Biden administration ignores STEM and gets it wrong about ‘teacher pay penalty’: study
Biden administration seeks funding to correct what is known as the “teacher pay penalty” in K-12 education – the gap between people who work in education and those who work in other occupations with equivalent training.
Not so fast, say the authors of a new white paper released by the American Enterprise Institute. This assertion poses two problems.
The first mistake is not to compare “to love in order to love”.
Politicians Andrew Biggs and Jason Richwine explain that studies establishing a pay gap between teachers tend to “focus only on educational quantity”, meaning that “anyone with the level of education – a bachelor’s degree , a master’s degree, etc. – are assumed to be equally educated and deserve the same salary. “
“This assumption makes it easier to crush numbers, but also leads to implausible results,” they say in a column published by Clear and real policy.
They take readers through some of these implausible findings in areas other than education:
For example, look at nurse anesthetists. Using the same data and statistical controls that produce the 20% teacher pay gap, nurse anesthetists appear to be overpaid by 74%, even though nurse anesthetists do essentially the same job as physician anesthesiologists at lower salaries d ‘about 40%. The reason nurse anesthetists – along with air traffic controllers, firefighters and airline pilots – seem overpaid is because they work in technically demanding jobs that leave little room for error, but do not have an extremely high level of formal education. According to studies on the pay gap, electricians are as overpaid as teachers are underpaid.
Then they apply this information to the classroom, arguing:
Studies of the teacher pay gap are simply not credible if they produce absurd results for so many other professions.
The second mistake comes from not distinguishing between teachers.
Policy scholars compared the pay of teachers to that of employees with similar training in non-pedagogical fields and found that teachers “receive statistically no different salaries” from their peers.
There is, however, one huge exception to this finding.
“STEM degree holders indeed receive much higher salaries” than teachers, they write, “often 20% or more”.
STEM is a popular acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The researchers found that this pay gap is not only true for education compared to graduates in STEM. Rather, they are STEM graduates compared to virtually all other degree holders.
One of the ways this creates a “teacher pay penalty,” statistically, is that teachers who teach STEM classes are lumped together with teachers who don’t.
They argue that the STEM bonus would justify paying graduate teachers and teaching more in these subjects, but point out that this is not how the vast majority of public schools currently set their pay scales.
Read the column
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