Teacher's Union: NYC Teachers Are the Highest Paid in the U.S.
That claim was made not by New York's United Federation of Teachers, but Chicago's teacher's union, which is now on strike. According to a media report “A day after Chicago Public Schools’ teachers overwhelmingly authorized a strike, CBS 2 wanted to know how much the average teacher earns. As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov found out, it depends on who you ask. Salary figures provided by the Chicago Public Schools show teachers here have the highest average salary of any city in the nation. But, according to the Chicago Teachers Union’s calculations, Chicago teachers would rank second behind New York City.”
The difference is the union believes it isn't just salary that matters, but benefits such as pensions and total spending on teacher per pupil that matters. I agree.
“A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said average pay for teachers, without benefits, is $76,000. But a Teachers Union attorney said the number provided by CPS doesn’t tell the whole story.” “When you’re looking at compensation, it’s not enough just to look at salary, because Chicago Public Schools teachers have to pay more for their insurance, and they get less of a contribution from the employer for their pension than in other cities,” CTU attorney Robert Bloch said.
That certainly isn’t something the UFT wants to talk about in New York.
“Bloch said per-pupil pay is lower in Chicago than in many cities, too. He said those factors need to be taken into consideration, by both CPS and the public.”
As those who read my posts know, I provide data on NYC's total per-student spending, on teachers and other aspects of education, adjusted for the cost of living where it is high, every year. And NYC teachers are certainly getting a lot of money, and a lot more than they used to. Due in part to large salary increases in the early 2000s, which may attract better and more motivated teachers. But due mostly to huge pension increases to benefit those cashing in and moving out. For which there is no gratitude at all. These seem to count in Chicago, but not in New York.
The latest data for New York, as I wrote previously, is this: In Fiscal FY 2010, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, New York City spent $23,472 per student on public schools, compared with an average of $22,861 in the Downstate New York Suburbs, $18,546 for New Jersey, and $12,502 for the U.S. as a whole. Adjusting the New York figures downward for higher average non-Wall Street private sector wage here, the NYC total is $17,647 per student, still 41.2% higher than the U.S. average. New York City non-instructional spending is and always has been low compared with the US. average and other parts of the state. Spending on instructional (teacher) wages and benefits (including retirement benefits) totaled $13,469 per student in NYC in FY 2010, or $269,380 per 20 students, or $161,628 per 12 students. Adjusting the NYC figure down for the higher average wage here, you get $10,126 per student spent on teacher wages and benefits in NYC, or more than 77% higher than the U.S. average of $5,703. The NYC figure for teacher wages and benefits was also higher than the average for the Downstate Suburbs, although a higher share of the suburban teacher dollars went to wages, and not to pensions and other benefits.
However, though NYC teachers were getting more than the average for the Downstate Suburbs and Upstate New York, they weren't getting more than every single school district within those areas. Total teacher compensation per student, adjusted for the cost of living, was higher in Syracuse, and in places such as Fire Island, Pocantico Hills (the Rockefeller estate), the Hamptons, some second home-type communities in the Adirondaks and Catskills with outsiders picking up the bill. Bronxville was also higher, as was Great Neck and Poughkeepsie.
I didn't check the Censu Bureau data on Chicago, where their pension mess is even bigger than ours. Perhaps someone should. But the main point is that the Chicago teacher's union has cited total compensation, including pension contributions, per student as the measure of what teachers are getting, and perhaps what they owe in return. Do Randi Weingarten and Mike Mulgrew agree? Not in NYC is my guess.
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