So who makes more, and works less?
So, back to the business of “shared sacrifices.”
The Snyder team down in Lansing, with the all too enthusiastic support of legislators from this area, keep pounding away at the fact that it’s way past the time when public education pay its fair share. Teachers make too much. Administrators are spendthrifts. School boards are wastrels. Local school communities need to get a grip on things and start paying their fair share.
It would appear the only way to balance the budget is to make the public education system in Michigan go broke.
And a major stepping stone to effectively destroying public education, (the dream of the DeVos family and their American Federation For Children), is to bust the Michigan Education Association.
Snyder and his team are making progress.
Better late than never for some.
One of the first promises former governor John Engler made upon taking office was that he would be the guy to “break the MEA.”
He didn’t succeed, but the AFC group, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and far too many members of the Michigan GOP have stuck with the program and it’s finally starting to pan out.
School districts are suffering — and going broke.
School district administrations are being demonized.
School teachers working in public education are being vilified daily — not only in Michigan but around the nation.
With amazing efficiency, the people who really want to see public education fail are working to spread a message that folks in the street will buy.
With bucket loads of money pumped into propaganda campaigns, the DeVos funded AFC, the MCPP, and others have convinced folks that in order to save the future for their children and grandchildren, teacher numbers and school staffs must shrink, municipal prerogatives must be crushed, pensions must be cut into, and collective bargaining must be eliminated.
Education in the U.S. is failing, they say. Teachers are leeches, sucking blood from the beleaguered tax payers.
Head Start is a Commie plot.
Medicare is closet Socialism.
It’s all a conspiracy.
But ... here’s the deal.
The folks in Lansing and around the state who are crying about teachers and managing to spread some pretty incredible mis-information about education, simply aren’t telling the whole story.
There’s another side to the story.
You know all the stuff being trotted out about teachers making 20, or 22, or 25 percent more than other workers in the state?
Have you heard that one?
Well ... the real story is that the average wage for a starting teacher in Michigan is $35,500. (In Reed City starting teachers make $34,623, and in Evart new teachers make $35,181.)
Not bad. Not as gold-flaked as some would have you think, but not bad at all.
The average salary for established teachers around the state is $54,700, but that has a lot to do with geography. A veteran teacher in Detroit makes $48,500.
Now ... pay attention. A legislator in the State of Michigan makes $79,500. Even if they give up 10 percent of their wages, (as some have claimed), that’s still snuggling up to $72,000 — not including office allowances and perks.
We won’t even try to compare the benefits package offered to teachers and that given to legislators.
But ... I’m sure you’ve all heard about the fact that teachers only work nine months a year?
Well ... in Reed City teachers are contracted to work 181 days. In Evart, they’re at the blackboard for 184 days.
In Lansing, our legislators have an official calendar filled with 104 days of work.
That is the official session calendar. Anyone can look it up for themselves.
Now. Our legislative teams will certainly be complaining that this doesn’t include committee meetings, office hours, and so on. And it certainly doesn’t include gatherings in the district, Lincoln Day dinners, and general campaigning.
No. It doesn’t.
But the mandated work load. The official work load is 104 days. Tuesday through Thursday. Tuesday session begins at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday session begins at 1:30 p.m. and Thursday session begins at noon.
Teachers also give a lot of their free time to a lot of things that aren’t included in the 181 hours they spend in the classroom. And they begin their days considerable earlier and wrap things up quite a bit later.
Yet, a freshman legislator earns over $40,000 more than teachers in Michigan.
If you consider days as eight hours of work and break down the annual salaries, new teachers in public schools in Michigan make about $23.90 an hour.
Even the average salary for veteran teachers works out to $37 per hour.
Legislators in Michigan, including those vilifying teachers for making too much, make some $95.50 per hour.
So what lesson should teachers be teaching in school in Michigan.
Don’t be a teacher.
Be a legislator.
You work less, and earn more.
That, I suppose, is the point.
And, I hate to seem repetitive, but ...
In a recent meeting with the superintendents from local school district, Rep. Phil Potvin started off the session with a rather startling question. Before the discussion had even begun, Potvin asked the superintendents, “Whose team are you on?”
The administrators were somewhat taken aback, but one replied, “Well. I’m on the side of the kids who are enrolled in my school district.”
To wit Potvin shot back, “You may as well leave this meeting right now.”
The insinuation was, “If you’re not working with us, you’re against us.”
“Us” being the guys in charge in Lansing. The Snyder team. The so-called reformers.
It’s pretty amazing.