I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pitchfork Update

Regarding my earlier post about "Pitchfork" Bob Ingle's approval of a Manhattan Institute brief that purports to show teachers actually make quite a bit given how much they work:

A commenter posts:
Here's a critique of an earlier similar study: 


The report relies on hourly earnings data in an attempt to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of pay for a standard unit of work. Unfortunately, this approach is fundamentally flawed because the NCS calculation of weeks and hours worked is very different for teachers and other professionals. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics — which publishes the NCS — has explicitly warned its users not to use hourly rates of pay in this exact same context. It is unclear why the authors of this report have apparently have chosen to ignore that warning, but what remains is a measure of compensation that is of very little use in informing policy discussions of teacher pay.
Good stuff, but I noticed the NCS caveat dates back to 2005. Hmm... I wonder if the Bureau of Labor Statistics maybe has more recent advice about how to use the NCS? Say maybe from 2008?
The actual hours worked by elementary and secondary school teachers (who are exempt) are often not available. Time spent in lesson preparation, test construction and grading, providing additional help to students, and other nonclassroom activities are not available and therefore not recorded. The NCS uses contract hours for teachers in determining the work schedule.12 Contracts usually specify the length of the school day, the number of teaching and required nonteaching days, and the amount of time, if any, teachers are required to be in the school before and after school hours. These hours are used to construct the work schedule. For example, it is common for teacher contracts to specify that teachers will work 185 days per year. In these cases, the daily work schedule would be the length of the school day plus any time teachers are required to be in school before or after the school day, and the weekly work schedule would be the daily schedule multiplied by 5 days (Monday through Friday). The number of weeks would be 37 (185 days ÷ 5 days per week). The time not worked during summer, Christmas break, and spring break would be excluded from the work schedule and would not be considered vacation or holiday. Jobs in schools are not considered to be seasonal. [Emphasis mine]
Never, ever, ever believe any "study" from the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, AEI, or any of the other wingnut-welfare head shops.

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