In surprising article, the right wing group Freedom Foundation of Minnesota actually makes a strong case for increasing teacher’s salaries. The Freedom Foundation recently looked over the financial disclosures of Education Minnesota and reported that 49 members of the union made in excess of $100,000, with Tom Dooher topping out at $190,000.
Meanwhile, the average teacher in Minnesota only makes about $54,000. (Please remember that fact the next time some conservative claims the average teachers makes six figures). This disparity seems, at first blush, pretty outrageous. The obvious and reasonable conclusion is that teachers simply do not make enough.
Now, I know some of you may have come to a different conclusion. There are some conservatives who believe that if one group is making a good living, and another group is struggling, the moral thing to do is tear the successful group down. I cannot believe that the Freedom Foundation is that petty and juvenile. America is supposed to be about marketing your skills at top market value. A group with freedom in their name cannot possibly be against that. therefore, the only logical conclusion is the the Freedom Foundation wants to close this disparity, not by tearing down leaders, but by raising up teachers.
The Freedom Foundation goes on to talk about how the leaders at Education Minnesota are paid by union dues. Teachers pay, in general, around 2% or less of their salaries in union dues. For that 2% they get representation in contract negotiations, representation in workplace disputes, and $1,000,000 in liability coverage. For 2% or less.
Imagine if teachers had to hire a private party to negotiate for them. The going rate for private contract negotiation ranges between 5%-10%. Education Minnesota represents over 84,000 clients. Can you imagine a law firm that represented over 84,000 clients? Can you imagine a business being on retainer for 84,000 clients. Can you imagine the top dog at that firm earning less than a quarter million? In essence, the union is a private firm representing 84,000 clients at less than half the going rate. Free market libertarians like the Freedom Foundation should be wondering why Tom Dooher is working so cheap! Doesn’t he realize he should be giving himself obscene bonuses like the bankers?
In closing, I would like to thank the Minnesota Freedom Foundation for pointing out that teachers just do not make enough money. While many folks might think they are just shamelessly trying to tear down unions, I believe better of them. I really think they want to close the gap by lifting up teachers, not tearing down leaders. Kudos to you Freedom Foundation of Minnesota!!