Is Matt Damon Right About Teachers’ Sh***y Pay?

The last few days this story has been making the rounds on various blogs and news outlets.

[Also, see how teachers’ unions undermine parental control and interests.]

But is Damon Right?

Is Matt Damon Right That Teachers Make a “Shitty” Salary? – Hit & Run : Reason Magazine: “At last Saturday’s ‘Save Our Schools’ rally, a fairly livid actor Matt Damon told Reason.tv that teachers make a ‘shitty’ salary. Is the Oscar winner right about that? The short answer is no. The longer answer? Also no. According to Department of Education statistics for 2007-2008 (the most recent year listed), the average public school teacher brought in a bit over $53,000 in “total school-year and summer earned income.” That figure, which is about $13,000 more than what the average private-school teacher gets in straight salary, does not include health and retirement benefits, places where teachers almost always get better deals and bigger employer contributions than the typical private-sector worker. For more on teacher compensation, go here. An average salary of $53,000 may not be much for a movie star such as Damon, but it’s a pretty good wage when compared to U.S. averages. Indeed, the Census Bureau reports that median household income in 2008 was $52,000.”

  • Robert in SF

    I think there is a disconnect in the article:
      An average salary of $53,000 may not be much for a movie star such as Damon, but it’s a pretty good wage when compared to U.S. averages. Indeed, the Census Bureau reports that median household income in 2008 was $52,000. 

    They switch from “average” to “median”….two different measures.
    Median is the value in a set of measurements at which point half of the values are above and the other half are below…it’s not a useful number in and of itself, since it only tells you the number in the middle, but not what the highest number is, what the lowest number is, or what the “spread” is…it’s just a number that draws a relationship between the numbers’ range…

    For example, of the values 1,1,2,2,2,2,3,10, the average is: 2.875
    The median is: 2.

    So you can see how that works. A lot of low paying jobs (relatively speaking) skews the median low. Whereas a few high paying jobs skews the average high.

    They are bringing statistics in, and those…well, laymen can’t trust them.