Two researchers say definitely not, once you consider fringe benefits
There is an interesting article in the November 8, 2011 Wall Street Journal from two researchers at the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
According to Heritage’s Jason Richwine and AEI’s Andrew G. Biggs, once you consider the long summer break that teachers enjoy, their now much better than private sector health care, and their rather generous retirement programs, teachers actually earn about 52 percent more in total compensation than comparably educated individuals in the private sector earn.
How is that possible?
Reports the Journal:
“While salaries are about even, fringe benefits push teacher compensation well ahead of comparable employees in the private economy. The trouble is that many of these benefits are hidden, meaning that lawmakers, taxpayers and even teachers themselves are sometimes unaware of them.”
I’m not ready to say Biggs and Richwine have this right – all such analyses contain some problematic assumptions.
Still, we need to get a handle on what we are really paying our teachers. When lawmakers and even the teachers themselves may not know, that is a major problem.