while not "on the clock", and so total working
> time reflects that for all the countries. These
> not "on the clock" hours would be hours spent
> working while away from school on such as
> grading papers, preparing instruction, and
> calling parents - especially of unruly
> students. (Since the US has a much greater
> classroom disruption problem than these other
> countries, I'd say that we'd find that US
> teachers have to do this latter much more than
> teachers of other countries, mostly in terms of
> calling parents of unruly students, something
> US teachers are required to do by their bosses, the principals.)

> >>>>
> >>>> That is, if only contracted time was

> covered in the definition of working time, then
> the percentage of working hours that were
> teaching hours for the US would probably be off
> the chart greater than almost all the other
> countries, much greater than the already higher
> measures. This means for instance that instead
> of just roughly twice as high as Norway and
> Japan, it would be approaching roughly three
> times higher than Norway and Japan.

> >>>>
> >>>> That is, specifically, let's compare the

> US to Japan, a country that performs on average
> without adjusting for demographics much better
> than the US and almost the entire world on international tests:

> >>>>
> >>>> Using the charts in the very first link

> above, we see that the total number of yearly
> teaching hours of the Japanese teacher is only
> 600 hours per year, while for the US it is
> roughly 1100, almost twice as high. Every
> school I've worked at had me doing roughly 30
> teaching hours per week for about 37.5 hours
> per week that I had to be on campus. That's
> about 75% of contracted time. But the charts in
> the last link say that for the US it's about
> 60% or a bit less - this means that time spent
> outside the campus is included as working time.
> For Japan it's only in the 30-35% range. But
> this is significant, since their school years
> are much longer, about 50% longer at 243 days
> compared to the US's 180. So per school day,
> the average Japanese teacher has about 600/243
> ~ 2.5 teaching hours per day while the average
> US teacher has about 1100/180 ~ 6.1 teaching
> hours per day. (I've read that Japanese
> teachers do not have the same load maxed out
> each and every day like the US teache!

> >> ,!
> >>> b!
> >>>> ut are instead like US community college
> teachers in their weakly load, different on
> different days of the week and much less -
> about half or so - total teaching time per week.)

> >>>>
> >>>> And we see that after 15 years experience,

> the salary of the Japanese teacher (in PPP) is
> roughly $49,000 and of the US teacher it is
> $44,000, but as a percentage of per capita GDP
> (here PPP, not nominal), we see that the
> Japanese teacher gets about 146% but the US teacher gets only about 96%.

> >>>>
> >>>> And so this question:
> >>>>
> >>>> Why are US teachers overworked and

> underpaid compared to so many of these other
> countries - including those that measure higher
> on international tests like Japan?

> >>>>
> >>>> Simple.
> >>>>
> >>>> Conservatives who vote in the school

> districts - the vast majority of which are in
> red (Republican dominated) states and red
> congressional districts (meaning the teacher
> unions in these areas just don't have much
> power after all) have made damn sure through
> their very loud voices that they don't want any
> of those "lazy bum and overpaid" union teachers
> being "worse slackers than they already are".

> >>>>
> >>>> Conservatives would be screaming bloody

> murder if US teachers had it as good as
> Japanese teachers, teaching only 2.5 instead of
> 6.1 hours per school year day and being paid
> 146% of per-capita PPP GDP instead of only 96% of per capita PPP GDP.

> >>>>
> >>>> (Side note: I can imagine some

> conservative trying to sell some fertilizer
> like, "I would have no problem with paying lots
> more taxes to finance US teachers having it
> this good if they got the results that Japanese
> teachers get." My reply would be, "You have it
> backwards - US teachers could get the results
> that the Japanese teachers get only if they the
> US teachers were not forced to be to be
> sardines stuffed in a can, unable to breathe,
> suffocating to death from teaching loads being
> way too heavy and from having to deal with all
> those disputing students. That is, do all that
> to the Japanese teachers, make them vastly more
> overworked and underpaid and having to deal
> with small armies of disrupting students like
> the US teachers, and then watch those Japanese
> scores on those international tests collapse.")