[Vision2020] Wenders' Diatribe

Ted Moffett ted_moffett@hotmail.com
Sat, 02 Aug 2003 01:55:28 +0000

Dale et. al.

I stated three factors that led me to conclude "inaccuracy" in Wenders' 
comparison of 180 days worked for MDS teachers and 240 days worked annually 
for those who pay their salaries.

1)  His figures are, according you, "indisputable" (sic) when he claims 240 
days of work annually for those paying MSD salaries, but he does not tell us 
what this statistic means in detail.

Of course I knew his figures were likely to be an "average" of some sort, 
though Wenders did not say this exactly nor did he provide specifics as to 
what this 240 day work year precisely reflects.  I have discussed this issue 
with several labor statisticians and they all said the average annual number 
of days worked depends on many variables that must be elucidated to really 
tell you what it means.  Does this 240 day work year include all the part 
time working students at the U of I who contribute to local taxes that help 
pay MSD salaries?  Does it include the wealthy property owners who do not 
work a regular salaried or hourly job yet pay huge property taxes that 
contribute to MSD salaries?  How does it reflect overtime over 40 hours a 
week or over 8 hours a day?  For example, does it reflect work done at a 
rate of 8 hours a day, and average the very long days of seasonal work like 
farming or fire fighting, so that the hours worked by these workers are 
spread out over "work" days as though they worked 8 hours a day?  Does it 
include the retired or the disabled or the very wealthy who do not work at 
all yet still contribute to taxes that pay MSD salaries?

2)  His statement was "inaccurate" because MSD teachers really work more 
than 180 days out of the year if you include all that is required of them in 
their career.  This point has been repeated and analyzed by myself and 
others on this list before.  I have not yet heard a convincing refutation of 
this point.

3)  There is "inaccuracy" in comparing the work of public school teachers 
with the workforce as a whole, and not with other well educated 
professionals.  It is common for well educated professionals of various 
kinds to get more pay for fewer hours than many other unskilled workers.  
Certainly you understand the logic of this in the marketplace?  Therefore to 
compare MSD salaries and days worked with all workers, and not with other 
skilled professional workers, which is exactly what Wenders was doing in his 
length of work year comparison, is "inaccurate."  You could make the same 
argument for a doctor or lawyer who makes 100 dollars and hour and in a few 
months of part time work makes more money than the average worker in a year. 
  What a bloated income they have!  Look at the time off!  We should lower 
their rate of pay!

If only I could walk into my local lawyer or doctors office and demand a 

When the free market allows such high rates of pay, you may find it far more 
palatable, I assume?

As I wrote before, the lack of comparison between the incomes of top 
professionals in other fields with the incomes of public school teachers is 
a glaring oversight in your attempt to show that MSD teachers are overpaid.

Or do you just think the work of a public school teacher is not important 
enough or does not require enough skill to justify a comparison with doctors 
and lawyers?  That the children are not worth paying for the best and 
brightest to teach them?  Because we all know the best and the brightest are 
on average going to seek the career that pays the best!

I am all for reforming the system in some way to reward the best teachers 
financially and not rewarding the less successful as much.

But from what I have gathered in your argument, you think even the best 
performing teachers at MSD are overpaid when they are at the top of the 
salary grid?  Correct me if I am wrong, because if I am, then all this 
discussion boils down to is how to only reward financially the best teachers 
and not the weak performers.


>From: "Dale Courtney" <dale@courtneys.us>
>To: <vision2020@moscow.com>
>Subject: RE: [Vision2020] Wenders' Diatribe
>Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 20:08:16 -0700
>Ted writes:
> > Jack Wenders makes an obvious error that shows a surprising
> > lack of accuracy when he writes:  "Not bad for a 180 day work
> > year, while those who pay for it work 240 days."
> >
> > In fact the number of days in a year worked by people who pay
> > taxes to support the salaries of public school teachers
> > varies considerably, from the self sufficient wealthy
> > individual (wealthy by whatever means, inheritance, success
> > in business etc.) who pays property taxes but works only when
> > they choose, to the self employed hard working individual who
> > might claim to really "work" nearly every day of the year,
> > not being tied to an hourly or salaried pay check.  In fact
> > many public school teachers themselves pay part of their
> > salary when they pay their property taxes.
>Ted, Ted, Ted.
>Wenders was using the *average* number of days that the working men and
>women in this country spend on their job.
>This number is *indisputable* because it comes from the Department of 
> > Such a glaring misstatement of fact, written as though to
> > imply public school teachers loaf through an easy work year
> > with lots of days off, while the harder working pay their
> > salary, weakens the credibility of the rest of Jack Wenders diatribe.
>Hmmm. And what conclusion would you reach about someone who earns three
>times the average wage of a taxpayer in Moscow but only works 75% as many
>days? Freeloading? Nah. Overpaid? Certainly.
>Dale Courtney
>Moscow, Idaho
>  List services made available by First Step Internet,
>  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
>                http://www.fsr.net
>           mailto:Vision2020@moscow.com

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