Shocker: Teachers Make 50% More Than Private Sector Workers

The underpaid teachers myth dispelled:

( – A new study conducted by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that, contrary to popular belief, public-school teachers receive total compensation more than 50 percent greater than that of private sector employees – if you take into account benefits, job security, summer vacations and other factors.

“There’s a widespread belief among people — really across the political spectrum — from laymen, to politicians, to scholars, that existing teachers are underpaid in terms of their wages and benefits,” said Jason Richwine, Ph.D., senior policy analyst for empirical Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, and coauthor of the study.

“The reality is that it’s just not true,” Richwine said.

Obviously, the teachers themselves (not to mention their unions) are going to disagree, but then who doesn’t think they’re worth every penny of what they’re paid and more? But what’s more irksome than the never-ending demands for more compensation from the teachers (which really aren’t unreasonable, don’t we all want to make more?) is that some think teachers should be paid the same across the nation.

For instance, my home state of North Dakota is routinely ranked near the bottom for teacher pay. This is touted as evidence for needing to increase teacher pay, but really what does it matter what teachers in other states make? If the compensation in North Dakota is enough to attract and keep qualified applicants then it is adequate.

What’s also bothersome is the suggestion that more pay for teachers results in better education. America spends more per student on education than any other country in the world, and yet we certainly don’t rank first (or even near first) in any academic categories.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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