Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Real Reason for the Milwaukee Public Schools Financial Troubles

From School Choice Wisconsin, an analysis of how fringe benefits are eating up the budget of the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Let’s be honest about this: not only are public school teachers overpaid (private schools hire teachers for much less and get equal or better results), their fringe benefits are absurdly generous.

So whenever one hears whining and complaining about “underfunded” public schools, remember that the teachers’ union is at fault for creating a monster that gobbles up cash and fails children.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous mrslovett said...

I'm sorry, from where are you getting the information that "public school teachers are overpaid"? Can you produce any evidence to that effect which is not a post from a like-minded blogger?

What price is "too much" for public education? Aside from my personal views that education is a right not a privilege, and that it is a national shame that our country goes trillions into debt war-mongering in other countries while students in our schools do not have enough textbooks, enough desks to learn from, it's pretty easy to make a self-interested case for funding public education.

Don't like welfare? Students who can get a solid education will have more options in terms of jobs later in life and not need to rely as much on the state. How about prisons? In some school districts in Florida, the reading scores of elementary school students are used for prison growth projections (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-163980391.html). Wouldn't you rather pay for education, which will add to our economy by producing individuals prepared to exercise their full potential in the workforce, than deal with the results of a faltering system?

I have lots more justifiable rage but need to get back to planning - I'm a public school teacher who gets to work at 6:45-7 every morning, stays until 5-5:30 every night, works at home weeknights for a couple more hours, started working today at 11 and will continue for a while more, and will go into school tomorrow (Sunday) for three hours. And I bet I'm paid half of what you are paid to make unsubstantiated remarks in this echo chamber of a blog.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I taught at a private school for two years and a public school for one. The difference in pay for first-year teachers was about 20% higher at the public school, even before benefits were figured in. The public health plan was (a) almost free, and (b) ridiculously good - small deductible, tiny drug copays, and almost no co-insurance.

When I student taught at an MPS elementary school, I sat in on budget meetings. The average salary + benefits for all teachers was around $69,000 (this was 2002). There's a website (url escapes me) where you can see individual teacher salaries, and I recently checked and found the median salary at MPS was $55,000. A friend of mine who works in a non-MPS public school will soon max out the pay schedule (remember, teachers get automatic large raises every year) at about $90,000 a year (salary only).

I'm not claiming that they're overpaid based on these numbers, necessarily, but don't for a MINUTE ever believe a claim that teachers are underpaid. If I were designing a system, I would (a) start teachers around $35 instead of $25-30, (b) cut automatic yearly raises, institute discretionary raises, and (d) keep automatic raises for further education credits.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Lovett, I have plenty of evidence. Charlene Hardin, Peter Blewett and a 50% graduation rate.
Nothing personal, but you work in a cesspool of failure.
You're school budget amounts to $15,000.oo per pupil and that includes the drop outs and flunkies. 79,000 students divided by 6100 teachers equals an average of 13 kids per teacher. And this is if all kids show up.
My wife taught in MPS for 11 years and left for a private school 10 years ago. She makes much less and achieves much more.
I'm sorry about your non-sequitor nonsense about war and peace, but Mrs. Lovett, you are a part of failure. I'm sorry if the truth hurts. Enjoy your summer off, and go get a free pair of new glasses asap, it's only tax money.
Mrs. Lovett, if you gave a damn, you'd take the same salary as my wife does. You don't.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I have no problem spending more money on education. Let's just actually spend money on education and not just on paying teachers more. Given a choice between hiring 10% more teachers and paying teachers 10% more, I will ALWAYS choose the former.

You do realize that because of budget caps, whenever teachers get a raise, other spending has to be cut to pay for it, right? Usually, that means firing "extraneous" teachers... like music, art, etc. How exactly does that improve the quality of education?

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

If public school teachers, especially in places like MPS, didn't get sweet benefits, NO ONE would choose to teach there. Seriously, I know MPS teachers who have been beat up by 3rd graders.

The students fail because in addition, MPS has no standards for their teachers because they can't afford to be picky (example - I know nearly half a dozen MPS teachers who are regular recreational drug users), school choice has removed the highest tier students and put them in private schools so that the overall bar of achievement has to be lowered in public schools, and parents are not being held accountable for their children's education. You think all those public school parents are reading with their kids or making sure Jonny finishes his homework before he watches tv? Doubtful. Teachers can only do so much.

4:18 PM  

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