Baltimore Public Schools May Suck, but They Are Well-Funded And Have Well-Paid Teachers

In response to a Jon Stewart (uninformed) dig about Baltimore schools being crappy because they are poorly funded, we get this:

The National Center for Education Statistics reports the following data on Baltimore City Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools, the latter considered among the best school districts in the entire country:

school data2

So what about the teachers? Maybe the schools waste a lot of this money and skimp on teachers' salaries?  Yes on the first part, but no on the second.

To my eye, Baltimore teachers are quite well paid, starting at over $47,000 base salary (plus substantial benefits, likely better than what you have) and ramping up to over $80,000 a year for "professional" teachers which I presume means they have a post-graduate degree of some sort.  I am not sure if these salaries are for 9, 10, or 12 months of work, but if I read page 25 of their union contact correctly, teachers can work no more than 190 days a year vs. about 250 for the typical professional job.  This would make their starting salary equivalent to $61,842 for a full-year job.  Add to that tens of thousands in pension and health benefits, 21 different types of allowed leave time, and a virtual inability to be fired, and that's pretty damn good pay.

Postscript:  I will add that I was fortunate enough to be able to send my kids to top private schools in Phoenix K-12.  We obviously paid less in elementary school and more in high school, but the average private tuition we paid in those 13 years of school, even adjusted for inflation, is well below the $17,196 per pupil spent in Baltimore public schools.  I am simply exhausted with people saying this is about money.  It is about a senescent government monopoly with no accountability and no incentive to improve because it faces no competition.


  1. SamWah:

    Why would anyone reading your blog trust Jon Stewart to be a reliable source?

  2. Matthew Slyfield:

    Spending on primary education has doubled since the 1970s, yet there has been little if any measurable improvement in educational outcomes.

  3. Reformed Repub:

    Not just the lack of accountability and incentive. The approach also tends to be one-size-fits all, and the curriculum is politically motivated, which is why intelligent design and abstinence-only sex-ed are such big issues.

  4. stanbrown:

    Don't know how Baltimore stacks up to Milwaukee, but during the insanity fit pitched against Walker it came out that the average Milwaukee teacher received pay and benefits worth over 100K a year for 9 months work and could retire at age 55 with a great retirement package.

  5. mesaeconoguy:

    It is about a senescent government monopoly with no accountability and no incentive to improve because it faces no competition.

    Correct, and given the amounts of money spent and lack of improvement, and even decline in many areas, it may even be statistically possible to say that increases in education spending have been negatively correlated with outcomes.

  6. Not Sure:

    And why not? How can you expect to justify requests for additional funding if you're already doing well with what you're currently getting?

  7. thesafesurfer:

    Thank you for this statement, "it is about a senescent government monopoly with no accountability and no incentive to improve because it faces no competition," and consider it stolen for as much use as I can give it (with attribution)!!!!

  8. BobSykes:

    You're missing the forest. The situation in Baltimore or Detroit or Camden, et al., has nothing to do with Blue Model or Red Model or unions or welfare.

    Baltimore is an African city. The black lumpenproletariat, which constitutes a majority of black Baltimoreans, has an average IQ in the 70's, with many scoring in the 60's. This population is uneducable and untrainable. It's not the schools' fault or the teachers fault or a consequence of monopoly power.

    One hundred years ago, the lumpenproletariats' great grandparents were field hands who were able to support themselves despite illiteracy and lack of skills. They lived in poverty worse than today's ghetto; they had largely intact families, some extended; they had no real drug problem other than alcohol; and they had much lower levels of violence. That lifestyle was ended by the mechanization of Southern plantations. Today, the great grandchildren have no economic function whatsoever and live as parasites on welfare (white charity).

    This morning, some deluded ideologue at the WSJ (William McGurn) is blaming Baltimore's woes on LBJ's Great Society. Without welfare there would be mass starvation in all of our cities, and there would be a very large-scale race war underway. We have a small-scale one as it is. Three way, counting the Mexicans who are displacing blacks. Consider the Great Society to be reparations. They permit an otherwise surplus population to survive after a fashion.

    We are also lucky enough to have self-imposed racial segregation. That separates the black underclass from the rest of us and promotes peace.

    If you really want to know about the efficacy of American public schools, go read Steve Sailer's essay on PISA scores for educational achievement. When the US' scores are broken out by race, our schools are as good as any in Europe or Asian. They achieve what is doable, and that is all that can be asked of them.

  9. Joe:

    You raise some very interesting and provocative points, all of which are politically incorrect.

    1) the single greatest factor for a schools success ( or failure ) is the gene pool of the student body. I attended a school district in the 60's/70's which was the top school district in the state. At the time, more than 3/4 of the town's employment was from two major engineer & electronics/ computing companies. Obviously, the gene pool of the student body (and parents) was high, so there was going to high success rate.

    2) The book the Bell Curve does address your comments, though it was widely criticized due to the political (in)correctness.

    3) A lot of social studies argue that moving a child out of a bad environment to a good environment is the answer to the social problems along with spending money for the correction of those social problems. However, those studies ignore the massive empirical data available from adopted children and from blended step families. Again, the reversion of the child to the gene pool in both the adopted situations and the step families demonstrates that the gene pool is a much higher factor than the environment.

    In other words, I concur with your comments.

  10. TeeJaw:

    Baltimore doesn’t actually have schools, they call them schools but they are just jobs programs for “teachers” and administrators.

  11. marque2:

    Usually these figures don't include bond expenses either. So they get 18K per year per student, plus whatever can be attributed to construction bonds. Eg if They spent 500 million in bond money on a school that lasts 20 years for 5000 students - you could legitimately say the students get an additional 5 grand per year.

  12. joe:

    fwiw - Several years ago I ran into the president of our school board who I knew on a social basis at a neighborhood gathering. At the time the school district was spending a ton on money on new building construction at most of the school middle school and high school campuses (also at a time of zero student population growth with no projected increase in student population).

    I asked the school board president as to why all the taxpayer money was being spend - the response
    "this is bond money - not taxpayer money"

    enuff said.

  13. Incunabulum:

    Are you sure you're in the right place - Stormfront is thataway >>

  14. marque2:

    When I was in Middle school may teachers complained about their salaries - too low, they do management work and should get management pay.

    But the stunner I heard was in 8th grade when my history teacher told us - the school board is lying when they say they can't give us raises, they can always sell bonds. Even in 8th grade, I knew that was stupid.

  15. Noumenon72:

    Probably not "and could retire", probably "meaning they could retire" -- that is, I'm sure the value of the pension is included in the pay and benefits being over 100K a year. Otherwise it's just not too believable.

  16. Not Sure:

    " teachers complained about their salaries"

    Show of hands... when was the last time you heard a teacher say they make enough money as it is and really don't need a raise?

    Bueller... Bueller... Bueller...

    I thought so.

    Now, since there has never been a time in the recorded history of the world when teachers were (by their own estimations) well paid, why would anyone go into that profession, expecting to be well paid?

  17. BobSykes:

    IQ is a major determinant in what happens to people. Any sociological study that does not explicitly account for IQ is at best simply wrong, and at worst it is a deliberate attempt to deceive. Low IQ afflicts the white underclass, too, but Coyote chose to villify a black city, with a black school system and a black union. So, I, too, focused on blacks.

    But there is another issue here. Coyote's post is a right wing attack on unions and workers. It is dismaying to see how many commenters jumped on the pig pile.

    One sometimes hears the phrase hipster racist or hipster fascist. These are people who live the bohemian lifestyle and mouth all the SJW pieties but manage to live in lily white towns, send their kids to lily white schools, hate unions and workers and despise the Walmart people. This is hypocrisy on steroids.

  18. marque2:

    In what other field can you openly complain to your customer about how little you get paid, while on the job?

  19. wreed22:

    Possibly the teachers union and the Democratic Party receive the extra $5000.

  20. wreed22:


  21. wreed22:

    I must have missed the White Underclass riots, looting, arson, and general mayhem. Yours truly grew up Poor White Trash in North and South Carolina.
    Missing Fathers, supplanted by the welfare state, is a negative fact in poor, black, urban communities. Baltimore is The Poster Child for the Nanny State. 50 years of Liberal Democratic rule. It is there for all to see.
    As for Private Sector Unions, their downfall is richly deserved. Their Officers and Rulers seem to be doing pretty well. Unfunded pension liabilities will shrink Public Sector Unions in short order.
    I shop at Walmart everyday.

  22. marque2:

    More likely the construction Unions. In Los Angeles, they are building High Schools for 5000 students that are costing 300 - 500 million dollars, and even though they are brand new, they are falling apart. All the money goes to the construction unions, and to the seedy construction companies, that are skimming the money and providing poor construction services.

  23. Ike Pigott:

    Thanks for having this handy. When I saw the meme photo, I knew it needed a debunking.

    (The meme is on the left, I debunked on the right.)

  24. John:

    I do not share the racist views of many of the commenters. What is lost in this discussion is an historical context - which is mapped by the NAEP test which is administered nationally.

    The current score of black students in math is where white children scored about 30 years ago. I think if you seriously look at the NAEP data - you can see through the claim that somehow the division between white outcomes and black outcomes is predetermined by genetics. If the basis for the lower scores among black children was genetically based - this is an indication of predetermined ability - and then you never get there. The fact that black children attain the same level indicates that the ability exists. If the counter argument is that this took greater effort - show this greater effort on an inflation adjusted scale. Simply looking at the infrastructure of the Baltimore City schools - I have a hard time believing that these schools have ever been worse than they are now - there has been no substantial investment in the Baltimore City public schools I have visited - charter schools aside.

  25. Iboqueen53:

    You stated "This population is uneducable and untrainable." Racist statement and you are a racist. I hope you don't live in Baltimore. We dont need white people like you. Baltimore is predominately black because slavery was alive and well. They use to auction off slaves in Lexington Market. Black people built this city. I am a product of East Baltimore, yes the ghetto, growing up I was told the same thing now I have three degrees, bachelors, masters and specialist in education. If it is so bad, why don't you live in a predominantly white city. How can you speak of the black experience in this country. You are not black and never will be. African-Americans suffered hundred of years of slavery, oppression, white supremacy and institutionalized racism. This country had the most sadist, brutal and inhumane form of slavery in the modern area.. You are a coward because you base your identity on white supremacy. People like you examine comments and look for writing errors. Go to hell!