Dismantling The Post-Dispatch’s Piece About Education (Part 4 of 4)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board recently issued an opinion piece riddled with errors, faulty assumptions, and half-truths. This post is the fourth of four posts (part 1, part 2, and part 3) that aims to point out where the editorial board got it wrong.
Fallacy 4: State-by-state comparisons need not adjust for the cost of living
Teachers in Missouri are among the worst paid in the nation, right? That is what the editorial board of the Post-Dispatch would have you believe. As evidence, they link to a piece in The Atlantic, which lists the 10 best and 10 worst states in terms of teacher salaries. Missouri ranks 3rd on the 10 worst list.
As with almost everything else written in the editorial piece, there is a huge problem with this comparison — the cost of living.
The average teacher salary listed for Missouri is $46,411. This seems much lower than the $72,708 salary listed for New York or the $69,434 salary listed for California. Of course, it costs much more to live in those places.
A quick visit to a cost-of-living calculator can help us understand the difference between Missouri’s teacher salaries and those of the highest-paying states.
A salary of $45,000 in Saint Louis, Mo., would be approximately equal to:
$90,246 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
$108,079 in Manhattan, N.Y.
$67,821 in Boston, Mass.
$65,598 in Long Beach, Calif.
$74,242 in San Jose, Calif.
$64,807 in Newark-Elizabeth, N.J.
$61,152 in Hartford, Conn.
$72,810 in Stamford, Conn.
It is disappointing that the Post-Dispatch piece misses the mark on so many levels, because there is room for good debate on these issues.
Because I have spent the past four blog posts explaining where the Post-Dispatch went wrong, I think I should close with an area of agreement. The editors note that the legislature is not meeting its obligation because they are under-funding the foundation formula. To that, I agree.