Thursday, October 16, 2014

Should Teachers Make as Much as Doctors?

Doctor laughing at old woman
"You really think you are worth as much as me? How about I just let you sit in your own piss for the next 48 hours?"

I probably could have ignored this stupidity had I heard it only once, but I must have heard it at least two more times since then.  Although I had originally set out to make this a poker/memoir/comedy blog, my interest in politics, gender, and inequality issues has taken over my thought processes and what I would like to blog about, but I like to look at these issues with the groomed mind of a poker veteran.

Perhaps the only issue to get unanimous support across the political spectrum in America is that teachers should be paid more.  I do not disagree with this and have never met anyone arguing to the contrary.  But how much?  Is a doctor's pay suitable?  There is absolutely no need to touch on the subject of whether or not they job they perform is just as valuable to society, because I can shoot down this horrifically idiotic statement instantly.

If teachers were making as much as doctors, they would be making more, in fact, much more than doctors!  In the US, you can teach as high as high school with an undergraduate degree and you can teach college with a master's degree.  However, in order to become a doctor, you need 8 years of education...and the financial cost of that education far exceeds that of a simple undergraduate degree.  This means that they are paying off much larger education loans and have fewer productive years of employment.  Therefore, even if the base rate of pay were equal, paying off that debt alone is a cost that is effectively reducing one's pay.  The teacher is also now getting a 2-4 year head start making money.

Next we have the issue of hours worked: doctors work significantly more hours than teachers and often put in time on weekends.  US teachers get the summers off due to a now archaic reason that simply no longer applies to the modern world.  This was because students used to get the summers off from school so they could help their families with the intensive farm work during the warm summer months.

In a nutshell, in the hypothetical scenario (which is never going to happen, nor should it) that teachers made the same money as doctors, we would need at least this much from them:

1) A PhD, or some level of equivalent education.
2) Longer hours, specifically in the form of research or devoting services to special needs students.
3) An ongoing certification program required to keep a "teaching license."
4) Zero ability to get tenure, as there is no such thing as a doctor who can't get fired, particularly with regards to malpractice.

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