Educators create more jobs than big corporations

All of a sudden rich people are getting credit for being “job creators.” The punditry argues that the wealthy should have money filtered their way so they can create employment for the rest of us.

This notion is nonsense. I do, however, believe that there are indeed job creators out there. We’re just looking in the wrong place.

Teachers are the real job creators.

Teachers are the fuel that powers the American economy. We should stop treating greed as a virtue. Let’s pump money into the professions that build us up, rather than the ones that trickle down.

It’s safe to assume that every person who’s leading a company of any consequence in this country got some guidance from a few teachers along the way. There’s been so much talk in recent days about how the world would be different had Steve Jobs never existed. That consideration should be extended to how the world would have suffered without the people who educated Jobs along the way.

Sam Walton is America’s most successful job creator in the traditional sense. His company Walmart influenced the lives of 2.1 million employees in 2010. Good for him. America’s schools as a collective had the opportunity to affect over 75 million students in the same year.

The breadth and reach of educators is far greater than any corporation or individual.

Teachers have a power of influence that knows no comparison.

We should pay teachers a salary commensurate to their impact and stop siphoning away the ever-dwindling resources they need to do their jobs properly.

Let’s strip away the moral, ethical and human reasoning behind wanting an educated population, and just focus on simple dollars and cents.

The single most potent indicator of personal income is education level. Americans with bachelor’s degrees earn, on average, about twice as much as those with a high school diploma. College graduates contribute hundreds of thousands more dollars in income taxes than high school graduates over the course of a career.

At average income levels and tax rates, if 20 percent of 45 million American workers with high school diplomas instead had bachelors degrees, they would add an extra $51 billion a year to the tax revenue pot.

Consider also that unemployment for those with no diploma is three times the rate for college graduates.

America rode a golden age of economic dominance in the post-World War II era largely on the backs of soldiers educated by the G.I. Bill. Education levels in the U.S. rose steadily throughout the 20th century until the late 1970s. Since then, they have remained static as America has watched its role as global economic hegemon disappear.

The trend in education is to devalue teachers. Class sizes bulge as supplies and resources evaporate. Test scores plummet. More and more undereducated people flood into a work force that is already saturated.

The country and the world would benefit from a redirection of funds into the hands of teachers.

Let’s treat our teachers they way we treat our executives. Forget write-offs for corporate jets: Create deductions for dry erase markers. Let teachers file aides as dependents. Count parent-teacher conferences as hazard pay.

The better our teachers, the smarter our population, the better our economy.

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