I got curious this morning, and ended up spending more time than I wanted to on this quick and dirty analysis. You see… the whole premise of this Cartel movie is that the teacher unions in NJ are a mob cartel that has bullied the state into lining their (union members) pockets with high salaries, guaranteed annual increases, and all for no actual return in the quality of schooling. My slides in a previous post actually speak to the relative quality of NJ schooling in relation to NJ state and local revenues for schooling.
Anyway, this morning I ran a quick check on how elementary and secondary teacher and administrator wages stack up compared to other workers in NJ from 2000 to 2007. You’d think from all the rhetoric that they’ve run away from the pack. As in a much earlier post, I’ve taken data from the U.S. Census Integrated Public Use Micro Data System (Census 2000) and from the subsequent American Community Surveys. I’ve included only individuals with a BA or MA degree and between the ages of 23 and 65. I’ve computed relative “income from wages” from a regression model which controls for the Hours Worked per Week, Weeks Worked per Year, Age of Individual, whether they hold an MA or BA, race and gender (essentially comparing male wages to male wages, female to female, black to black, white to white… which, given gender wage gaps in many fields and the high percentage teachers who are female, potentially leads to overstating teacher relative wages). Here’s what I got:
Yep… teachers have fallen sligthly behind. Administrator estimates have jumped around average. The green line is the average predicted income from wages for a worker of similar attributes (hours per week, weeks per year, age, sex, race, degree level) as the teacher or administrator. Personally, I’d expect a 40 year old school administrator to make more than “average” for any 40 year old worker with a masters degree working similar weeks and hours per year. But even that has not systematically been the case in NJ over the past several years. Nor have administrator wages grown systematically relative to other comparable workers. (note that by excluding professional degrees and doctorates, I’ve excluded doctors and lawyers, but have not excluded other managers, individuals with MBAs, or architects and engineers).