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NYC Public School Teacher Pay

According to this article in today’s Daily News, one in every eight New York City public school teachers earn more than the average pay of assistant principals, $87,130. Closer to one in every four teachers earn more than the starting pay of assistant principals, $79,357.

And all of this is BEFORE the pay increases in the proposed contract kick in.



  • 1 Just A Cog
    · Nov 15, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Why shouldn’t we earn more? I’ve never bought the argument that because they supervise us, they should be paid more than teachers. Adminstrators are teachers who have an advanced degree in administration–nothing more nor less. I and most of my colleagues have advanced degrees, as well.

    As a teacher of fairly long tenure, I resent these APs with two years of actual classroom experience who think they should earn more than I do. Why should they? We have the same education level, but I beat their experience by a few decades, and I have a proven record of success doing what schools are meant to do–educate kids.

    Which is more valuable–the classroom teacher or the pencil-pushing, agenda driven administrator? Perhaps it’s worth the UFTs while to raise this issue in contract negotiations.

  • 2 jd2718
    · Nov 15, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    You have to wonder who they mean to attract to AP jobs. No tenure.

    If teachers are underpaid compared with the suburbs, think about these APs. Who is taking these jobs?

    And as much as I don’t care what they make, I am not happy if teachers have to work for, get evaluated by, less than competent admins.


  • 3 NYC Educator
    · Nov 15, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    A right-wing social studies teacher friend of mine answers all such inquiries with a shrug and comments, “They don’t care who teaches the kids, or how you do it, or if you’re good bad, or indifferent.”

    He makes a very strong argument, and 30 years of gimmicks, slogans, speeches, and intergalactic searches for the cheapest teaching force on God’s green earth (considering the cost of living here)have largely won me over to his side.

    I suppose the same could be said for administrators. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked for some extraordinarily talented APs, but alas, my case seems more the exception than the rule.

    Kids will be kids, and always are, but bad leaders can make your job miserable. The chancellor’s been intently training an army of them. For him, low morale somehow equals maximum productivity.

  • 4 Science Sam
    · Nov 15, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Everyone has their favorite theory about why the mayor settled earlier. My guess is he is trying to lure the AP’s back into the UFT, into the classroom, and break the principal’s union.

    Whether that’s a good thing or not for us in the long run, I don’t know. But I have to say, right now? The prospect? It does my heart good.

  • 5 Science Sam
    · Nov 15, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    My last comment wasn’t very clear, but I couldn’t figure out how to undo it. So, I’ll clarify.

    It’s not that my heart is warmed by the prospect of the breaking of the principal’s union (“Apres vous, le deluge”), but rather by the prospect of making more money than they do. I like that.

    Maybe this contract will pay an unexpected dividend to us. People talk about organizing for the sake of better contracts, but that can never amount to a hill of beans. Where organizing matters is at the school level, and not just on contract issues. We need the confidence in the schools to stand up on the everyday baloney. We need to become better advocates for our professional dignity and for our children. We need to stop being scared of these all these silly administrators. Now, the AP;s and principals haven’t got it quite so good as us. Now, they just don’t seem so powerful.

    Call it the paper tiger effect. The emperor’s scanty wardrobe. The little man behind the curtain, at Oz.

    So — Instead of organizing for the sake of a contract, the contract may wind up organizing us.

  • 6 xkaydet65
    · Nov 16, 2006 at 12:09 am

    The cries of unfairness from Bloomberg’s people were interesting. They believe there has to be a hierarchy of pay. Is it unfair that Joe Torre is paid less than most members of the Yankeess? Or the same with Willie Randolph of the Mets? Who makes more money, the hospital cardiac and thoracic surgeon, or the hospital administrator?
    In the corporate business world there is a hierarchy of pay, but that’s not true in every endeavor.

    I know it irks the admins. In the last few days we have been undergoing little inquisitions by them as they prepare for an empowerment school quality review. During one of these mock witch trials the teacher team had not started TANS or met regularly on THEIR PREPS. They were hit with the comment that “You have a new contract. You should start working to earn your money.” This came fom the principal. I’m not sympathetic to their plight.

  • 7 NYC Educator
    · Nov 16, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Nor am I.

    A good leader wouldn’t need to resort to such tactics.

  • 8 Just A Cog
    · Nov 16, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    I’m certainly not in favor of union busting on any level, but the principals seem hell-bent on busting their own. Given that, it seems to me it would be shrewd move for the UFT to court the APs right now. Imagine having APs who are allies instead of enemies. It could potentially be a huge step forward in taking back the schools. I wonder if Jill Levy and Randi have kicked this idea around. If not, they should.

  • 9 Persam1197
    · Nov 16, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    When I started teaching 14 years ago, I was under the impression that “principal” meant principal teacher. These were folks who had years of field experience in the classroom before they went into administration. Today, we have principals coming out of the Leadership Academy mill who either are fresh off the pablum or career changers who don’t have educational backgrounds. The damage was done in the 1990’s by making retirement of seasoned educators attractive and replacing them with neophytes.

    I’m not saying that a newbie can’t be a good administrator, however, I think those folks are the exception. One of my AP’s would get a pay increase if she got demoted back on a teacher’s line.

    My worry is that after the CSA is dismantled, the corporate powers that be will target us. We ourselves don’t have the same balance of seasoned teachers we had just a few years ago. The breakdown of the large schools and the “free market” system makes newbies cheap and easily manipulated.

  • 10 jd2718
    · Nov 18, 2006 at 2:07 pm


    you are absolutely right. I am not going to cry over the AP’s plight, but I am going to worry, as it is part of what’s in store for us.

    I was hired into a not-so-great high school 10 years ago. Of the 20 or so math teachers in my department, 8 had 20+ years, 5 had 5 – 20, 2 had 1 – 5, and 5 were new hires. I believe that that department today has no teachers with 20+ years, maybe 2 or 3 with 10+….

    Who will enforce the contract when no one has tenure in a department or a building? We need to deal with this, and quickly.

  • 11 Schoolgal
    · Nov 18, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Sam the Science Man,

    While I agree with you about your statement regarding salary, I think you are not correct when you say the administrators have lost power. Their union isn’t powerful, but they have gained power in the schools due to the loss of our LIF and observation grievances. Letters and U ratings are on the rise.
    They still have the right to demand the content of our bulletin boards while we get to choose the color scheme.
    They select our Professional Period assignments as well make all hiring decisions when it used to be collaborative.

    They may not love the money, but they are in love with the power–especially those from Leadership.

  • 12 reality-based
    · Nov 18, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    What’s this I hear about an annual increase of $100 in the employee contribution to the welfare fund and a $166 lump sum payment to the welfare fund on May 1, 2008? How come I didn’t hear about this when the UFT bigwigs came around to sell the contract?

    The way I figure the lump sum payment of $750 is this – half gets taken in taxes and union dues, so I actually only take home $375. Then another $100 goes to the welfare fund annually, so now I’m down to $275. Then I have a lump sum payment of $166 taken from my pay on May 1, 2008, which leaves me with $109. But then Randi and Mayor Mike will make a deal making me pay 2% of my pay for health care, so I’ll probably end up losing money on the deal.

    Gee, what a great contract.

    · Nov 19, 2006 at 10:38 am

    What is the sound of a desperate argument?

    Check out the comments of Reality Based Educator, Schoolgal and NYCEducator.

    First, they take increases that the city will put into the UFT Welfare Fund, and presto, make them into contributions that come out of the members’ pockets.

    If they are so dense that they can’t figure out “internally funded” means that it is part of the pattern set by the DC37 contract, and not above it, they could have asked. But, hey, why ask? You could get an answer, and that might put in a little kink into the campaign of disinformation.

    Of course, the UFT has been rather explicit about the increases the city would pay into the welfare fund, as it is those increases which allow the Fund to do such things as put a $1000 cap on the co-pays for prescription drugs. Maybe some folks only read what they want to read.

    And if that is not enough, we have reality based educator argue against the UFT contract on the basis of something the TWU negotiated in a contract that was never even ratified. This is not a reach: it extends so far that it breaks the argument into a million little pieces.

    Without any arguments to make against this contract, they are reduced to making things up out of thin air.

  • 14 Schoolgal
    · Nov 19, 2006 at 11:59 am

    I totally apologize for that error, and I have no problem doing that.

    However it wasn’t until the last contract was ratified did I learn the true meaning of the Bulletin Board clause–and it should have been made clear from the start that it was meant only for style and not content.

    Having to rubric and standard every single board and write post-its is so time consuming. We already meet personally with the students to tell them during conferences what needs to be done to improve their pieces.
    Isn’t this “excessive”?

    However I still feel we are kept in the dark about many things. Such as, why didn’t my DR tell us outright that we were losing due process and days off instead of telling us that’s what the city wants. It was a fishing expedition.
    Even this time someone from the union came in with what we “might” expect and a few days later the contract is announced.
    Would it be so terrible to come in and tell us the actual contract before announcing it over the media? Even if we get mad, it’s not like you guys are going to change the conditions of the agreement. The last rep said that many teachers were angry over the loss of due process, and that’s how she handled that objection. So you know that’s a sore point by a majority to members and still did nothing even if when the mayor told Randi he would.

    And to make things clear, I am happy about the new salary, however is it really the actual percentage or will we be paying for health? Because 7% is much better than 5%

  • 15 NYC Educator
    · Nov 19, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you SS teacher. I certainly appreciate your typical ad hominem arguments and name-calling. I appreciate also your attempts at mind-reading, which never fail to amuse.

    Actually, misinterpretation is not “making things up out of thin air.” Nor does making mistakes suggest that people are “dense.” Frankly, I’d not want anyone with such an attitude teaching my daughter.

    I was taught it’s a virtue to admit mistakes, which is why I do so immediately. I posted a correction on my blog as well.

    Your assumption there are “no arguments against this contract,” however, is typically baseless.

    One objection, which I’ve mentioned repeatedly, which you and the rest of the UFT aristocracy have consistently failed to respond to is that of cost of living, thus far 5.2% in our area this year.

    I’m reminded of an episode of “All in the Family” where Archie comes home saying “Whoop-de-doo, I just got a raise.”

    Son-in-law Mike must point out that, as it does not meet cost-of-living, it constitutes less money. Although you do not appear to understand that, I will refrain from concluding you are “dense.” However, there are sound reasons I refrain from shouting “Whoop-de-doo” today. And attacking individuals, I regret to inform you, does not constitute argument.

    Should you find yourself able to address that objection, I’d be happy to discuss others with you, including the inevitable infusion of CFE money, which this quick fix has precluded from any part of UFT salaries.

    The fact that you repeatedly engage in such attacks, however, speaks of desperation not on my part, but on yours. I regret that the UFT aristocracy must take such an approach. However, it goes a long way toward explaining why we’ve gone from the highest-paid teachers in the area to among the lowest, under your stewardship.

    · Nov 20, 2006 at 7:02 am

    The problem, NYCEducator, is entirely of your own making — and Schoolgal’s and Reality Based Educator’s mistakes. You are telling people things about the contract that are simply not true. There is no crime in not knowing a subject well, but then you should not be offering yourself as an expert. Moreover, you should be asking questions before you make declarations that are wrong. Learn from your mistakes, don’t excuse them.

  • 17 Science Sam
    · Nov 20, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Schoolgal points out how the principal’s have too much power under Klein. Can’t argue with that. But I still find myself smiling when I walkv by their office since we settled with Bloomberg. It’s a little wicked, but I can’t help it. They have more power, I guess but I feel more powerful. It’s a yellow submarine Blue Meanie kind of thing. They’ve got the clubs, but I’ve got the laughs.

    But the observations thing Schoolgal mentions is more complicated. In the last contract, we lost a system that didn’t work. No one has ever seriously disputed what we heard from the union – -that we couldn’t win observations at arbitration. If you didn’t get it out at Step 1 (which you can still do), your goose was cooked.

    So we lost something that didn’t work. But it got replaced with something better that might work – the independent arbitrator in the classroom .The old arbitrators (as in LIFs) were not teachers and did not come to your class, so they didn’t override principals. But the new ones are educators and they are independent. That is good. To me it’s a gain. Even a get back.

    Will it work, I don’t know. But it looks like it could work. So if they replaced a broken system with a system that works, I’m glad.

    The bulletin board thing is ridiculous. Don’t these AP’s have a life? They ought to start blogging like the rest of us. I’ve heard that style content thing, too about the boards – that we have to use their content but our style. That makes sense in a general way (If they said, “Sam, no Santa’s in September”). But micromanaged content? Post-its on the bulletin board? That sounds like style. That sounds like an envelope worth pushing.

    NYC Educator – You seem to think everyone is dying for another .5 percent. As if we all wanted to risk 7 for the sake of 8. And that CFE would maybe pay it . But I heard CFE took a dive today in court. The city is getting funding, but getting less – I’m not sure of the facts. So, good thing the union didn’t decide to turn down a contract for the sake of holding out for CFE, a suggestion I’ve seen around the blogs.

    Most people I know don’t really care about another nickel or two in the check. What they’d prefer is to see that money go to smaller classes, something that could actually make things better in the schools for everyone. Keeping those two battles separate (money and smaller classes) seems like a damned good thing to me. I don’t think we should pay for either one with the other. I’m hoping I may get to the point where I can actually see to the back of my class. Right now, I feel like the back row (good god! Did I say ROW?) – the back row looks like it’s sitting at the horizon.

  • 18 NYC Educator
    · Nov 21, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Science Sam,

    Clever though you are, you’re putting words in my mouth. First of all, inflation in our area always outpaces the national average, and is running 5.2% so far this year, so we’re not, in fact, talking about half a point.

    CFE has been cut by more than half, but Spitzer says he will fund more than the minimum. The result for NYC teachers is the same.

    While less than cost of living without givebacks is better than less of cost of living with a mountain of givebacks, NYC teachers are the hardest working in the area and deserve more–more than cost of living, and real parity with the suburbs.

    We also deserve leadership that will at least try to get it for us. Despite your obvious enthusiasm, Archie Bunker is hardly a role model for working people today.

  • 19 Schoolgal
    · Nov 21, 2006 at 6:01 pm


    It is so nice to have someone from the UFT’s inner-circle actually write in such a respectful manner even when they disagree.

    I take it you are not an elementary school teacher and therefore do not really understand that post-its are not style but are used to write our comments on the published pieces.

    I do enjoy reading your comments.

    Thanks and have a Happy Thanksgiving :)

  • 20 Science Sam
    · Nov 22, 2006 at 8:30 am

    I stand corrected NYC Educator. You didn’t want us to hold out for .5 percent. You wanted us to hold out for 4 or 5 percent. Or another 1 percent or 9 percent.

    Thank you, Schoolgal – Actually I’m not from any circles. I just started looking at the blogs when the new contract came up and started getting hooked. I know about the post-its because it has made inroads in the higher grades too. Not like what you face, though. Isn’t it really a style of marking? So, style not content for a bulletin board. But I don’t want to incite a bulletin board riot. Ultimately, the fight against these things is not going to happen at school. It takes the end of the Klein.

    And I don’t think any contract will be the solution. In fact, what a lot of the bosses do now, they could have done under old contracts, too. But principals actually had more autonomy then, and while some became tyrants, some also found ways to run real schools. That’s the funny thing, Klein talks about empowering the administrations, but actually they have been castrated. How can an administrator have the freedom to do good work in collaboration with his staff when all he is thinking about is their jobs and the tests? Why risk doing something better when at the end of the day, it won’t be low scores that did you in but how much you bucked the system. Thus the endless test prep, the dumbing down, the post-its, the forced teaching methods of dubious benefit. The admins are caught in it too – though I have to say that some do their dirty work with all the zeal of madmen involved in revolution. In any case, it’s not the contract that’s the problem. It’s the Kleinists.

  • 21 Schoolgal
    · Nov 22, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Sorry, but even my DR told me it was content and not style. Today a teacher was crying during her prep because she had to put up a 3rd bulletin board. Now one is not enough! The custodians were putting more up today.

    Reading journals, writing notebooks, assessments all need to be read and responded to. Every student’s Princeton Review had to be printed and reviewed–all this in the same week.

    Classes were split this week due to teacher absences, so teachers with 30 had extra students while teachers with 20 had none.

    If you are new to blogging, why not start your own blog which now stands empty.
    I would love to hear your take on senior teachers being relegated to ATR status as well as the changes in PIP. The morale in most of the schools in my district is pretty low.

    Teachers in the burbs make top salary without having to wait 22 years, and their working conditions are better. A study was just published on how morale is better in the surburan areas over urban areas because teachers are treated as professionals–no potty duty for them!

    My principal may be upset not having a new contract, but that hasn’t made a dent on how we are treated. And I will make this prediction–as more principals are hired through Leadership, watch their salaries soar!

  • 22 NYC Educator
    · Nov 22, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    I sincerely regret, Sam, your apparent inability to comprehend the effects or implications of year after year of raises that fail to meet cost of living.

    However, I agree absolutely about the “Kleinists,” who are bad for everyone. The current CFE provisions provide no oversight whatsoever, which will enable this mayor to continue doing what he’s been doing–dumping kids into overcrowded schools like so many sardines and hiring people who see teachers as the only variable in whether or not kids pass tests.

    Of course, the Kleinists were largely enabled by the last contract (which this one essentially replicates) and the UFT’s support of mayoral control. Despite its highly negative effects on students and teachers (particularly on morale), I very seriously doubt we will put forth any serious opposition to its renewal.

    I’d also liked to have seen some of the counterproductive and vindictive provisions of the last contract rolled back. But that boat seems to have sailed without any attempt whatsoever to fix it.

  • 23 xkaydet65
    · Nov 24, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    Rolling back the regressive clauses of the last contract became impossible when the UFT enterd into the labor alliance. Our allied unions had not suffered the deterioration of protections we had, and so they were interested in monetary results. I find it unlikely that the Sanitation and others would allow themselves to be used in a Randi directed Kabuki theater designed to get our distinct grievances assuaged.

    There was rationality in Randi’s actions.( Can’t believe I said that). We received a raise with no work rule givebacks. This enraged klein and his allies like Fat Tony Lombardi. Lombardi had scheduled a meeting with Klein to demand teacher givebacks. Klein was to meet him at 8 Pm when he learned from Bloomie’s lawyers that the Mayor and Randi had forged an agreement. Klein had to cancel his Lombadi summit and both were enraged.

    This will be the last contract with Klein and Bloomberg. The next will be negotiated with a Democratic Mayor under the specter of the legislature sunsetting mayoral control. Things like Leadership Academy, Jack Welch management theories, and union busting will be soon a thing of the past. I’ll be retired by then, but the future for the rest of you will not be as bleak. Thank Randi’s understanding that a deal with a distracted Bloomie at the expense of Klein was the right move for the longer run.