We got an email from the Washington Policy Center about a new study on the Seattle School District a while back, our minds were boggled, then we all forgot about it.
The boggling part:
• Teachers in Seattle receive an average of $70,850 for a ten-month year, plus $9,855 in benefits. Teachers can earn up to $88,463, or $98,318 including benefits.
• The ten-month work year includes nine paid holidays, and a total of four paid weeks off (not counting summers). District employees receive ten days of paid sick leave and two days of personal leave.
The point of the study did not seem to be who the hell knew teachers made that much money, but this:
• Seniority rules govern most displacements and lay-offs. Younger teachers are let go first.
• Teacher evaluations do not include measures of student progress. District employees can remove a poor annual performance report from their file after four years.
The WPC recommended that the Seattle Public Schools dump seniority as the means of determining layoffs, allow performance pay, etc. Liv Finne, who authored the study, says, “The poor academic showing in Seattle public schools makes it clear that it’s time to look at workplace reforms that reward performance and create incentives for teaching excellence.” Um, YES. Especially if they're making $70K for nine months of work a year.
UPDATE: The WPC's Director for Education Liv Finne confirms:
In response to your question about average teacher pay in Seattle being $70,850, this is a true fact. You can verify this fact with Joy Stevens, Sr. Legal Assistant/Public Records Officer at the Seattle School District...
Median pay for Seattle teachers is around $62,000. The average is skewed upwards to $70,850 because such a large percentage of teachers (I don’t have the exact proportion) are older teachers earning well over $80,000, up to the maximum of $88,463.
To respond to some of the comments, everyone in the office was surprised at this average (and the median is higher than you'd think, too), but! Obviously! Good, experienced teachers who work their asses off should be well compensated. That being the case, the school district should be attracting good people—and holding them to high standards. And not having to keep the creaky ones around if they're no good.
We here at The Stranger are way more church-mousey than teachers, come to find out. Then again, you know what they say: Those who can, teach; those who can't, make a damn newspaper every week.