There are a just a few inalienable truths in life and, for many, one of them is that school teachers are underpaid—but that's just not the case according to two leading conservative think tanks.
In a new report that is unlikely to make any friends on the other side of the political spectrum, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute argue that not only are teachers not underpaid but that, when factoring in things like job security and benefits, they're actually substantially overpaid, earning 52 percent more than "fair market levels."
Part of their argument is based on the groups' findings that the wage gap between teachers and non-teachers is at least partly due to the fact that the former, on average, have lower cognitive abilities than those private sector workers with similar educational backgrounds.
"Public-school teachers earn less in wages on average than non-teachers with the same level of education, but teacher skills generally lag behind those of other workers with similar 'paper' qualifications," the authors write.
The authors point to research spanning 50 years indicating degrees in education are easier to obtain with high marks. They include a recent study by economist Corey Koedel in which he examined grade-point averages of graduates at three large research institutions, and found education majors finished with an average GPA of 3.65, while math, science and economics majors graduated with a 2.88.
The think tanks also claim that contrary to what would be expected, workers who switch from non-teaching jobs to teaching jobs receive a wage increase of roughly 9 percent, while those that do the reverse see their wages drop by roughly 3 percent.
As expected, many progressives and teachers around the country went nuts upon reading the report, vehemently objecting to its findings, which conflict with what they say their own studies show.
"Not only should we question the reliability of this study, but we should also consider the source," Kim Anderson, director of advocacy for the National Education Association, told the Independent in an email. "The study is funded by the very same groups that are trying to eliminate the right of workers to have a voice in their workplace all together."