State worker pay and the value of a college education

By way of the MinuteMan I came across this article in the NY Times comparing the pay of State workers to private sector workers.  Key grafs:

The clearest pattern to emerge is an educational divide: workers without college degrees tend to do better on state payrolls, while workers with college degrees tend to do worse. That divide has grown more pronounced in recent decades. Since 1990, the median wage of state workers without college degrees has come to surpass that of workers in the private sector. During the same period, though, college-educated state workers have seen their median pay lag further behind their peers in the private sector.

At the local level, the phenomenon is similar: the median wage for college-educated workers trails that of their private-sector counterparts by about 20 percent, while local workers without college degrees earn 10 percent more than their private-sector peers.

This is a clear example of “people unclear on the concept” (and I’m sad to say Tom appears to have missed this as well).  Allow me to break some new for the NY Times:

All college degrees are not equal.

Consider the folowing fields of “study”:

Sociology, Ethnic studies, Queer studies, History, Literature, Education, History of Consciousness, Political Science, Women’s Studies

What percentage of government employees have degrees in those fields?  What is the actual, real world value of the “education” received while attaining those degrees?  0?  Something negative?

higher education bubble, meet overpaid government workers.

Because while the private sector certainly suffers from too much credentialitis, it’s not nearly as bad there as it is in government, where people often get raises based solely on the fact that they’ve received a degree, no matter what that degree is.

You want to compare public and private sector?  Great, compare apples to apples.  Compare public school teacher salaries to private school teacher salaries.  Leave out the seniority, and whether they have an advanced degree, because that is irrelevant.  The only thing that is relevant is “how good is the teacher at teaching her / his students?”  And the “Teacher’s Unions” fight tooth and nail against any attempt to figure that out, let alone reward people based on it.

“Because the public sector is much more likely to be highly educated, we would fully expect them to earn more on average because of that, just like we would expect somebody with a master’s degree to earn more than somebody with a high school education,” said Keith A. Bender, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who has studied compensation in the public and private sectors.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I would hope and expect that the average mechanic makes far more than does the average person with a Racist or Sexists Studies degree, be it BA, MA, or PH. D.  Certainly the mechanic has learned far more of value, and provides far more value, than does anyone with such a degree.

What would actually be interesting, valuable, and never actually happen, is a comparison of degrees.  Federal / State / Local Government Employees / Private sector workers v. actual degrees attained (Field and whether it’s a BA / BS / MA / MS / Ph. D.).  It will never happen, because the results would show that the “college educated” goverment “workers”, by and large, have a much higher percentage of joke degress than do people in the private sector.

Which would quite adequately explain why they “make less”.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: