Teachers have better benefits

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Teacher pay is actually quite reasonable when considered in context. In fact, they make about 10 percent more than the typical professional.

How can this be? Don’t we know that teachers are woefully underpaid?

Most Americans work about 47 weeks a year, with about three weeks of vacation and two weeks of holidays. Teachers, on the other hand, work about 38 weeks a year, teaching for 180 days and working additional professional days. So, technically, the typical teacher works 36, not 38, weeks a year.

While some teachers might prefer more money and less time off, this is a lifestyle choice that teachers make when choosing a career. Teaching, for instance, with its summer breaks, regular schedule and lack of travel, is particularly family-friendly.

Public educators also receive generous benefits, including pensions that do not require any contribution from the teacher. A career teacher, without ever having to contribute a nickel, can retire at age 55 and receive close to 70 percent of his or her salary for life. There are hundreds of thousands of retired teachers drawing annual pensions of $40,000 or more – many young enough to begin second careers.

About half of teachers also pay nothing for single medical coverage, compared to just one-quarter of private-sector professional and technical workers.

Public school teachers receive benefit packages worth about 26 percent of their salaries whereas the typical private-sector workers’ package is worth 17 percent of theirs.

Phillip E. Webber Sr., Sabattus

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