Angela Cowell: The mathematics of teacher pay

January 19, 2014 

Regarding “State ranks school salaries” (Jan. 15, Page A1): I have been a teacher for 11 years for Modesto City Schools. The statistics shown in today’s article tell me I should be making around $78,000 per year. Looking at my gross pay, I need about a 20 percent raise to reach that amount.

Of course, that is my gross pay. After I pay out taxes, union dues, retirement and, oh yes, my $1,400-plus insurance payment for my family (that’s after my employer’s assistance), and after you split my yearly salary into 12 payments, my average take-home pay is less than 50 percent – 46 percent of $78,000, to be exact.

I saw a Facebook response from a man who said that I average about $44 an hour. I am an intermediate-grade teacher with 32 students in my class, which, if you average that out, I am paid $1.38 an hour to teach each child to read, write, do math and science, plus common etiquette needed in a classroom – not to mention that I must keep everyone’s attention from 8:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. so that they can succeed. I think I used to get paid $10 an hour to babysit one child who played Nintendo most of the night. Now which one on average pays more?

ANGELA COWELL

Modesto

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