By Cathy Davidson @ HASTAC
Education advocate Steven Singer has put together an eye-popping infographic that reveals that US teachers spend significantly more time in the classroom than other teachers around the globe and our teachers receive less salary for their time. Bottom line: you get what you pay for—and the US doesn’t pay for much, at least not much in the way of helping teachers to stay up to date, gain new skills, learn new methods–and earn a living wage while doing it.
I saw this infographic yesterday floating around but could not track down its origin. Finally, I did. As the image shows perhaps we teachers aren’t quite the financial burden compared to all those countries that the US gets compared to all the time.
I suspect that policymakers would find this bit of data rather staggering. A teacher in the United States spends more time working than any of the teachers from the nations we are routinely compared against. We rank first in hours working. Yet, our pay ranks 23rd. As a nation, I would say we are getting pretty good bang for the buck, comparatively speaking of course no matter what the comparative test score ranking is (17th). We are clearly punching significantly over our own weight. Too bad this kind of thing isn’t quite as valuable during contract negotiations at the district level.
Davidson highlights the need for taking a broader perspective when conducting international comparisons, something desperately needed when comparing apples to oranges. She writes:
I’m skeptical about standardized testing to begin with, but I do think if we are going to look to global comparisons, we need to look harder, consider more of the data, and then think, introspectively, about a better way to solve the problems of preparing our kids for their future.
Amen to that! It is just another example of how statistics are used to manipulate, sometimes used as weapons. The simple truth is that most of the international comparisons are rubbish, not even fair comparisons. However, the two data points on display here are pretty simple and direct ones.