Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pay Scales For Teachers

One of the Idaho Education Association's goals is to have the legislature mandate a minimum starting salary for teachers of $40,000 a year. Look, I do think that teachers are generally underappreciated and often underpaid. But here's a reality check. In Ada County (where the capital is located), and the median household income in 2004 was $50,754 per year, this would mean that a starting teacher would be making probably $10,000 a year more than the average worker (figuring that many but not all of those households have both husband and wife working). Okay, you could argue about this a bit I suppose; a lot of non-teachers here don't have college degrees--although a lot do. But many of those non-teachers have filthy, disgusting jobs that involve significant risk of injury, don't have health insurance through their employer, have no hope of tenure, and work twelve months of the year--not ten.

There are a lot of counties in Idaho where this proposal makes no sense at all. In Elmore County, one of the two counties that make up my district, the median household income in 2004 was $37,148 per year. This would mean that starting teachers in Elmore County would be making almost twice what the average worker does.

When you get to some of the more remote counties, like Madison County, the median household income drops to $32,569 per year. If starting teachers get paid twice what the average person earns (some of whom may have been working for twenty years), this is not going to make any friends for the IEA.

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