Large Supply of Elementary Teachers Waiting to Be “Underpaid”

Chicagoteachers

The supply of elementary school teachers greatly exceeds the demand for them among public-school districts, according to data collected by Education Week.

This fact has a number of implications for education policy, but one of them—not directly mentioned in the article—stands out: If elementary-school teachers are truly “underpaid,” as teacher unions and left-leaning scholars frequently assert, it’s curious that so many people are eager to sign up for such unfair compensation!

The Heritage Foundation published a long technical report in 2011 that compared the salaries and fringe benefits for public-school teachers with the compensation received by comparable private-sector workers. We found that teacher salaries are at roughly market levels, but fringe benefits—especially generous retirement and health care plans—far outstrip what is offered in the private sector.

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