Teachers Union President: It’s A Lousy Job And Young People Should Look Elsewhere

The pay and benefits don't look bad based on number of people applying

In a Detroit News column dedicated to union officials, Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart wrote on what has been a recurring theme heard from the state’s largest teachers’ union. Oddly, it defames the profession it represents.

In her column, Herbart wrote, “Many well-meaning friends and family members attempt to dissuade the best and brightest young college students from going into teaching. Sygnett Swann, a second-year math teacher in Kalamazoo, put it this way: ‘There’s not a lot of people going into the profession because people are either telling them not to, or because they hear about all the negative legislation attacking the profession.’”

ForTheRecord says: According to records received from a Freedom of Information Act request, Swann’s old school district is not seeing any shortage of people applying for teaching jobs. In 2016-17, there were 440 people who applied for teaching jobs at Kalamazoo Public Schools.

To put that in perspective, the district had 808 full-time teachers that year.

Teachers in Kalamazoo work 190 days (including two comp days) and have an average salary of $56,745. The district offers a full medical plan that includes health, life, vision, dental and long-term disability insurance. The top of scale salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $74,007. New teachers hired after Feb. 1, 2018, will get generous employer contributions (up to 7 percent of their salary) to 401(k) or annuity accounts.

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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