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:
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.