Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apples and Bowling Balls

Dean Baker in an economist, so I hardly expect him to be logical very frequently, if at all, but he is particularly silly today as he discusses the Chicago teachers strike. I admit to some prejudice against public service unions, but I generally side with workers and I never make up my mind until I have some facts with which to do so. I came across his nonsense in the course of that, so far, fruitless search.

He compares the average Chicago teacher’s salary of $71,000 to the current income of the Chicago Mayor, which is $16.5 million, to the same guy’s salary as director of Freddie Mac at $274,284, and for some odd reason to the salary of Erskine Bowles as director of Morgan Stanley in 2008 at $335,000. The last one was four years ago, was in finance rather than public service, and was in New York rather than Chicago, so why he included it eludes me, but he is, after all, an economist.

He does link to another article written by an economics reporter, rather than an economist, who compares the salaries of teachers to those paid to other people who have similar college degrees. She finds that teachers typically earn 62% to 80% of the amount earned by other college educated people, which is far more useful than knowing how their salaries compare to three selected millionaires. She does not have information regarding the pay scale of Chicago teachers specifically.

In any case, Baker, like most of the media, is stressing pay scales and implying that the teachers union turned down the pay raise, and it is my impression that they did not, but rather that it was other conditions of teacher evaluation and job security over which they struck. So far I can find no publication which will say what the specifics of those terms are, other than that they involve student tests in some unspecified manner.

The role of the media is not to inform, but rather to inflame.

Update, Wednesday, 12:00 noon: You might know it would be the San Francisco Chronicle, perhaps the only real newspaper left in this country, that would shed some light on the Chicago teachers strike. It's not about the money the article says, it's about how to measure performance of teachers. I don't know enough to weigh in on the subject, but it makes more sense than the money does, so it's time for the idiotic pundits to quit bleating about who makes how much money.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Why on earth would you lump all thos e high earner in with teachers? Maybe a UC full professor, but that would still be a stretch.

Mr. Emanuel salary is not $16+ mil, but maybe from nvestments, just like Mr Romney, whom the lefties want to vilify for being rich. Hipocrisy abounds...

And most of what the media says in the salary figurs, but the other stuff is barely mentioned. So the people think it is "only" about salary. Just goes to show that 'information' can be 'inflammation' when /twisted /manipulated /spun /selectively edited ad infinitum.

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