Underpaid Public School Teachers in NJ

New Jersey public school teachers are underpaid, not overpaid
Report • By Jeffrey H. Keefe • February 15, 2017
Summary: Public school teachers earn 16.8 percent less in weekly wages and 12.5 percent less in weekly total compensation (wages and benefits) than other full-time workers in New Jersey. An analysis of hourly compensation shows that teachers earn 13.7 percent less in wages and 9.4 percent less in total compensation.

So concludes a paper put out yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute (latest 990 filing) with a mission:

This report describes the results of research into New Jersey public school teacher compensation. This research was initiated in response to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s attacks on New Jersey teachers’ unions and his allegations that New Jersey public school teachers are overpaid. In our analysis, we seek to answer three questions about teacher compensation in New Jersey:
  • Are New Jersey public school teachers overcompensated?

  •  How do public school teachers compare with other New Jersey employees in terms of pay equity across gender, racial, and ethnic categories?

  • Does participation in unions increase public school teacher compensation?

Basically all you need to know about methods is what they are not comparing public school teacher compensation to (from pages 4 and 5):

When looking at the question of teacher pay, it might seem logical to compare public school teachers with private school teachers with similar levels of education, experience, and hours of work. However, this comparison is inadequate to the task. Private school teaching differs significantly from public school teaching; too many critical aspects of public school teaching lack private school analogues. Public schools accept all students, while private schools are often highly selective and may exclude or remove poor-performing, special needs, or disruptive students. Class sizes tend to be larger in public schools, and the work day and work year is longer.

So they move on to criteria that will support the positions they have been paid to manufacture justifications for.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bpaterson on February 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

    JB1-i did not read that essay-so what are they using as comps. Obviously just chose people that make more than teachers, right? Reminds me of a poll that came out about 8 years ago about Nj senator lesniak. The numbers were abysmal. When the media asked him why so low, he responded. “they didnt ask enough democrats”.


    • It’s something to do with education levels so they likely exclude most jobs that don’t require college degrees. Outside of that I can’t tell what they’re doing but they come up with an average salary for ‘Other full-time employees in NJ’ as $82,223 so it’s a matter of guessing what group would have that average salary.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Interesting the report try’s to shut down the argument of Public vs private school teachers .but try to compare teachers to people working 12 months a year vs their 10 mos per..As for private school having it easer that’s debatable …but private has no where near their pensions or health care let alone their pay …but I enjoyed the chuckle this morning .


  3. Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    According to the fake news media the private sector and military are the only underpaid servants.


  4. Posted by Anonymous 8 on February 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Wow. This report is worse than I expected.

    Jeffrey Keefe lumps everyone with a college degree in together. So, if a teacher has a degree in Education, he or she is compared to a non-teacher with a who might have a degree in something like electrical engineering or even an advanced degree like a JD, MD, or MBA.

    Comparing someone with a BA or BS in a soft subject with someone who has a BA or BS in a very rigorous subject is not legitimate. Comparing someone with a BA or BS in a soft subject to someone who has advanced degrees in hard subjects is even more illegitimate.

    Keefe also lumps in all teachers together. So, a high school English teacher who works 50 hours a week (all-in with grading) is lumped with a gym teacher who might work 35 hours a week and has no grading. That’s not right either.

    Furthermore, the EPI claims that teachers work 47.5 weeks a year! Sure, give teachers some credit for summertime work, but teachers get a check of a lot more vacation than 4.5 weeks.


  5. Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    They do not work a 37.5-40 workweek so what class of public and private employees are used in the study to reach stated conclusions? So actual work time of teachers divided by total by salary or salary+benefits. They are exceptions to the worked hour rules for full-time which relate to level of benefits. This is a can of worms for the unions and Mr. O’keefe, that if explored will be painful for teachers.


  6. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on February 17, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Still complicated. As if you can find an “average” teacher, or an “average” private sector worker. At least Keefe only took it to one decimal place.

    Throw in the latest study (not the first) showing that some teachers receive NO value from the pension system until and unless they complete twenty five years, ideally in the same district.


    I don’t know how much New Jersey teachers are worth, but it’s silly to suggest they may be overpaid because their degrees are not in the STEM areas. Teaching is a profession. One can be brilliant in engineering or math, but totally unable to impart any of that knowledge to another person. That may be why so many leave the field in the first five years. (And lose any pension benefits they might have earned.)


  7. Lets not forget the value of never losing your job if you are tenured and obtaining your master degree on the taxpayers dime which then allows you to bump up in salary, more sick days than most private workers, summers off where their family health benefits are maintained and where they can work to earn extra income……..not that it is any easy job but certainly way more cushy in perks, benefits and sick time than most.


  8. Posted by Anonymous on February 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    This fake news report from CNN:


    No wait FOX confirms it’s real:


    Any network looking for a new anchor. So much for speaking the truth, guess FOX might be the new fake news!


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