Teachers insist they are hard done by over pay as a result of these past few years. The argument that all have been hard done by they reject. But they do so on grounds that aren’t correct. And we really should be holding teachers to a high standard here. For they are, as they insist they are, the people who instruct the next generation in what is right and wrong, true and false. Thus we must indeed insist that they themselves understand this reality we’re all struggling with.
That understanding part being the test they are currently failing:
The admission comes in the Department for Education’s official submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body, which makes recommendations on pay deals. It states that pay is also lower than it was 15 years ago in real terms. “From 2002-03 to 2017-18, classroom teacher median salaries have seen a drop of 10% and overall teacher median salaries of 11% in real terms,” it says. It argues that the fall was smaller than that suffered by private sector graduates.
That all such salaries have fallen does seem relevant. Yet:
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We welcome the DfE’s admission that teachers’ pay has fallen so far in real terms. It is no good Damian Hinds trying to argue that this is the same for private sector jobs – those figures reflect the many graduates forced into low-paid, part-time, semi-casual jobs, whereas we are talking about the pay rates being offered to those joining a profession.”
Ah, no, that’s not how it works. At which point we’ll call into evidence Paul Krugman:
Wages are determined in a national labor market: The basic Ricardian model envisages a single factor, labor, which can move freely between industries. When one tries to talk about trade with laymen, however, one at least sometimes realizes that they do not think about things that way at all. They think about steelworkers, textile workers, and so on; there is no such thing as a national labor market. It does not occur to them that the wages earned in one industry are largely determined by the wages similar workers are earning in other industries.
It’s not just that private sector graduate wages are relevant it’s that they’re a major determinant. And yes, teachers should know this stuff otherwise why are we employing them to teach reality to the next generation?
We’re tempted to mark the report card “Must try harder” but we’d hope for some evidence of basic understanding first.