A lesson in teacher economics


In his rebuttal letter to the editor April 7, Phillip Webber Sr. suggested that teachers make 10 percent more than other professionals with equal degrees. In any essay or article, it is proper to cite the source of statistics. I would very much like to see the documentation of that 10 percent.

The average starting teacher salary in Maine is $25,901. The primary argument that teachers make too much money is that we don’t work the entire year. By conservative estimate, teachers work roughly nine months a year, taking out summer and other breaks. That comes out to $2,877.89 a month. If we were paid for 12 months of work, that would mean a salary of $34,534.66 a year. That is $8,633.67 we would have to earn at a summer job to make up the difference. Good luck finding a summer job that pays that well.

My brother works for a retail store as an assistant manager and made a salary of $38,000 per year after receiving his degree. That’s $2,500 more than a teacher would make if we worked all year, and that’s before the $5,000 bonus he gets every year.

The other glaring incorrect statement in Webber’s letter was teachers get a pension “without ever having to contribute a nickel.” The truth is that 7.65 percent of a teacher’s pay is withheld for Maine State Retirement. In reality, that’s a whole lot of nickels.

Paul Harriman, Minot