I came across a Huffington Post article telling about a California school teacher, 9 year veteran, Michelle Apperson, who received a notice that she may be laid off due to budgetary issues. While these notices have become common place, what makes this article noteworthy is that Ms Apperson is the most recent recipient of her district’s Teacher of the Year Award.
My reaction was “This is probably the wrong teacher to lay off, but her complaint lies with her own union.”
Let me explain. In my opinion, school teachers are overpaid. (Let the shouts ring out, the arrows fly, and the oil begin to boil.) My statement is not a value judgment, it is a market judgment. But, let’s play the value judgment game for a minute, and compare teachers to nurses. I think most would agree that the two professions are essentially equal in their occupational contribution to society.
According to O-net, an occupational website that gathers information on jobs nationwide, a Secondary School Teacher, 87% of who have a BA and 13% have a Master’s degree, makes $54,270 on average, nationwide. The same website lists a Nurse Practitioner, 93% with Master’s Degree and 7% with a Doctorate or Professional degree making $65,950 on average, nationwide.
But, wait you say, the nurse makes more than the teacher. How can you say the teacher is overpaid, if both are societaly equal? Let’s make an adjustment for time worked. The vast majority of teachers get summer’s off. That means they work 9 months out of the year. The nurse works year round. Adjust that and the nurse is now making $5496 per month, and the teacher, $6030. The teacher makes about 10% more per month.
But let’s not stop there. 93% of the nurses have Master’s degree, while only 13% of the teachers do. The nurses had to invest much more time and money to get to where they are at. Then there are work hours. Teachers work M-F, 7AM to 3 PM, for the most part. Nurses can have shifts ranging around the clock, weekends, and holidays. Now let’s revisit time off. Teachers have two weeks off for Christmas and New Years, another week for Thanksgiving and another week for
Spring Break. Nurses have vacation time, but must be with their company for many years before they can get four weeks off, and then getting time off around the holidays is rationed, as it is with most businesses.