Are Teachers Overpaid? A Response to Critics
It is a view as ubiquitous as it is simplistic: To improve public education, pay teachers more—a lot more. Union officials, education reformers, scholars, laypeople, and politicians of all stripes endorse this principle in one form or another.
However, as we determined in a study released Nov. 1, 2011, by the Heritage Foundation, “Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers,” the average public school teacher already is paid more than what he or she is likely to earn in the private sector. Although some may well be underpaid, the typical public school teacher makes roughly $1.52 for every dollar made by a private-sector employee with similar skills.
Not surprisingly, that finding generated widespread interest, not all of it positive. In response, we published a Q&A yesterday addressing concerns about the original study. As we explain below, our results hold up, and they point to several important lessons for education reform, particularly in the areas of teacher merit...
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