A Refresher on Teacher Salaries
Crowley’s claim is that the increases in teachers’ salaries are not keeping up with inflation. One could argue the relevance of that fact on the grounds that everything else must therefore really not be keeping up with inflation. One could argue the relevance of that fact, I should say, if it were a fact. There are two ways in which Crowley likes to make the inflation claim deceptively. The first, less applicable here, is to look at the category of “instruction” and draw his inflation numbers from that.
When he tried this trick back in 2007, I explained that, while the “instruction expenditures” category increased 19.8% from 2000 to 2006, in comparison with 19.9% inflation, teasing out teacher pay showed their salaries increasing 28.1%. Last year, I put the point in graphical form:
Another method that Crowley employs, that is probably more relevant in the current context, is to lump all teachers together to hide the continual increases in all of their salaries. I’ve looked at this, too, and the trick is that Rhode Island has been on a teacher-hiring spree:
Obviously, hiring young teachers will bring down the average salary. Indeed, the more teachers we hire, the more it appears that their pay isn’t going up:
Of course, the system must then deal with this mass of teachers as they progress through their sometimes double-digit salary increases, what with cost-of-living adjustments and steps combined. Brace yourselves, Rhode Island; salaries and benefits are going to be absorbing much more of the budgets for your students’ schools, and the odds that the very same teachers will be able to turn around their abysmal results with even fewer resources are slim to none.