Underpaid teachers?

"The basic facts are that, on the whole, public school teachers are not underpaid, says Greene. They're paid about 11% better per hour than other professional and technical specialty workers - that's the cluster of occupations, from clergy to physicians, that the Department of Labor says teachers are part of. They're paid about 16% more in metro Milwaukee."

By Patrick McIlheran JS Online

There was something in National Geographic a while back about a man in India whose job was to descend into sewers and unclog them. Afterward, encrusted, he went door to door until he found someone willing to lend him a hose to clean off.

Whatever he was being paid, it wasn't enough.

People have some of that "you couldn't pay me enough" sentiment about difficult jobs that do pay enough to attract workers in America. Teaching is one of them. That's probably because we recall how we treated the substitute teacher back in junior high.

Jay P. Greene, who teaches in the education school at the University of Arkansas, suggests that "we want to say we appreciate teachers and that we value them," and so we say teachers are underpaid. It shows we care.

"But that shouldn't blind us to basic facts," he says. That's doubly so in Wisconsin, now that teachers unions have put higher pay on Gov. Jim Doyle's shopping list.

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