Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Isn't it great to be a teacher?

from http://perceptionvsfact.com/13to 
Yes, it is great to be a teacher. However, unless you are a teacher or know one very well, it's probably not for the reasons you think. The one example that I am constantly having to explain to people is the whole misunderstanding about the summer pay thing.

"Isn't it great to be a teacher and have a paid summer vacation every year?" asks a person I just met when she/he finds out I am a teacher. 

I explain that the money I get paid is deferred from what I earn during the school year. Much like a pension or Social Security, it helps me make it through a time I would not normally be earning a salary. Also, it helps most districts to spread payments out over the year. Win-win, right?

But what happens if the district is in financial trouble and runs out of money before paying the deferred salary to teachers? This is not a hypothetical question. It is happening right now in Detroit. And state politicians are having a hard time understanding why the teachers are worried about their summer pay.

Let's do the math. Imagine a Detroit teacher works for 9 months, September to May, for $36,000 (These are rough estimates. I am simplifying the problem to make it easier to follow.) The teacher can take the payment across 9 months, $4,000 per month, or 12 months, $3,000 per month. If a teacher in Detroit chose to spread her pay over 12 months and the district runs out of money at the end of June, then she will receive 10 months of pay or $30,000 of the $36,000 she earned. This translates to 7 1/2 months of teaching or through the middle of last month (April). In other words, if the legislature does not come through with the necessary funds, Detroit teachers have already worked for roughly 10 days for free. 

The governor's office tells teachers not to worry - that a $715 million aid package is moving through the legislation. Unfortunately, according to the New York Times
A year ago, Mr. Snyder, a Republican, proposed a $715 million aid package for the Detroit district, but it has been bogged down in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
No wonder Detroit teachers feel too sick to go to school.

Oh, Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Update [5/4/2016]: I was a bit off with my estimation of connivence, but it was close.

Update [5/5/2016]: Michigan House approves $500 million funding plan for Detroit Public Schools - but there are concerns.

No comments:

Post a Comment