California: higher pay, lower funding

California teachers average $64,000 a year, the highest pay in the nation and about $12,000 over the national average. California spends $2,500 a year per student less than the national average.

Some unions have agreed to work fewer days for less pay, but teachers are reluctant to accept cuts in their wages and benefits. So classes are growing larger.

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Comments

  1. (1) Comparing to the national average salary is a useless statistic unless cost of living is factored in… The average California teacher salary is 23% higher than the national average… but the cost-of-living index for California is 131.46 (100.00 is around average).

    (2) The average for the state belies the great differences within the state… Oakland teacher’s starting salary is $39,000 before taxes… I’d guess after federal & state taxes, that’s about $27,000 or $3000/month for 9 months. The Oakland school district is a notoriously “challenging” district in which to work.

  2. (1)Except that the cost of living is inextricably intertwined with the tax take and one of the drivers of high taxes is….high teacher’s salaries.

    (2)Oakland is also one of the lowest paying districts which means…all other districts pay a higher starting wage and higher average wages.

  3. Except that the cost of living is inextricably intertwined with the tax take and one of the drivers of high taxes is….high teacher’s salaries.

    This might be true if California was one of the leaders in money spent per pupil. It’s not. The high cost of living and the high taxation are not the fault of education, but are instead the fault of out of control spending in Sacramento.

  4. I left out “and the high cost of educating and providing services to illegal aliens….

  5. Every constituency and every function that draws its sustenance from the public purse is at fault.

    Also, teacher’s pay, as indeed all government employee’s pay, is only loosely related to value. The real determinant of compensation is political clout.

  6. You guys seem to be missing the point. Let’s say that teachers’ salaries (please put your apostrophes in the correct place on an education blog) are appropriate at their level based on cost of living at about 1/4 more than the rest of the nation. That magnifies how little California is spending to educate its students. Since teacher wages are about 40% of the average education budget ($4,000 out of $11,000 average), California is spending about half of what other states are on things outside of teacher pay ($3500 vs $7,000). Considering a large chunk of that goes to property costs, which are higher in California than elsewhere, there’s an even bigger gap. There’s a problem somewhere and it doesn’t come from spending too much on education.

  7. Mark Roulo says:

    Considering a large chunk of that goes to property costs, which are higher in California than elsewhere, there’s an even bigger gap.

    A large chunk should not be going towards property costs, unless you mean ongoing building maintenance. The vast majority of K-12 schools are owned by the districts and it isn’t like we are replacing the buildings every 10 years (of course, if we are then I see part of the funding problem…).

    -Mark Roulo

  8. Mom-of-2 says:

    How much do readers here think teachers should be paid? Just curious.

  9. Mark Roulo says:

    How much do readers here think teachers should be paid? Just curious.

    Good teachers (say, top 10% … ignoring the question of how we measure/determine this)? Poor teachers (bottom 10%)? Wealthy district? Poor district? Unspecialized (say, elementary) or specialized (say, math or physics)? Which part of the country?

    If you ask how much engineers “should” be paid, a reasonable answer can run a range of at least 4x from lowest to highest. And this is ignoring the true superstars and the ones who shouldn’t be engineering at all.

    -Mark Roulo

  10. Mark Roulo says:

    How much do readers here think teachers should be paid? Just curious.

    One more factor: How many kids do these teachers teach (if elementary), or how many kids/class and how many classes?

    -Mark Roulo

  11. As I don’t have a master’s degree, I make less than the state average *and* less than average for my district–and I have finished 13 years of teaching. In fact, I’m topped out on our pay scale and will never again see a pay raise until I get a master’s degree.

    Just tossing this out there: what, exactly, it the correlation between having a master’s degree and being an excellent teacher?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kriley19, Joanne Jacobs. Joanne Jacobs said: New blog post: California: higher pay, lower funding http://bit.ly/bVPQeF […]

  2. […] making California the 33rd to join, yesterday’s big headline around these parts is that California teachers make the most in the country, despite per-student spending being $2,000 less than […]

  3. […] Personally, this sounds mostly like political posturing more than anything. An article Joanne Jacobs mentioned a couple of days ago says, California actually spends much less per student in non-classroom spending (ie teacher […]