Detroit Teachers w/$71,000 Salaries Leave Work to Protest, While Only 7 Percent of their Students Can Read


If only we paid teachers more, I bet we could get that number up to 8 percent. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like if you’re going to leave work on a labor protest, you should at least make sure that 1 in 10 of your students isn’t functionally illiterate. But there’s a reason that the phrase, “Close Enough for Government Work” was coined.

The educational system turns out functional illiterates overseen by over-privileged teachers unions who get free cosmetic surgery and $71,000 dollar salaries. Because that is close enough for government work.

Some public school teachers in the City of Detroit and around the state of Michigan are reportedly taking a vacation or a sick day today to protest right-to-work legislation likely to be approved by the state legislature. Under current law, Michigan public school teachers must pay dues to the teachers’ union. If the right-to-work law is enacted, Michigan public-school teachers will be free to join the union and pay dues to it if they wish, but they will also be free not to join the union and not to pay it dues.

Detroit public-school eighth graders do even worse in math than they do in reading, according to the Department of Education. While only 7 percent scored highly enough on the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test in 2011 to be rated “proficient” or better in reading, only 4 percent scored highly enough to be rated “proficient” or better in math.

Statewide in Michigan, only 32 percent of public-school eighth graders scored grade-level proficient or better in reading, and only 31 percent scored grade-level proficient or better in math.

Over the past decade, Michigan’s public school have shown no improvement at all in teaching children how to read. In 2002 just as in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 32 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading.

But this would change if only we truly paid teachers as much as we pay NBA basketball stars.

The average Michigan teacher salary is $63,000. Not top. Average. There is no non-government profession where this level of ongoing incompetence would be so richly remunerated.

So what do Detroit teachers get paid in exchange for a 4 percent and 7 percent success rate?

The Detroit metropolitan area has the highest average public school teacher pay among metropolitan areas for which data are available, at $47.28 per hour, followed by the San Francisco metropolitan area at $46.70 per hour, and the New York metropolitan area at $45.79 per hour.

Poor bankrupt Detroit pays teachers more than San Fran and NYC, cities that have actual money. The average teacher’s salary in Detroit is $71,031.

But there’s a problem. Detroit has more teachers than students.

The Detroit Public Schools could be faced with a staffing dilemma in a couple of years if steps are not taken to reduce the number of teachers employed by the district. If projections of dwindling student counts are accurate, the district could soon have 1,800 more teachers than it needs, with the annual bill to pay them costing in the range of $100 million.

Detroit Public Schools had 5,029 full-time teachers and 88,774 students in 2009-10, according to the Michigan Department of Education. But DPS officials estimate that there will be 58,517 students enrolled in 2014. This would mean that the district would have lost 61 percent of its student enrollment since 2003-04 when it had 150,000 students.

This is your city. This is your city on crack.

  • Ar'nun

    I should have been a teacher. What the heck was I thinking!

  • Thomas Wells

    In Detroit, teaching is staying alive while in the school.

    • Mary Sue

      Bring back the strap.

      • kafir4life

        They need 9mm, not straps.

  • JacksonPearson

    With the hundreds of billions spent and touted on affirmative action, government schools are pathetic failures. Monies currently being spent in impoverished school districts are not for students, but instead, to bloat teacher pension plans. Another reason to ban public employee unions!

    • K. Wright

      I so agree. Get rid of public employee unions. Some private unions have a point. But what is the point of having a public employee union? Especially for so called "professionals" like teachers? Since the sewers of the inner cities are now challenging those who live outside of the inner city with their demands for higher salaries in the former of higher taxation for less productivity, we will as a country, if we are not already, become simply a lesser power to deal with throughout the whole world. We simply now have less clout already and lesser clout to come.

  • Mary Sue

    The sign that guy in the bottom picture the guy is holding should say "Fight For The Attack On The American Dream!" Because that's really what it is.

    • Dan

      So the American Dream is to have a job, not be proficient at it by any standards, and not be able to be fired when your job is no longer needed?

      • Detroiter

        I think that is the American dream of the past. The new American dream is to just get a welfare or disability check.

  • Cat K

    There are some smart and wonderful teachers, yes &the job isn't that easy but….
    I have done some work in the schools. I've met teachers with a wide range of skill levels and backgrounds.The teachers in Detroit may, themselves, be close to illiterate. I am not being mean here. It is sad. The college degree programs for teachers set the bar rather low. I am guessing this has become worse over the years as the products of public education have entered college and subsequently the teaching profession. This may be one of the many reasons the children in Detroit cannot read nor do math at any reasonably expected level.

  • Mary Sue

    Dude, that's the Democrats doing that to them. Culturally they are encouraged by Democrats and other leftists that think the Democrat party is too right-wing for them to throw off the shackles of "the man". Even Chris Rock recognized this cultural aversion to Education that seems present in the segment of the black population that he reserves the term "n***ers" for.

    "Want to keep your money? Hide it in a book. Books is kryptonite to n***ers!" – Chris Rock.

    Children who want to excel are ostracised by their peers with "git outta heah wit' yo' book learnin" and get the epithet "Oreo" slung at them for "acting too white." It's not being black that's the problem, it's the racebaiting black separatist movement and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the like. Blacks would be fine if they threw off the shackles of liberalism and race politics.

  • Glen

    It's not the color of skin that determines learning aptitude. I would imagine their parents aren't involved with their education. And If they are, they aren't well educated themselves. But I think the government handouts give a person no reason to get an education. The government will take care of them from cradle to grave and they know it.

    • Mary Sue

      Or worse, their mother and/or grandmother has bought into the "Book Learnin' is too White" nonsense.

  • Tina Trent

    I've participated in the "get all the kids to class for the first week so we can get all those federal matching dollars" scam. When you see some 16 year old illiterate fuming in his freshman desk (to be gone next week) what you are seeing is the tragic end product of the Great Society.

    I feel for the guy. The people benefitting from this, the teachers unions, are criminals.

  • K. Wright

    Mr. Canuck, You are next, hope you are brushing up on your Chinese.

  • K. Wright

    If teachers understand how to use the internet, I obviously do not. What happened to my reply to Mr. Canuck?

  • Mik

    Sitting in the teacher's lounge, I stated that I would trade my tenure for $2000. Looks of incredulity. I then said that I would rather negotiate my own contract, why should I pay the union to do it? Looks of utter shock. I went on to say that I had held other jobs, all non-union, and never had any problem with my employer. Finally, someone spoke, "what are you a red-neck? Are you saying, if it is good enough for me, it should be good enough for you? what if you have a principal who does not like you?"

    On another occasion, I asked the same man who had taught 7th grade math for 20 years, why he never wanted to teach Algebra 1. He responded, he did not know much about that Algebra *!**.

    In two conversations he had admitted that he needed the union to cover his social incompetence and that he needed tenure to cover his mathematical incompetence. Clearly there are other issues, like parental involvement, but these conversations that I had years before I left teaching and many years ago, were symptomatic of far greater problems.

    Teachers who do not know anything certainly cannot teach anything. Teachers uninterested in their subject cannot communicate the importance of the subject. Prager talks about Europeans only being interested in their vacations and pensions. Europe has arrived in the US school system.

    • Detroiter

      A group of people were sitting in a hall waiting to go in for an interview at an elementary school in Detroit. A black woman sitting with us was filling out her application and asked another woman how spell ELEMENTARY. God as my witness, that is a true story.

  • kafir4life

    It's all part of the plan. The dumber the kids, the dumber they grow up, and the dumber they are. But they WILL vote Democrat. They're THAT dumb.

  • BS77

    I would suppose many of the public school teachers are somewhat illiterate themselves. I d like to see the results of a test given to public school teachers….with basic high school level math, history, geography, science and so on. I am sure the results would be shocking.

  • Tammy Brewer

    Wow and to think that most 1st year teachers in SC start off around 21,000 or a little more. At least in SC the students are able to function and are literate at a much much higher level.

  • Marlo

    I taught a science section in a well respected all black college and the papers those students would turn in
    made me wonder who had even pushed them out of middle school with no grammar or spelling. And now those people are teaching. It doesn't surprise me at all that the kids can't read.

  • Opal

    Is it any wonder? Detroit has become a battle field. It is my birth city and I grieve for what I have seen there. Hopelessness; no sense of responsibility; government entitlement mentality, on and on. Drive through this once lovely city. It looks like a battle zone. The house I once lived in , brick and once a solid structure, is in shambles ~ windows knocked out , etc. There are parents there who may care, but for the most part, these adults just want to allow others to take care of them , sit back, do drugs and let the kids be taken care of by the system. No law-abiding citizen cares to live there. Decent teachers? Unions do not spawn these! When I graduated with a Master's Degree, in the late 1950's , women on ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) were getting the same money as I did, after having worked through college in 5 1/2 years. Tell me what can possibly be right about an area that allows this?

  • Ginia Dean

    Detroit Teachers and Principals are a disgrace to the Human Being Race to collect a paycheck with no results in their students of the City of Detroit.
    The Principals, teachers, administration of the City of Detroit Public Schools are severe and extreme self- centered focus on their needs and are not being a service to teach the children to read, write, and add. A Human Being person can teach a Dog, Cat, Lion, Bear to behavior in a certain way .
    The City of Detroit Public School is a Horror Movie: Robocop is needed in Detroit.
    In reality redo and renew the complete city. Get rid of the Dead beat school administration, especially the School Principals ! Get rid of all of them, they have done nothing ! Hire out of State Principals that can operate a school to teach students to learn

  • TiredOfBeingMadeOuttoBeAVillain

    I am a Detroit teacher…….I just filed my taxes or last year….I am at the top of the current Detroit payscale….I grossed $63,000 last year…..and….in the last month have taken a $200 a month net pay cut in my check due to more taxes/Social Security….this will make my gross much smaller for the 2013 tax year…No Detroit teacher makes what our salary schedule says anymore. (I love teaching….I am a good teacher…..I love my students……I work extremely hard to become even better daily…..and…..it doesn’t matter…..”walk a mile” please…..”walk a mile”. :(

    • NothingChanges

      Bravo "TiredOfBeingMadeOuttoBeAVillain! Thanks for setting the record straight. Most Detroit teachers don't make $70,000. And those who do, have earned it. So many people seem to hate teachers. Why? Most teachers are teachers because they want to make a difference. They love teaching and are GOOD at what they do. It certainly isn't for the money. No one in their right mind goes into teaching for the money or expects to get rich teaching. I could have made much more money in another profession. Few people in America these days EVER thank a teacher for their hard work and dedication. Nor do they hold students accountable. No, they just blame teachers because students aren't "learning" as reported on standardized tests. You can't make students learn. They have to want to learn what you are teaching or at the very least be receptive to it! Teachers are forced to test, test, test, test! When do they have the opportunity to TEACH? Most of the people posting on this "blog" have painted Detroit, teachers, unions and "blacks" with a very broad stroke. Is that stereotyping? I worked my butt off as a speech pathologist in Detroit. I earned a doctorate degree from a Carnegie I research institution. (The increase in pay was approximately 69 cents more per day. But, I didn't pursue a doctorate for the money,) I stayed up late preparing for my students. I prepared on weekends, during the summer, and over holiday recess, frequently at the expense of not spending time with my own family. (For the record–to those who are misinformed–teachers are not paid during holiday recess or during the summer!!!!!!!!) I finally retired because paper work became more important than student success. I refused to shortchange students to complete paper work. While I recognize it is a necessity, it should not be excessive or the primary goal.
      I receive a pension. I earned it. I worked 32 years to earn a pension I can't live on. It's so small I had to take another job. I'm not complaining. I have wonderful student success stories, grateful parents and the respect of my family and peers. The blame game is unproductive. There is plenty of blame (if you want to blame someone) to go around. Society. Politicians. Carpetbaggers. Parents. Teachers. Students. But you can't blame everyone. Some people are actually doing the right thing – even in Detroit. If you think you can do a better job, become a teacher. Prove your point. My guess is that the critics here wouldn't last a day. I often wonder if people with such negative comments have EVER had a conversation with the people they have so much to say about. My guess would be "no." Nor have most of them EVER been to Detroit except to attend a ball game or the Auto Show. Yet they have SO much to say. If you can't say something constructive or decent, then just shut up! For the record, I've taught just as many white students (in the city and suburbs) who were "illiterate," lazy, rude, disrespectful, and couldn't read or write. So, it's not just a black or Detroit problem. It's an American problem. You're either part of the solution or part of the problem. Considering the general tone of the posts, it's clear to me that most people here are a part of the problem!!!
      Thanks TOBMOTBAV for your continued dedication and service.

  • Detroiter

    Detroit Public Schools are 99.5% black. The few whites that live there do not dare send their kids to public schools. About 98% if the whites that do live in the city do NOT even have kids. White Detroiters are old retired people and young hipsters that live in lofts downtown.

  • Rynstone

    Absolutely Disgusting

    Damn Liberals and Progressives

  • Pssd Off

    Why is it that the teachers, policemen, firemen, etc. are always to blame, in your myopic eyes,for the countries financial woes. These are the people that actually work. Where are all your angry tirades against the financial sector, overpaid CEOs, corrupt politicians. I am tired of all the conservative brainwashing and constant “hey look over there at those horrible middle class people that are paid too much”. Please! Where is the anger over outsourcing, the destruction of pensions, the “we don’t make anything in this country anymore”. No, you morons rant about teachers. There are soooooooooooo many other things to be mad about. This is yet another distraction, like the second amendment, to distract the people from the real villains and the real marauders of our economy.

    • Hi

      Healthcare killed pensions. Consumerism created outsourcing. Teachers create dumb students.

      • Gerv

        No! You’re wrong. Teachers try to HELP dumb, lazy, disrespectful, and ungrateful students who are created by PARENTS with the same labels.

        • ssx1

          Well obviously they’re doing a terrible job. My sister’s a teacher and so was my mom. Both would confirm that many teachers hardly teach and that our children are being robbed of a good education by a bloated, unaccountable public school system seemingly intent on lowering educational standards & output. What liberals such as yourselves fail to grasp is that the salary itself is not the issue; given high teacher productivity and quality education most Conservatives would argue that they deserve more. The problem is that they’re getting paid a relatively high average salary despite utterly failing at their job. When only 7% of students are grade level proficient in reading, and 50% of the city is functionally illiterate, these “teachers” don’t deserve a job at all, let alone $70k per year. If there was that kind of accountability the schools wouldn’t be so abysmal, but instead you reward failure with the highest pay in the nation. Liberal genius at its best.

          To make it worse, the city paying these salaries is bankrupt. This is just another example of the astounding financial mismanagement of the Progressive city government. CEO’s don’t drain city resources without providing any value in return. If the liberal government didn’t impose legal thievery on businesses jobs wouldn’t have been outsourced. And despite your gallons of kool-aid, the financial sector creates & allocates wealth to where it is most productive – government sucks wealth out of the economy to put it where it is the least productive. Teachers aren’t the problem: government is.

        • Detroiter

          A teachers job is to teach, Kids must learn, it the teaches job. You cannot blame the parents, sorry, only poor, lazy teachers blame external factors for failure.

        • Lee

          I agree fully! as a teacher we are only given the slate we do not create it!

  • Jacques Shellac

    They may very well be protesting, but they haven’t left work to do so. These people don’t do any work.

    They should not be employed as teachers. They should be manufacturing license plates in jail, serving a long sentence for racketeering, fraud and child endangerment.