Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vacation Anyone?

I stumbled upon this article at Accuracy in Media, titled V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N for the N-E-A . It's quite interesting. I got there after reading another article there, Conflict of Interest, that Valerie at HEM's News & Commentary blog commented on (worth checking out, of course).

In part, the first article reads:

According to 2006 survey data, the average American employee gets 14 days of vacation annually, and usually only uses 10 of those. In contrast, human resources firm Hewitt Associates reports that Europeans average around four weeks of vacation per year. Hewitt Associates told Vault, an internet-based career-information provider, that Denmark employees receive the most vacation in Europe, with an average 31 days per year, while Switzerland came in on the low end with an average 20 days vacation annually. Vault reports that because Americans receive vacation based on seniority, it can take American employees 15 years or more to earn four weeks of vacation, unless you're a teacher, of course.

On August 20, 2007, the National Education Association website featured a survey asking educators "How long was your summer break?" It provided the options of:
• No break;
• 3 weeks or less;
• 4 to 6 weeks;
• 6 to 8 weeks; or
• More than 8 weeks.

Of the 454 people surveyed, 76% recorded receiving four weeks or more vacation this summer with many of them receiving 8 weeks or more summer vacation time. Despite these cheerful results the NEA asserts, "Taking the 'whole summer off' isn't quite like it sounds. . . Paperwork, planning, preparation and continuing education can shorten the summer quite a bit."

I'm sure a lot of folks would love to have even 6 weeks off, summer or any other time. The salary issue is also discussed:

One might argue that teachers—given their allegedly low incomes—spend most of their summer working at their second job. However, only 13% of the teachers in the NEA survey reported that they were actually working at another job.

Perhaps there is so surprisingly little moonlighting on their part because public school teaching salaries may be actually higher than advertised. According to the NEA salary tables, Pennsylvania teachers earn an average $54,027 per year. D. C. teachers earn an average $61,195 per year. Mississippi, ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as the poorest state in the Union, pays its teachers an average $37,924 annually.

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