Former Republican state representative Bobby Nardolillo promoted on Facebook a hand-made poster that reads as follows:
OK, Fine. You don’t want to pay teachers like a college educated professional? Then give them the glorified babysitter rate.
$10/kid x 8hrs./day = $80
$80 x 25 kids/class = $2k
$2k x 180 school days =
Let’s put aside the haggling over the math (actual hours per day, value of benefits, days off, and so on). What’s striking is the economic illiteracy of this poster, undermines the premises of the people promoting it. You pay a babysitter a premium because you are seeking a limited, unpredictable engagement during non-business hours watching just a few children (with no economies of scale). Make the babysitter a full-time nanny or a day-care center, and the price goes down.
Also remarkable is the lack of gratitude. With reference to the likelihood of our moving into another house, one of my children and I got into a discussion about retirement age. I said that it’s generally thought to be about 65, although that should probably adjust up as we live longer, and that I don’t expect ever to retire, really, for both economic reasons and my hope to be doing work I don’t feel the need to stop at that point. I did not mention that it is not uncommon for public-school teachers to retire in their 50s.
Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a whiff of gratitude to the public for this remarkable career path. Instead, we hear about how it ought to be even better, how expressing reservations about the cost and the quality of the resulting services is disrespectful.