Organized labor protestors currently living off the state government’s heating bills in Madison, Wisconsin would have you believe that they are desperately fighting for the fair treatment of underappreciated and underpaid public sector workers. Teachers unions are undoubtedly one of the largest groups of people opposing the efforts of Governor Scott Walker to increase healthcare and pension contributions made by Wisconsin state workers.
While hordes of protestors liken the Governor’s plan to that of Adolf Hitler, Wisconsin based free market think tank The MacIver Institute took a look the pay levels of teachers in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system. Their conclusion? Milwaukee public school teachers are hardly the 19th century chimney sweeps they would have you believe they are. Take a look:
Revealed in the video is the fact that MPS teachers earn on average $56,500 per year. This number alone is more than double the city’s average salary. Of course, no big-labor organization would be satisfied with just a cozy bi-weekly paycheck. Once fringe benefits are included, the average MPS teacher will earn a whopping $100,005 a year in 2011. Lest we all forget, public school teachers typically work only nine months out of the year.
For all those who claim that the education of our children is simply too priceless to worry about cost and that we should throw more money at the problem, there is this next tidbit. According to the video, MPS “has been listed as a district identified for improvement for four years under No Child Left Behind.” The system graduates a measly 68% of its students. Winning The Future will certainly take much stronger performance on the part of our nation’s teachers unions, especially at the price of $100,000.
The exorbitant salaries and benefits paid to public sector workers when compared to the rest of the nation provide a perfect characterization of the debate raging in states across the country. The days of fighting the black lung and ninety hour work weeks are over. Wisconsin teachers unions are encouraging their members to abandon their pupils and take to the picket lines to fight for a $100,000 salary, for nine months of work. If only we all could be afforded that luxury.