Friday, December 26, 2014

Is Teaching Actually a Blue-Collar Job?

I've never really complained about the money I make teaching - and I certainly don't agree that teachers should be making millions like pop stars and pro athletes. That said, I don't doubt that, like most teachers, I don't make nearly as much money as all the other college educated professions of people I know. Looking at pay scales from across the country, I realize that David Cook of the FreePress may be right - based on simple compensation and earning power, "Teaching is now a blue-collar job."

Teachers are not poorly paid, especially for ten months of work, but they are not necessarily compensated in a manner commensurate with their outlays in terms of education and credentialing. In most places, teachers don't make much more than people who work in skilled labor. As Cook points out, teachers are making roughly the same as electricians and masons. And, that's not necessarily an insult or out of kilter with the economy, but it is off base with what sort of money must be invested in the job training.

And, as readers of this blog will recall, I am a strong supporter of skilled labor and career education. In places like Colorado and South Dakota, laborers in the energy industry can pull down six figures. Additionally, the value of an education is increasingly suspect, so the value offered by a middle school language arts teacher may not be instantly quantifiable in terms comparable to a laborer or a accountant. That said, this sort of information may be useful advice for people considering education. And it may just be reason enough to encourage our best brightest - "Don't become a teacher."

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