NEPC Review: How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?
The Manhattan Institute report, How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?, uses hourly earnings from the 2005 National Compensation Survey (NCS) to contend that teachers are better paid than most white-collar professionals, including many in occupations commonly understood to be quite lucrative. The report relies on hourly earnings data in an attempt to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of pay for a standard unit of work. Unfortunately, this approach is fundamentally flawed because the NCS calculation of weeks and hours worked is very different for teachers and other professionals. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics — which publishes the NCS — has explicitly warned its users not to use hourly rates of pay in this exact same context. It is unclear why the authors of this report have apparently have chosen to ignore that warning, but what remains is a measure of compensation that is of very little use in informing policy discussions of teacher pay.
Corcoran, S. and Mishel, L. (2007). Review of “How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid.” Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-how-much-are-public-school-teachers-paid