I received a *cute* little email forward from my sister, about how teachers are apparently underpaid and worth say, 8 times more than they get paid. I thought I'd share the forward with you, and then my response. It's worth the read:

SICK OF THOSE HIGH PAID TEACHERS

Their hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do...baby-sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That's right

I would give them $3.00 dollars an hour and only the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 AM to 4:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now, how many do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's 19.5 X 30 =$585.00 a day. But remember they only work 180 days a year! I'm not going to pay them for any vacations. Let's see...that's $585 x180 = $105,300 per year. Hold on! My calculator must need batteries!

What about those special teachers or the ones with master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage just to be fair, round it off to $7.00 an hour. That would be $7 times 6-1/2 hours times 30 children times 180 days => > $245,700.00 per year.

Wait a minute, there is something wrong here! There sure is, duh!

And my Response:

Oh Sister, so cute are you when you feverishly defend teachers…regardless of the truth.

However, while you were amassing tens of thousands of dollars of debt only to enter a career you knew only paid ~$34k per year, I think they failed to teach you proper math. Lucky for you, while only collecting $14k of school debt for a career that pays me 3, 4, 5 and many more times the national average, I did learn what you teachers call “new” math.

You imply teachers are worth $245,000 per year. Well Please see below for my “lesson plan” in rebuttal to your below email about teachers pay.

1. Though you do teach more than 1 student at a time, it is absurd to think that your pay should go up proportionately to the number of pupils in your class. I mean, the guy that works the McDonalds counter gets the same hourly wage if the serves 20 people an hour as he does if he serves 1 person per hour. Life just doesn’t work that way.

So lets call it 19.50 per day, not $585 per day. To be fair, lets bump you up to minimum wage: $59.63 per day

2. Teachers with Master’s Degree’s you say? In my industry those folks have a starting salary at most 60% higher than those with a BA….surely not the 133% more pay you claim in the below email. Masters degree =$80.50

Grand total: $17,173 per year. You make about double that. Wish I made double what the basic math says about my career.

BUT WAIT, there is more!

3. You have some of the best health insurance available, for almost $0 out of your pocket for premiums. My company (that offers great insurance in the private sector) pays about 90% of my premiums. That’s worth about $10,000 per year for my wife and I. We know your insurance is cheaper for you than mine is for me, so lets assume your ‘company’ pays 98%. That’s a value to you of $10,780.

salary + benefits= $44,780 per year or 161% greater than my above calculation.

4. Lets not forget the sweetheart of a retirement plan that you contribute $0 into. I’ve heard some teachers retire with up to 120% of their highest annual salary. So if they make it to $60,000/yr like many teachers do they retire with $72,000 a year in retirement. But lets say you are a new teacher and you only get 80% of your highest salary when in retirement. That’s still $48,000 a year. Of course you will live for probably 30 years after you retire earlier than most people do (because they don’t have the great pension plan you have) so in today’s dollars that’s $1,440,000. You’ll work about 20 years before retirement so lets call it compensation of $72,000 per year NOW in TODAY’S dollars.

I could get more technical with present value, inflation, opportunity cost, etc, but I am sure you have papers to grade.

So with my simple math we have $44,780 + $72,000= $116,780 per year or 580% more than my original calculation.

5. As a salaried employee it doesn’t really matter if you work 180 days or 300 days. I work about 245 days out of the 250-255 work days that my company recognizes. When I take a day off, they actually count that as compensation. They say a day off has value above and beyond my salary. So lets look at the summer, spring break and Christmas vacations you get. That’s what, 70 additional days off do be conservative? Seventy days at $80.50 per day…that’s $5,635 worth of additional compensation.

$116,780 + $5,635= $122,415

I could go on about the value of virtually guaranteed employment due to a rock solid union contract, guaranteed raises regardless of performance, etc, etc….but I think you get the point.

I think you can see that teachers are paid VERY well and appreciate benefits and job security that most of us in the private sector will never enjoy.

Your (apparently underpaid) loving brother,

Jeff

P.S. never send something like that to a Financial Analyst

So, do you make $122,415 per year?

-Jeff the Great