States Could Get Away With Paying Teachers Less: Study

First year teacher in Pr. George's makes less than $45K

States could save a lot of money paying public school teachers less.

That's what a new report published jointly by conservative think tanks Heritage Institute and American Enterprise Institute says.

Authors Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs tried to answer the question, "what is proper compensation for teachers?"

"Our findings," said Jason Richwine in a press conference, "are really in opposition to the widespread perception that teachers are underpaid."

In their analysis, they say public school teachers earn wages on par with the private sector.  But when they consider pension programs, health benefits, and the added job security that comes from working in the public sector, the authors say public school teachers get compensated about 52 percent better than private sector counterparts with similar levels of education.

Just how much do teachers make?  The Gazette calculates that a first-year public school teacher in Prince George's starts at $44,800, and makes about $56,500 annually after ten years.

The study's authors say that states and local government could pay teachers even less than that, "with only minor effects on recruitment and retention."

The study ends by recommending that lawmakers looking to balance budgets in difficult economic times should consider reducing teacher pay.  Read the report here.

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