Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Financial Post Math

So I had one of my viewers write to me and ask to look over, and give my "thoughts" on the following article:


You should all take a look at it, then read over some of my past posts.  If this isn't a prime example of the mountain of misinformation and/or lies that teachers have to deal with on a regular basis, I don't know what is.

Making this a bit more serious is that it is from an organization that is supposed to be the leading edge of financial information for our country.  Given that this magazine gives information on financial investments, RRSP's etc. one would hope (and others assume) that it had reporters that actually researched mathematical trends and/or facts instead of writing opinion pieces.

Lets take a look at some of the "facts" presented in this argument:

1. "Excessive Teacher Wages are a boondoogle we can't ignore"

As one of my previous blogs showed, each tax paying citizen of Ontario contributes $2111 to the Education system, of which 47.4% goes to teachers.  This amount is exactly the same as the cost of education in the United States and the United Kingdom.  The percentage given to Ontario teachers is virtually the same as 9 years ago and matches what other provinces spend on their teachers.

The only reason Ontario teachers get a slightly larger percentage of the pie is due to the cost of living in Toronto.  Is the writer saying that we are overspending and should pay Ontario teachers less than in other provinces, even though our cost of living is more?

2. "Teachers are paid $78 per hour." "This makes their effective hourly rate exceed $100 per hour"

First of all, where is this evidence coming from? The author says it is based on information from the  Elementary Teachers Federation website.  But the website doesn't list the hourly wage of a teacher. Where are the mathematical calculations that prove this to be true?

Statistics Canada says that Ontario educators (which include Principals, Vice Principals and Content Coordinators) make an average of $77,000 per year.

$77,000 divided by 192 days is $401 per day.  

Since my earlier blog proved that teachers work at a minimum of 8 hours per day, that works out to $50 per hour.

Sure, there may be some teachers making slightly more than that ($91,000 divided by 192 divided by 8 = $59) but this is nowhere near the $78 per hour that the author is claiming.

3. Relative to these earnings, this position requires modest education, limited qualifications, there is relatively weak competition to obtain entrance.

This argument is almost laughable and in direct contradiction to his "hourly rate' argument.  

A teacher at the top of the grid, making "$78" dollars an hour, has been teaching for 10 years, has a 4 year University Degree, a 1 year Education Degree, and, at least 2 more "Educational Specialists" to get them there.  An Educational Specialist is achieved by doing an Additional Qualification (University Level) course in your major.  However, if you didn't do a double major, you need to take 3 more Additional Qualification courses to achieve your second Educational Specialist.

So in essence, a teacher at the top of the grid has almost 6 FULL years of University study and 10 years of teaching experience.

How exactly is this a "modest education?" 

According to a 2006 Ontario census 26% of Ontario citizens have a University degree. 


Unfortunately, I was not able to find population data on the number of Ontario citizens that have at least 6 years of University education.  However, it would be safe to assume that this number would be less than the 26%.  In fact, FAR less.

So how can this writer be arguing that teachers have a "modest" level of Education,  
when very few members of the population actually have this level of education?

The answer is he didn't do the research on the amount of education a teacher has, and instead based in on opinion.  Moreover, he assumed that the "basic" amount of education needed by a teacher would place them at the top of the pay grid.  This is 100% incorrect.

Now for the "weak competition" argument.

Am I to believe (according to the author) that teachers make $78 to $100 per hour, have a "gold-plated" benefits package, get summers off, have limited education, and work only 6 hours a day, yet there is "weak competition" for the job?

Is that really an argument that is to be believed?  That people would rather work more, get paid less, have worse benefits, more competition for the job, and way more than the required amount of education  than be a teacher?

Really? How can this be?

And if it is, doesn't that say something about being a teacher?  

Perhaps it says that being a teacher isn't what their "facts" would have you believe?  

4.  "And, in terms of the necessity to perform additional work, preparation time is already negotiated into teachers’ collective agreements as part of their required minimum work day."

Once again, as my earlier blogs showed, teacher "preparation" time,  is simply "break time" that ensures that labour laws are being followed.  We get the exact same amount of "break" time as any other employee who works an 8 hour day.  Therefore, you cannot say that this time is to be put towards our "additional work" time.  That would be like telling the factory worker that his lunch time is to be spent stacking boxes.

By Ontario Law, "break time" is to be spent doing exactly that.

5. The point is that teachers, like other civil servants, are not required to work longer than the amounts negotiated for them by their unions.

Actually, teachers need to work more than the time "negotiated" for them by their unions in order to meet the demands of the job.  For example, as my earlier blog stated, teachers are asked to perform diagnostic tests like CASI, DRA, and/or complete I.E.P's, that take hours to do.  Yet, these are not part of the negotiated work day. 

Neither is report card writing, staff meetings, marking, lesson planning, parent-teacher conferences etc.

In fact, these such things add nearly 300 extra hours of work for a teacher outside of the "negotiated time."

By the way, the completion of report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and I.E.P's is mandated by the Education Act.  So teachers HAVE to do these tasks.  

This article is so full of blatant lies, misinformation and/or a lack of research that I am immediately ceasing my subscription to it. 

I have already called the Financial Post and informed them of my reasons for not wanting to read their paper.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I am a teacher.  It has to do with the fact that their "facts" are lies.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious, did you sent this to them? I believe you should perhaps they would get their ______ together. (can't put in the word i'd like)... as for teachers having small competition to get in- PLEASE! I graduated 4 years ago and haven't had a single teaching related interview (lto, supply etc.) Perhaps they should talk to all the unemployed teachers in the province!