CBS Uses Immigration to Push Teacher Pay Complaint

CBS Uses Immigration to Push Teacher Pay Complaint
But teachers earn above the average U.S. wage and young people are drawn to better-paying jobs by a strong economy.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
June 7, 2006

     America has a teacher shortage and immigrants are helping to fill it, reported CBSs Wyatt Andrews on the June 6 Evening News. Finding a negative spin to the development, the CBS reporter highlighted the complaint of a teachers union president about pay.

     Yet Andrews left out that the average teacher earns almost 37 percent more than the typical American, or that a strong economy is partly to blame for the high turnover in the education profession.

     At least 10,000 teachers are needed from abroad every year, Andrews noted, before adding that National Education Association (NEA) president Reg Weaver calls the importing of teachers a band-aid solution and that low salaries and heavy workloads are driving American teachers out of the profession.

     But some experts argue that teaching has always been a volatile profession and teachers typically earn better wages than most other American workers. The proportion of new teachers who leave the profession has hovered around 50 percent for decades Reuters reporter Lisa Lambert noted, citing Columbia University education professor Barry Farbe. Lamberts May 9 report focused on an NEA study that finds half of all new U.S. public school teachers quit the profession within five years.

     Weavers own union found that teachers earned significantly more than the average American. A June 2005 NEA salary survey calculated average teacher pay in 2004 to be $46,752, over $12,000 more per year than the average wage as calculated by the Social Security Administration. And those numbers dont take into account the guaranteed pension included in most teacher contracts.

     Reporter Andrews also left out another explanation for why there is a domestic teacher shortage: good-paying jobs elsewhere lure away young people from teaching.

     On May 16, USA Todays Stephanie Armour picked up on a survey showing higher starting salaries and a stronger labor market for college graduates in 2006 over the year before. Armour reported that the survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found a 14 percent jump in college hiring from the year before.

     Many public school teaching positions require at least a bachelors degree.

     A month earlier The Christian Science Monitors Mark Trumbull noted in his April 11 report that economists see a strong, well-paying job market for educated professionals. And the viewpoint is not isolated to fans of the Bush administrations economic policies.

     As this recovery gets under way, professional services have begun adding jobs fairly broadly, Trumbull quoted Jared Bernstein, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI).