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A Recalculation of the Worth of Teachers

March 16, 2003

Re "Six Figures -- He Says a Teacher Can Be Worth It," March 5:

I applaud teacher Brian Crosby for advocating that teachers' salaries be based on merit. But his assertion that "more value" needs to be given to the teaching profession is based on erroneous figures.

Teachers' pay is always compared with other professions in which employees work a full year, with two to three weeks of vacation. Teachers on a traditional schedule, on the other hand, work just 39 weeks per year (10 weeks off during summer, two weeks at Christmas, and one week at Easter). Therefore, an experienced teacher making $80,000 is making the equivalent of $100,000 had he or she worked a full year. Add to that the incredible perk of job security for life once tenured, and you can see that teaching is already a "valued" profession.

I would love to see truly remarkable teachers paid what they're worth and awful teachers fired, but that will never happen as long as teachers unions exist. As Crosby puts it, unions are "protecting the mediocre."

Kelly Oberlin

Irvine

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