Public employees, particularly teachers, have come under attack recently by politicians who don’t want to raise taxes on wealthy supporters who assert that these workers cost too much, work too little and are generally expendable. A study released recently by Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation refutes this characterization suggesting that, when it comes to teachers, taxpayers are getting a bargain.

The study, Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession, found that America’s teachers work longer hours than most workers, averaging 53 hours per week. Many teachers work even longer hours if they supervise extracurricular activities. Teachers who volunteer to supervise students who participate in sports, debate clubs, student newspapers and other activities donate an additional 11 hours per week to their workplaces.

The survey, which interviewed 10,000 teachers across the nation, also reported that teachers were seeing the effects of the dire economic downturn reflected in their classrooms. Fifty six percent of the responding teachers report seeing more students living in poverty and forty nine percent said that they see children attending school hungry.

It’s all true:
Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession