You can help by adding to it. October In Japan, owners would notify employees of salary increases through "jirei". The concept still exists and has been replaced with an electronic form, or E-mail in larger companies.
Illustration by James Yang. And each year, they take advantage of this opportunity to bemoan the condition of teacher pay. Of course, the AFT has chosen the comparison groups to make its best case. Where, one wonders, are the comparisons with journalists, registered nurses, assistant district attorneys, FBI agents, military officers, and other not-so-highly compensated professionals and public-sector employees?
One could make a case that the salaries of high-school physics or calculus teachers should bear some resemblance to those of computer system analysts, but does the AFT believe that the appropriate compensation benchmarks for 3rd-grade teachers are the salaries of engineers or attorneys?
Department of Education collects few data of its own on this matter. For the most part it simply recycles these union data in publications like the Digest of Education Statisticsa standard reference in which five of the six tables on teacher pay are based on union figures.
On the whole, such data present a fairly accurate picture of teacher salaries at the national level and have some value for state-to-state comparisons. Yet they suffer from severe limitations when interest groups, policymakers, and pundits use them to make a point about how the nation values public school teachers.
Summers Off One facet of teaching that the NEA and AFT, in their data and in their public pronouncements, routinely fail to account for is the shorter workday and work year. In public schools, the median number of school days is per year. Add half-a-dozen or so workdays for parent conferences, professional development, and planning, and the annual work year for most teachers is still shorter than days.
By comparison, an accountant or lawyer with two weeks of paid vacation and ten holidays or personal days will work days annually—nearly 30 percent more days per year than public school teachers.
The typical teacher also has a shorter on-site workday than most other professionals. On average, teachers report being in school for fewer than 38 hours per week. This number rises to 40 hours if largely voluntary after-school activities such as coaching or club sponsorship are included.
In fact, language limiting the number of hours that teachers are required to be in school is common in their collective-bargaining agreements, particularly in urban school districts.
The new contract extends the workday by 20 minutes. In Chicago, the limit is 6 hours and 45 minutes, including a minute duty-free lunch.
Of course, many teachers put in nights and weekends at home grading papers and planning for the next week. However, a job that permits relatively more work at home is typically more attractive particularly to women with children than one that requires a similar amount of work time on site.
And many other professionals bring their work home as well. The combination of a shorter workday and work year means that the annual hours on the job for teachers are much shorter than in comparable professions. Consider Figure 1, which shows hourly rates of pay computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for a variety of occupations.
By these calculations, only engineers, architects, and surveyors in private practice and attorneys earn more than teachers on an hourly basis. The shorter workdays and work year make teaching an attractive occupation to those who wish to balance work and family needs.
The shorter hours are especially helpful to women who want both a rewarding career and children, which helps to explain why roughly 75 percent of teachers are women and the share is increasing.
In short, when the kids are at home, so is mom or dad. In many professions it is very difficult to take unscheduled time off for a sick child or other family emergencies. Indeed, in collective-bargaining negotiations, school administrators frequently complain of excessive absences among teachers.
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