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Teachers' Pay Isn't Poverty-Level

Ohanian Comment: This outrage is the lead letter the Sunday Washington Post. Let's deluge the paper with responses from educators. Tell them what your typical work week looks like. For starters, how many 7 1/2 hour days do you have?

Send letter to editor: letters@washpost.com

Send a copy to Marc Fisher: fisherm@washpost.com

A real estate site indicates that 40% of the market in the Virginia area under discussion is in the $300,000-$450,000 range. How many banks will give someone earning $48K a mortgage on that amount? Shouldn't a teacher be able to afford to buy a home?

Here's one letter.

Dear Editor: Mr. McCluskey's attack on teachers is churlish at best. I've been a teacher and administrator for nearly 40 years and I've never worked just 40 hours a week (I'm writing this on a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon), and I know few teachers who do. We all use our own time and money to rescue our children and our curricula from the underfunded, overscripted test prep that the Cato Institute (and Bush) believes is what America's poorest children deserve.

If teaching is such a cinch, why isn't Mr McCluskey doing it? And what's his salary?

Susan Harman, Ed.D., Principal
Growing Children charter school
Oakland, California

Dear Editor:

If Marc Fisher is right and the paychecks of Washington area teachers "feel like poverty wages," may we all suffer such destitution [Metro, July 26].

Mr. Fisher profiled a 28-year-old Annandale special education teacher making $49,000 a year. Considering her age, that's not bad.

By contract, Fairfax County teachers have to work only 7 1/2 hours a day, 194 days a year. Rounding up to eight hours a day, Mr. Fisher's teacher makes $31.57 an hour. If she worked 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year at that wage, her salary would be $63,140, far in excess of the Washington area's 2004 median annual pay of $37,610 and light years beyond poverty.


Policy Analyst
Center for Educational Freedom
Cato Institute

— Neil P. McCluskey
Washington Post




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