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Does Happy Pay the Bills?


Recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Education don’t bode well for the financial health of teachers, according to the MiamiHerald.com. Sixteen percent of this country’s K-12 educators, the DOE reports, work at least one other job outside their school. And the presumption is that the percentage is even higher in urban school districts, like Miami-Dade where the cost of living exceeds a teacher’s salary now averaging $43,095 in Florida. Second jobs at restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, and insurance companies are helping teachers meet their shortfall, but are also prompting feelings of shame. Several teachers declined to be interviewed for the Herald’s story.

Rudy Crew, Miami’s superintendent, has made increasing teacher salaries a priority. However, Philip Robins, a professor of economics at the University of Miami, says it needn’t be. Even so, there are many economists who don't agree that teachers are poorly compensated as it is, according to Philip Robins, a professor of economics at the University of Miami quoted by the Herald. “Many of the benefits of teaching are non-monetary,” says Robins in explaining that view. “Their work in terms of number of weeks is lower than the standard job. They get summers and holidays off. Their benefits are typically better than the benefits of private sector jobs.”

Correction: This post has been corrected, as indicated by the strike-through, to clarify that Philip Robins was summarizing the views of economists in the field, not necessarily his own. See Professor Robins' clarification in the comments section.


Yeah...I love those summers off where I spend all the $$ I earned paying for classes keeping my credentials current. Also, love to use those lower number of weeks off planning for my SUBstandard job. This is the typical line of thinking that keeps the crediblity of our profession in question. ALL other professions are made possible through EDUCATION provided by teachers.

When concidering teacher salary we must understand how much they spend on higher eduction to become a teacher and the on going commitment to enhance their professional skills.
It is an awesome priviledge and responsiblity to educate America's youngsters. Teachers prepare children to meet the opportunity and challenge of being contributing citizenx to this great country in the 21st century. We must pay them well.

I taught in Riverside, California for 20 years. I left making $80,000 a year for a 6 hour "with students" day. Carter County, Tennessee, make $42,000 a year for a 7 hour teaching day. No, the cost of living is not half of Riverside County. In fact, car insurance is higher, my water bill, my electricity bill, my cable bill, all higher. I have much higher deductibles and less coverage for health and dental benefits; I could go on and on. I cannot afford a house on $42,000 a year and pay for my children's needs as a single mom. In California, we had a new house and money to save AND spend.

I turned to teaching after a successful and well paying Graphic Design career with long hours and little family time. I still put in just as many hours - many of them now at home planning and prepping. Everyone knows that North Dakota is on the bottom of the pay scale for teacher salaries - yet our housing prices are very high for our city's average income, gas is way above the national average, and you don't even want to know about our heating costs! State Legislators continually complain about losing young people to other states that pay considerably higher for comparable jobs. Yet our teachers' salaries remain substandard. I am fortunate that my husband has a steady and dependable income. Had we not had that safety net...I wouldn't have been able to afford to follow my passion and dream to teach, and take a major cut in salary.

I hope this isn't considered a "personal attack" but it is so tiring to have to justify myself as an educator to people who are oblivious to what we deal with on a daily basis.
My husband and I will be paying off our student loans for our entire teaching careers at the rate we can pay. That's about 250.00 less per month out of our salaries.
How many other professions require continued, expensive, non-reimbursed education during their "vacations?" Would Mr Robins be happy with the education he could provide for his children at the price per student his district pays (I would assume it is less than 10,000 per student per year).
In addition, teaching is a profession we take home every night. Our hours are much longer than most people perceive.
I guess being a professor of economics does not make one immune from making ignorant remarks.

I can't believe that people still think teachers have summers off. With continuing education classes which we need to take to stay current there is no vacation. In the business world businesses pay for their employees to take classes. Not true in the education world where we pay for our classes. In the business world people have real vacations. A lot of business people with my years of service have 4,6,8, and even 10 weeks of vacation they can use throughout the year and not for continuing their education. In Arizona where we are paid nowhere near what we should be most teachers can not afford to buy a house. Who wants to live where they can't afford home ownership?

Not only do I spend several days of my "vacation" time going to inservice & workshops to further my knowledge, I will not tell you the amount of money that I spend on supplies and 'extras' in order for my students to do well. I want them to love reading and love learning, I tell them they will be learning their whole lives! I certainly hope they will.
As far as 2nd jobs, I have had several through the years. It is discouraging to be approaching retirement with little saved or invested. Just never enough to go around. And my sweet state is one of those that won't allow me to collect social security, even though I have contributed to it before coming here.
If only Washington had to live the way they expect us to!!! If they had to follow the laws they pass for us

Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that educators are the only people in the country who "get holidays off." Friends and family who work in other public sector jobs (state departments of education, research hospitals, etc.) get about 5 personal days, 15 vacation days, and 10 sick days. For anyone keeping track, that is SIX WEEKS paid time off--to our three weeks (Winter Break and Spring Break). Some people might ask, "What about those three months off in the summer?" First, as a school counselor, let me point out that I get 6 weeks off in the summer--not 10 or 12. And I spend those 6 weeks working to pay off my graduate student loans. Second, if you calculate our weekly pay and then recalculate our salaries based on working the "additional weeks" that employees in other sectors work, we STILL make less than our counterparts elsewhere. Personally, I consider my summer break "unpaid, mandatory leave." Third, as someone else mentioned, we put countless hours into planning and preparation outside of our "short" workdays and spend thousands (tens of thousands) of dollars becoming and staying "highly qualified." Additionally, we do not have the flexibility to take time off throughout the remainder of the year when we might actually need it. I cannot take time off for my own sister's wedding without taking "days without pay" and risking professional strife...just because her wedding happens to fall one week before summer break. I have asked everyone I know to schedule their weddings, births, deaths, and family reunions between June 5 and July 22nd, but this has proved difficult and, some would say, unfair. :)

To Philip Robins, professor of economics at the University of Miami: $37,000 annually, when you take into consideration all the "benefits" you have mentioned, still comes out to $37,000 annually. Period.

The ignorance of the masses continues to astound me. Quite simply, school teachers are paid x amount of dollars (notice that I used a small "x") for a prescribed number of days (190 in my state). Days not necessarily of our own choosing. Like almost everything concerning our profession, they are dictated to us. We can't take a week off in the fall to enjoy the lovely leaves and autumn colors. Summers are perpetually laden with courses, workshops, planning for the next year, etc., all with NO compensation from the ingrates who place these demands on us. We have NO vacations. Sure, we have times we are not "on the clock," but we are not paid for that time. The times we are out of school, unless for illness or bereavement, are NOT paid days. Not to mention that we are held up for public scrutiny to produce brilliant minds with often little or no support from the homes and society that send them to us.

See, this is exactly why I believe Teachers should learn how to start part-time or seasonal businesses. Having to work so hard all year long and still struggle to make ends meet is ridiculous - especially for teachers!

Teachers - empower yourselves and give entrepreneurship a chance. If you can manage 2 jobs, a part-time biz will be a piece of cake. Check out ideapreneur dot blogspot dot com

In a perfect world, teachers would be getting professional baseball players salaries and they would received teacher's salaries. If salaries were paid according to important contributions to the world,teachers would be millionaires. We help shape the future adult population of the world. An even bigger problem is the wages that are paid to everyone in the Child Care profession. Daycare workers are not even paid a living wage. That would explain the huge turnover when consistency of care and bonding with a caretaker is so important for young children. When did our society get the priorities so messed up?

And people are wondering why there is a huge shortage of teachers? Who would want to deal with all this, even though they love kids? Low pay, student loans, no support from parents, extremely long, intense hours, and constant criticism from people who have never walked a day in our shoes? I imagine this teacher shortage will be very problematic in the coming years unless something is done. I teach because I love teaching, but it's hard to live on this alone.

My husband and I are both teachers. Because we live in South Florida, have a toddler and are expecting another, he additionally teaches drivers- ed on nights and weekends, coaches high-school football and works at Target on Sundays. When will our children get to see him if he is always having to be at work just so we can survive? Oh I guess Mr. Robins thinks we'll see him in the summer. HA!

The truth is - we all choose our profession - so stop whining about it. I chose to go to college to become a computer programmer because I knew it was a job that would be financially secure (and it is) and not because I "love" it or have any passion for it (because I don't). I am considering going into teaching (at the age of 40) - because that was always my dream. But even though it was my dream, I did not do it when I was 20 because I knew that the pay would be low, and I was too scared to risk it. Now that I'm 40, I don't think I'm scared of that anymore.

I am trying to decide which is more important - financial security or passion for work. You can't have it all. You have to decide which is most important and then be happy for what you do have, not sorry about what you don't.

I don't think that simply because teachers "chose their profession" and have a passion or love for teaching, they should be required to settle for substandard pay. Even though some are afraid to risk low pay to pursue their dreams of teaching, many are not and continue to teach despite a lack of professional respect and pay. Without these teachers, there would be no computer programmers...or lawyers...or doctors...don't we owe them SOMETHING other than criticism and platitudes about the "benefits" of teaching?

Most of these posts are "preaching to the choir" and I doubt that many of these will reach the good professor. It would take a flood of emails or letters to have any effect on him. His office is where your comments should be directed.

I can't imagine working a job if I didn't have a "passion for it". I enjoy going to work every day. I feel sorry for people that don't. Yes, I chose my teaching profession, and I knew going in to it that I was going to get low pay and lots of stress, but I make a difference in the lives of kids. It's still worth it to me. Every once in a while I get to experience one of those moments that reminds me why I went in to this profession. I try not to "whine about" my situation, but I would like the legislators and other decision makers to spend some time in the classroom and experience what we experience. It's harder than ever to be a teacher because it's harder than ever to be a kid.

It is easy to sit from where Philip Robins is and judge fellow educators at the K12 level. I taught graduate school at a major University for two years before stepping down from the three-figure Professors pay I received. Mr. Philips and most other Professors get a set salary for teaching 5 classes during the Fall and Spring semester then can earn an extra 3 to 5 thousand per additional class taught during Summer and intensive terms during Holiday breaks.
I now serve as a Principal in a Private K12 institution and get a whapping $40,000 to do so. Fortunately, I saved and invested while serving my country for 20 years and while working in Mr. Robins job so I am able to help the K12 children who I presently serve that also deserve quality educators and administrators. I typically hire many like myself who retire from the military or have been successful in previous careers since it is true that there is no way to live on a K12 teachers pay.
This is a very sad statement about what our society values. No wonder our Congresses approval rating is in the 20th percentile. Mr. Philips should be ashamed of his egotistical and arrogant attitude toward this Nations wonderful and blessed K12 teaching core. They give so much and expect so little in return. It is high time the US Government takes this issue serious and provides a living wage to educators in our Nation.

Unfortunately, higher pay for teachers is never going to happen, no matter how much we deserve it. Most of society thinks the same way that the good professor does. I can't tell you how many times I hear comments like that. We teachers KNOW our value, regardless of how much (or little)we're paid. And because we don't bring in the megabucks like pro atheletes do, it'll never change.

What summers off? In the past 10 years since I have returned to teaching I have yet to take a summer off or have a summer vacation. For some strange reason, my electric company, phone company and credit card still demand to be paid over the summer months! For a job that we are constantly told is so important in the grand scheme of things, we are not reimbursed anywhere near our worth. The public's perception of our job is still 8-3, with summers off and week-long vacations every few weeks!! Sounds good in the ad!

WOW!! Just reading these comments are refreshing. Just a few need to be rethought. Teaching is a profession of choice, but the pay is not what we should nearly get. We are not paid year-round and the cost of living continues to get higher; where is the pay to compensate these increases? I should get what a pro athlete gets, I'm a pro too. I teach.
Moreover, look at how the teachers get paid in Asian countries. They are even treated better. The US needs to get with the program. Just imagine this statement.
I is a gud teechir an I desve a hi pay than ova peeeple get.

If it weren't for teachers then that would be your end product. Give Teachers WHAT THEY DESERVE!!! A pay comperable to a doctor or lawyer.

The saying "Ignorance is Bliss" I believe is evident in the case of Mr. Robins. Unfortunately, it is also very true in many minds of those who have never spent a day in the life of a teacher. When I worked in the private sector life was a cake walk...no parents who take up numberous hours ensuring their child is getting what they need to be successful plus double those who don't and you must pursue to help them understand education is important-of course this is a vital part of the job and should not be ignored. Then there are the needs of the 30+ students all working at different levels with different needs. Ensuring you are doing everying humanly possible to give them a strong start and maintain their footholding on their future. And those are only the students in your class...what about all those other students lives you effect by stopping in the halls to check in to make sure things are going ok today, not to mention counseling and discipline. Then of course there are the administrative requests on our time and energy to ensure our system is working at optimum level.....so, Mr. Robins yes you with many others think teaching is a plush job....how about trying it just for one week..or day? Also stop and think back for just one second...you would not be in your position and pursuing your passion if a
"teacher" had not touched your life in some way.

The word vacation usually means you are able to travel somewhere and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere while learning of the environment and culture. Unfortunatly, teachers don't get to take off on vacation and explore the wonders of the world that could help bring more culture and experience into the classroom because we can not afford that. Instead, as others have stated, we are furthering our education which is costing us more money out of pocket or by incuring student loans. Between my Bachelors and my Masters degrees I have borrowed more than I will ever make in a yearly salary. I don't know if I will ever be able to pay them back with a recent divorce I am the only income in my home and have children entering college in the next 2 years themselves. I feel that I provide a valuable service to my community and to my country and that maybe there should be more programs to help teachers pay off their student loans. We don't make enough to pay for our homes, families, loans and more education every year, give us some kind of break!

If anyone wants to send Mr. Robins an e-mail, here is his e-mail address:
[email protected]
Maybe we can enlighten him. :)

This article seems to touch on a hot button. One should remember that it centered on Florida--one of the lowest paying states for teachers in the nation. However, Mr. Robins does have some valid points. There is no getting around the seasonality of teaching. Whether people choose it for those reasons is another thing. Certainly, back in the day, it was one of the features that made it a semi-acceptable career for a woman with children (although she was expected to stay at home some of those years). It has been education's loss that women now have many more career options. The pay scale assumes a primary wage-earner in the same household. Despite this, the wages and conditions are on a par--or above--those endured in other jobs/professions. Almost any licensed/certified field, as well as any rapidly changing field (like technology), has ongoing education requirements. Some are provided as on-the-job training, but frequently not. There is a wide range of time off with/without pay or no time off as well as tuition subsidy or not for keeping up with one's field. To be truthful, this is also the case in education. The amount of support given to teachers' professional development varies by state and district. Some receive release time, some get stipends for summer attendance, some get tuition support.

I would certainly be supportive of more post-secondary support options in any field that serves the public (in fact, I think that is currently being built in to the federal budget). And I would expect that in return, perhaps teachers could be steered into areas of greatest need.

But couldn't we please, for the sake of the children, at least, move the dialogue away from this endless insistence that teachers work harder for less pay than any other workers alive--and no one who is not a teacher can ever understand. This really discounts the work experience of those who toil at other challenging professions and jobs.

No one is saying that teachers work harder than anyone alive. We're saying that people think that just because we have summers off, it balances everything. People are clueless, and will continue to be unless they walk in our shoes.

I would like to make clear that I was severely misquoted in Teacher Magazine. In a somewhat lengthy conversation with a Miami Herald reporter, I tried to give a balanced opinion about the issues and mentioned that some economists (not necessarily me) think that teachers are adequately compensated. I referred her to these studies. Then, I spent a bit of time explaining to her why I personally think teachers in many districts are underpaid, but that didn't make it into the article. When my Miami Herald "quote" was repeated in Teacher Magazine, it became a statement by me that Rudy Crew should not make increasing teacher salaries a priority. Whoever made that translation for Teacher Magazine should be reprimanded for twisting the quote and for sensationalizing what was really said. When I saw the quote, I thought I was reading the National Inquirer. In short, I never made such a ludicrous statement and in fact, I don't believe it. I think teachers in many school districts are underpaid for a variety of complex reasons, including a monopoly school board, an unaware public, and ineffectual unions and political representatives.

I emailed the professor and gave him a peace of my mind (intelligently, of course, I'm still a lady). You would think that as an Economics professor, he'd know the gist of everything. It goes to show you the quality of professors they have at U. of Miami!

Teachers, we rock. Don't ever let any self-righteous, ignorant folks take that away from us!

Few of the poeple criticizing Teachers could do our job. If they were to try, they'd probably quit. I would love to hear how Stephanie ["I am considering going into teaching (at the age of 40) - because that was always my dream. But even though it was my dream, I did not do it when I was 20 because I knew that the pay would be low, and I was too scared to risk it. Now that I'm 40, I don't think I'm scared of that anymore."] fares.

Until America really makes education a priority, our profession will never be respected. WE are highly educated and generally make less money then civil servents with high school educations. The general misperception is that we only work a few hours per day. The hours spent in preparation are not seen nor appriciated. Yes, I am happy in my chosen profession, returing to teaching after almost 20 yrs as a corporate executive, in which my taxes equalled my current salary, but I have had to make dramatic lifestyle changes to live within my means. I am also finishing my SECOND masters in order to earn an extra $3,000./year. There is something wrong here!

It is a privilege and an honor to be entrusted with someone's child. I believe I have learned more about myself from the children I teach than I have from any other person. To me, to be an authentic teacher means to look deep within your core to understand what it means to be human. It is only then that you can begin to teach what is ultimately important to others. It's not about facts and figures so much as it is about understanding your place in the world. The truly gifted teachers I have met are the ones who live their beliefs, who take time to truly know the children they teach. They are the ones who most effectively guide the student to discover a passion for learning.
In order to do this well, you have to put your entire being into the job. It is not something to be entered into lightly because you “get summers off.” It is a commitment of time, energy and emotion.
Now, that’s great if you’re independently wealthy or have a spouse to bring in “the real money.” Not so if you’re the sole breadwinner of your family. I made an even greater sacrifice by choosing to teach in a small private school that eschews standardized testing and opts for teaching methods that are more developmentally and emotionally appropriate for children. I make about half what I could be making in the public sector. That also means I don’t have a retirement plan, I drive a 15 year old car, I live in a small home in an inner city neighborhood and can’t afford to do all the needed repairs on my home.
Yes, I chose this life willingly. My son once told me that I’m rich because I love what I do. That’s true. Yet why do I suffer anxiety over what I’ll do once I’m too old to continue working? Why do I lay awake night, worrying about what would happen if I became ill and was unable to work? I don’t ask for great riches, but recognition, understanding and respect from others for the sacrifices I have made in choosing to live my life in this manner. I ask for a society that supports these efforts by making universal health care and adequate retirement solutions available for all people.

I have been teaching for 9 years. My first year teaching at a catholic school I made 20k and spent a few thousand on materials for my classroom. I moved on to public school and am currently making about 60k. With taxes, expenses, and doing without, I can barely make ends meet on this. I have a child and my husband stays home with her part time. I have worked every summer since I graduated high school. I know very few teachers that don't work every summer or after school. Not to mention that report cards happen to be due right after a long vacation or lesson planning every weekend.

I have dedicated the last 7 years towards getting to know my husband, buying and fixing up a house. I feel like I should have gone right for my doctorate degree just so I could be earning more money. Then I remember that I couldn't afford to go back to college yet and actually live life, buy a house, etc. Why is it that most jobs promote you on your worth and skill, yet in order to make more money teachers have to spend thousands a year on college. I'm not for merit pay, but a bonus college tuition would help out immensely.

When an economist or others comment that teachers get more vacations and so forth, they neglect to note the significant amount of professional development good teacher pursue during those "vacations." They also skip right by the late nights and long weekends planning classes and commenting upon and correcting student work. Today a teachers work cannot simply be analyzed by what is measured on the clock. The time and effort necessary to make a difference goes way beyond what is seen from the outside.

Good teachers are not clock watchers and they don't stop working when they leave the school building. They will,metaphorically, quietly sweep the floor when it needs to be done without any expectation of notice or reward. One of the true tragedies of teacher compensation is that teachers are generally altruistically motivated, and the folks who count the dollars neglect to adequately value this component of the job...much like the environmental costs of fossil fuels have never been truly factored into what we pay at the pump.

The messages that are sent through teacher compensation plans are the number one reason why so many leave the profession. They love their work, yet they recognize the injustice of the system. With that said, most teachers remain incredibly committed, it is just that there are a lot of people who would have been great teachers given a fair deal.

Until we value our teachers more, more even than they value themselves, the system will limp along. Those assigning a value to the work of a teacher really need to understand what it is they do, and what they need to do to stand and deliver great teaching. As with a good business, it is what goes on behind the scenes that makes the most difference. Think about it...

This is from one of my emails:

>I, for one, am sick and tired 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 x 180 = $105, 300.0 0 (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!
>Make a teacher smile, send this to him or her! And for those who are not teachers or married to one: Bet you didn't realize what a bargain you are getting!

Twenty or so years ago I kept track of the time I spent doing my job for one school year. I included hours spent at school after my duty day, at-home time correcting papers, evening and weekend phone calls, PTA meetings, weekend field trips, professional development courses, and so on. I did not include any time outside of my official work year. As it turned out, I worked the equivalent of 51 1/2, 40 hour weeks. I just did it in 9 1/2 months.

So much for the myth of the underworked, overpaid teacher.

I was so bummed I've never again kept track of how much time I spend on my job. Even more distressing is the number of people who don't believe me when I recite the numbers for them.

While we are all sharing horror stories of how hard things are, here's mine. I graduated college in 1973--with a temporary teaching certification. Teaching jobs were scarce, so I ended up in the VISTA program. This paid me about $3-4,000 per year. I stayed with it--working in an urban neighborhood, running afterschool and weekend programs, summer camp (that would be 24/7 for 4 2 week sessions per year, living in cabins in the woods with the same kids that teachers encounter in a classroom). By then it had become quite clear to me that I was making a bigger difference there than in the classroom. I was hired by the agency where I "volunteered" and my salary about doubled--to $8,000! I stayed there for a total of 18 years, with salary increases based on what the budget could bear. By the time I moved on, I had lost my teaching certification but gained a social work license. I had also learned a whole lot about social change, about life in low-income neighborhoods (making home visits was a regular expectation, and I lived, and still live in the 'hood). I adopted two kids as a single parent.

In later positions I had some excellent (meaning civil, intellectually challenging, important work) experiences and some not so much. I lost a couple of jobs due to administrative fiats of the sort that teachers are protected from (and should be). I also spent a few years teaching--school dropouts for an hourly salary (1 hour/week planning) with no particular resources--and substituting in Middle School. I now work for the government--in the hope that some day I will be able to afford retirement. All professional development required to keep my social work license has been at my own expense (or what I could pick up for free). My master's degree was my own dollar and my own time--going to school on weekends. I am currently working on a PhD, again--my own time and 75% or more on my own dollar.

Not only is my annual salary far less than had I entered teaching and stayed (in fact, I would be able to retire this year), but it is also less than that poor young lady who is making $60,000 per year. I have no real complaints about either my early years of poverty, or my current ones. I have always had the great luxury of doing work that is important.

By comparison, I don't find my work in teaching to have been the hardest that I have ever done, although it was far more isolating than any other. As a substitute I believe that I was able to see things that were not visible to the every day staff--and I know that they weren't all pretty. I learned far more about teaching children and "maintaining discipline" as a camp counselor--where unsolved problems didn't go away when the bell rang. I also learned to appreciate the vast stores of knowledge to be gained from parents and community members.

Again--I have no regrets, but my road has not been easy, or well paid, and I have had it better than many I have known.

I worked as an economist in the energy industry for 18 years before becoming a third grade teacher three years ago (and I love it!) My experience as an economist has made me think of the teacher pay issue a little differently. Teachers do have certain benefits that other professions do not - and those other professions have benefits that teaching does not. It is true that teaching has many non-monetary benefits. The problem is that many in the work force do not value these non-monetary benefits as much as the benefit of a good and reasonable salary, and what that salary can provide. Like one of the other responders, I was able to leave my higher paying job to teach (my other job payed 4 times as much as my current teaching salary.) I was able to do this because my family worked to invest my higher earnings while I worked in corporate america, and my husband has a steady and well-paying job. Because of being frugal during my first career and my husband's current job - we did not have to make significant financial sacrifices when I changed careers.

However, if my husband was asked if he would be interested in having the summers off, as long as he would be willing to cut his salary by 3/4s his answer would be NO. We could not afford our home and the ability to contribute (not pay for!) our three children's college education. We simply would not trade the monetary benefit for the non-monetary benefit. Many wonderful "potential teachers" out working in other professions feel the same way. If the choice is having summers off, or being able to provide a home and college for one's children, most would choose the latter. Until this situation changes, we will have difficulties attracting and keeping the best and brightest as teachers.

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