Who is funding the war on public education, teachers and labor unions?
Michael Dobie, an editorial writer at Long Island’s Newsday asked, “Who gets a 4 percent raise these days?” He was complaining about teacher pay—that teachers were paid too much.
In this post, I will answer Dobie’s question.
Bill Gates, for one. In 2012, his net worth was estimated at $66 billion. In 2014, it was $80.7 Billion. That’s an increase of $14.7 Billion or 22.2% of what he was worth in 2012.
In addition, Think Progress.org reports that “From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, a rise substantially greater than stock market growth and the painfully slow 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation over the same period.” Divide that 33 year period into 725 percent and the average increase of CEO pay was almost 22 percent annually, and Dobie was complaining in his Newsday OpEd piece about teachers who got a 4 percent annual raise—1.7 percent lower than the growth in worker compensation.
Then The State of Working America.org reported: “From 1983 to 2010, 38.3 percent of the wealth growth went to the top 1 percent and 74.2 percent to the top 5 percent. The bottom 60 percent, meanwhile, suffered a decline in wealth.”
For a comparison, according to CNN.com, “median household income fell slightly to $51,017 a year in 2012, down from $51,100 in 2011 — a change the Census Bureau does not consider statistically significant.”
What is the medium pay of public school teachers compared to the national median household income?
Salary.com reports: the bottom 10% of teachers earn $39,627 annually. The top 10% earns $68,273. The median was $52,380.
Let’s also look closely at what Congress pays itself. In fact, they gave themselves a raise in 2013. How would you like to have the power to give yourself a raise?
“The annual salary of members of (the do nothing but say no) Congress will rise from $174,000 to $174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House and Senate majority leader, will likewise get an increase.” They also get an allowance beyond the salary, and in 2012, individual representatives received MRA allowances ranging from $1,270,129 to $1,564,613, with an average of $1,353,205.13. In the Senate, the average SOPOEA allowance is $3,209,103, with individual accounts ranging from $2,960,716 to $4,685,632, depending on the population of the senators’ states.
But teachers don’t have an expense account. They pay out of their own pocket. The Journal.com reports: “Teachers Spend $1.3 Billion Out of Pocket on Classroom Materials.” And I know a teacher who pays a retired teacher $25 an hour to help him keep up with correcting student work. He doesn’t have the time, because he is required to call the parents of his 150 – 170 students every night to remind them their child has homework.
Hey, Dobie, before you kick a teacher again, look at Bill Gates, a member of the top 1%, and Congress and think about who really deserves your boot in the butt.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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