In the gag‐inducing tradition of National Education Association propaganda, President Obama’s “Organizing for America” has released the video below taking issue with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R‑OH) calling teachers a “special interest.” Watch…and wince.
Now, certainly many teachers want nothing more than to teach and do a good job. Some might even do it as much “for the kids” as their own personal satisfaction. But teachers, at least as represented by the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, sure as heck are a special interest. Indeed, they might be called a super‐special interest, with unparalled sway over Democrats especially, and an incredible ability to get money out of taxpayers.
But what about teachers’ saintliness?
Certainly many teachers work hard and spend some money out of their own pockets for the kids. But no public‐school teacher is so poor that, unlike the no doubt intentionally bedgraggled‐looking Jeff in the video, he or she can’t afford anything other than an undershirt to wear. Indeed, as I made clear in my PA Unbearable Burden? Living and Paying Student Loans as a First‐Year Teacher, even the lowest‐paid public school teachers can afford nice apartments, good food, and much beyond life’s essentials. And the average teacher, on an hourly basis, earns more than the average accountant, nurse, or insurance unerwriter.
Ah, but teachers work “twelve, thirteen hours” a day, right? I mean, isn’t that what destitute Jeff said?
Again, maybe some do, but the vast majority do not. Indeed, according to time‐diary research done a few years ago, during the months when teachers are actually working as teachers — so not including lengthy summer and other vacations — the average teacher only does about 7.3 hours of education work inside or outside the school on weekdays, and about two hours on weekends. That’s 18 minutes less per day than the average person in a comparable, full‐time professional job. And again, that doesn’t account for teachers’ long, built‐in vacations.
So get off it, teacher unionists and apologists. Teacher unions are a gigantic special interest, and all the super‐earnest‐sounding, unkempt video subjects in the world aren’t going to change that.