Public school teachers are paid more — about 11 percent more — than the average professional worker, concludes a Manhattan Institute study based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Furthermore, higher teacher pay is not associated with higher student achievement.
The average public school teacher earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, according to the BLS, which estimates full-time public teachers average 36.5 hours a week during the school year. They earn 61 percent more per hour than private teachers, who work a slightly longer week.
Compared with public school teachers, editors and reporters earn 24% less; architects, 11% less; psychologists, 9% less; chemists, 5% less; mechanical engineers, 6% less; and economists, 1% less.
Compared with public school teachers, airplane pilots earn 186% more; physicians, 80% more; lawyers, 49% more; nuclear engineers, 17% more; actuaries, 9% more; and physicists, 3% more.
Among urban teachers, Detroit, San Francisco and New York City teachers make the most. Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina are the chintziest cities.
The BLS counted hours teachers work at school. Half of teachers told the survey they take work home, as did 30 percent of all professional workers. One of the problems with teacher pay is that teachers who do hours of extra work preparing new lessons and grading papers don’t earn any more for it than teachers who work only the scheduled hours. Hard work isn’t rewarded. Neither is excellent work, of course.