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Offbeat Do teachers' benefits make up for lower pay?

22:06  16 may  2018
22:06  16 may  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Almost all teachers spend their own money on school needs: study

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Do the benefits make up for lower pay ? Teachers do enjoy more attractive benefit packages than other professionals, a study by the progressive-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute found.

Do the benefits make up for lower pay ? Comparing teacher benefits to other professions. Teachers do enjoy more attractive benefit packages than other professionals, a study by the progressive-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute found.

Teachers are public employees and generally receive pension and insurance benefits (medical, dental, vision) that cover themselves and their families. But are these benefits overly generous? Do the benefits make up for lower pay?

"I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s generous, it’s way better than having nothing," said Tyson Gardin of Fort Mill, S.C., a physical education health teacher. "It’s not something I can complain about because there are people that don’t have anything."

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Teacher Pay Teachers .

More:How generous are teacher benefits and do they make up for lower pay ? But most teachers do not pursue teaching careers in order to make money, which is one of the many reasons outcomes vary considerably across the United States regardless of money spent on education.

"You get a state plan but it comes out of your check, it’s not something that’s free," he added.

Recent teacher rallies and strikes in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia have put a spotlight on teacher pay and benefits.

These are some of the issues surrounding benefits and what teachers have to say about them:

Pensions

The vast majority of public school teachers are eligible for defined benefit plans where the state promises a guaranteed payout for life upon retirement based on length of service and earnings history. Generally, both the employer and employee make contributions and the state is responsible for investing the money to fund the pensions.

The traditional defined benefit pension can be quite generous for teachers who have put in many years of service since the payout grows larger with time.

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Teachers ' pay scales. Additional payments and benefits . Your location will affect your pay packet too. Teachers in London earn up to £5,000 per year more than their peers across the rest of the UK. Early years teaching has been recognised by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) as being a low - paid

The Louisiana Retired Teachers Association is the voice of the retired education community, representing its interests by monitoring, protecting and improving USA Today, a national news organization, evaluates the value of teachers ’ benefits in this article.

a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: The average salary for a public school teacher was $59,850 during the 2016-2017 academic year.Teachers have gone on strike in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky to encourage salary increases.The average teacher salary has dropped the most in Colorado, where educators earn 15% less than they did about 20 years ago when adjusted for inflation. Teachers across the US want a raise. And in some states - West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky - they're walking out of the classroom to demand it.  Nationwide, the average public school teacher salary for the 2016-2017 school year was $59,850. While the nominal teacher salary has increased, when adjusted for inflation, average salary has dropped over time -about 1.6% lower than the $41,407 average in the 1999-2000 school year. In February, West Virginia's public school teachers went on strike to protest the 1% and 2% salary increases scheduled over the next few years. After nine days, state legislators approved a 5% raise.  The West Virginia teacher walkout has encouraged other states to follow suit. (Technically, these are called Teachers have gone on strike in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky — this is how much money teachers make in every state

Gallery by Business Insider

But many state pension plans are underfunded and a push for pension reform has attempted to address this issue by modifying the plans. The modifications include lowering benefits for new hires, increasing employee contributions and reducing cost of living adjustments for retirees.

"Pension costs have been shifted to the individual," said American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, as teachers are being required to increase contributions to their pension program.

A smaller number of states offer defined contribution plans, similar to 401(k)s, that do not guarantee a set payout. Instead, employers and employees contribute money to an account that the individual is responsible for investing to fund their retirement.

How generous are teacher benefits and do they make up for lower pay?

  How generous are teacher benefits and do they make up for lower pay? One argument is that despite pay that is lower than similarly skilled professions, teachers receive much more generous benefits than many other professions. Is that true?"I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s generous, it’s way better than having nothing," said Tyson Gardin of Fort Mill, S.C., a physical education health teacher. "It’s not something I can complain about because there are people that don’t have anything.

Hold on before you get too jealous of teachers having summers off. The trade-off of what they get paid plus their benefits may not be worth the trade-off

The five lowest - paying states for high school teachers In order to best recruit talented educators, some states are paying up . Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook. Don't miss: This is the age most Americans pay off their student loans.

Social Security

Complicating the retirement savings picture, about 40% of public school teachers, or more than 1 million, are not covered by Social Security, according to Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit education organization.

Social Security originally only covered private workers, but in the 1950s, Congress allowed states to extend coverage to its workers. Some states opted out of enrolling their workers and instead relied on pension plans with more generous payout formulas, according to TeacherPensions.org, a  project of Bellwether Education Partners.

Most teachers in these 15 states and the District of Columbia do not pay into the Social Security system and do not receive benefits, TeacherPensions.org says: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas.

Some teacher organizations argue that pension plans are not working for teachers and leave too many unprotected. TeacherPensions.org  estimates "that half of all Americans who teach in public schools won’t qualify for even a minimal pension benefit, and less than one in five will remain long enough to earn a normal retirement benefit."

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MYTH: Teachers receive excellent health and pension benefits that make up for lower salaries. FACT: Although teachers have somewhat better health and pension benefits than do other professionals, these are offset partly by lower payroll taxes paid by employers

Low pay , dwindling benefits , no support: Meet the educators leaving the profession entirely because the state of teaching is so dire. “Maybe it’s worth putting up with all the stress and strain of being a teacher if you’re making 50% more.

The study recommends enrolling all teachers into the Social Security system to provide a level of retirement protection that is portable.

Health insurance

The average monthly teacher employee contribution for family coverage health care rose from $334.40 in 2010 to $460.16 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey.

The portion of health insurance premiums public school teachers contribute has risen to 38%.

"Given the cost of health care and the burdens of student debt, the wages are not what people can provide for their families," Weingarten said.

Summers off

Many people consider this perk the best of all: Three months off in the summer.

State requirements vary, but the standard public school year for most school districts is about 180 days, or 9 months.

And many assume teachers get those three months off. But the National Education Association says that only students actually get the whole summer off. They argue that teachers spend summers working second jobs, teaching summer school, and taking classes for certification renewal or to advance their careers.

"As an educator you constantly have to be on top of trends, so it’s not like it’s just six weeks of me laying by the pool,"  said Sara Holloway, a fifth-grade English language arts teacher from Monongahela, Pa.

Thousands of teachers, students descend on North Carolina's capitol in protest

  Thousands of teachers, students descend on North Carolina's capitol in protest Through pouring rain and scorching heat, more than 30,000 students and teachers marched to North Carolina’s state capitol in Raleigh for the “March for Students and Rally for Respect” to fight back against unfair pay and inadequate learning environments in schools across the state.  “You never retire, and you’re always caring,” said Judy Justice, a retired teacher. “Look at these thousands of people. It’s hot out here, and a lot of us aren’t young and this isn’t easy. Some of us have been here since eight this morning.” She says they are all doing it for the kids.

that despite pay that is lower than similarly skilled professions, teachers receive much more generous benefits than many other professions.

Public school teachers ' pay has risen markedly, and their benefits continue to be excellent, including strong pension packages. Boarding schools offer significant benefits , such as housing (read on for more details), thus teachers tend to make significantly less on paper.

"You are taking classes in the summer, or you are reading material, or you are conferencing or blogging with other teachers, you are planning for the next year," she said.

Comparing teacher benefits with those of other professions

Teachers do enjoy more attractive benefit packages than other professionals, a study by the progressive-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute found. But the EPI analysis also concluded that teachers are still paid less than what workers with similar skills and education levels make even when factoring in benefits.

Public school teachers’ compensation (wages and benefits) were 11% lower than that of comparable workers in 2015, the EPI found. The wage gap increases to 17% when just comparing wages.

Other studies, however, claim the wage gap is overstated and that despite salaries lagging in some states, teachers are not dramatically underpaid overall.

"The average teacher already enjoys market-level wages plus retirement benefits vastly exceeding those of private-sector workers," wrote Andrew Biggs, resident scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, and Jason Richwine, a public policy analyst in Washington D.C.

The National Education Association reports that the average public school teacher salary for 2016-17 was $59,660.   But teacher pay varies significantly by state, ranging from a high of $81,902 in New York to a low of $42,925 in Mississippi.

Thousands of North Carolina teachers marched. Now what? .
North Carolina politicians and the public are waiting to see what happens next after thousands of teachers rallied to demand increased spending on public schools. An estimated 19,000 people marched through the state's capital city."What are you prepared to do?" the woman in the red "RESPECT public education" T-shirt shouted into the microphone Wednesday afternoon.

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