I've seen a lot of people mention the 15% or this and that that the teachers are demanding, but I haven't seen one mention of how much you think that is. And before you go out and say that 15% is only a bargaining tactic, you might want to think again, it's what they typically get at negotiation time.
How much do you guys think teachers actually make?
If I said I could finish a typical 5 year post secondary degree program anywhere in the country, and walk into a school in BC and start at $47,461 (the BC average for a Category 5 teacher with ZERO experience and most teachers in BC are category 5) would you believe me? Do people think that is a high or low number? Why is this number not mentioned in ANY media ever? The average starting wage (salary + expense bonus of 2%) in Vancouver school district (#39) is almost $50,000. If I put in time as a teacher, the average maximum wage in BC for category 5 teachers is $76,585.
The average teacher is only required to work 1265 hours a year (about 6.5 hours per school day); the typical working year is 1928 hours a year for everyone else with 2 weeks of vacation. So I can basically finish school and make $37 an hour. With no experience. Not too shabby. And they want a 15% increase?
Since 2006, teachers have actually seen a total salary increase of at least 14% (many have seen increases of 21.5%). Meanwhile, the average BC household income has increased by about 0.8% in the last 4 years or so, which is lower than the rate of inflation.
Here are some other fun facts the teachers are asking for:
-26 weeks (half year) paid leave to care for someone (being a family member is not a requirement);
-a year's pay as a “bonus” for retiring veteran teachers;
-two weeks paid leave upon the death of any friend;
-five paid days per year for professional activities;
-two sick days a month that can be saved up; and
-a 15% pay increase.
All their demands will cost the taxpayer at the very very least $2 billion (and I think that is without the actual 15% pay increase).
Anyway, here is an interesting article published by the BCPSEA about how the teachers rig their salary comparisons to make their wages look bad. Sure, it's by the "other side", but usually the media is so overloaded with the teachers rhetoric, or the governments stance, that numbers actually assembled by the group that does the actual hiring is overlooked.
Anyway, why is the race to highest teacher salaries so important. If Ontario or Alberta wants to pay teachers $100,000 that's their business. Just because they do it doesn't mean that is something we need to do. Salaries in BC have always been lower compared to most of the country, especially in areas where job competition has been fierce at times (like in Ontario they had to have high wages to attract students into education instead of just working at car factories and in Alberta they have to compete with oil salaries, and you would have to pay me $150,000 to live in the north, therefore they do).