“Why do athletes get paid so much while teachers are paid so little?”

I hear this question all the time. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’re bound to hear it soon with the NFL and NBA players locked out because they can’t reach a compensation agreement with the owners.

I’m so tired of hearing this ridiculous question that I actually did some research. Pretty much all the research shows that athlete compensation has nothing to do with teacher compensation and if any change should be made, we should actually spend less on education and teacher salaries.

Here is what I am thinking:

  • Athletes are paid by private team owners, not tax dollars, so the amount of money a professional athlete makes has absolutely no impact on what teachers make
  • The amount of money spent on athletes ($10.2 billion) isn’t even close to the amount we spend on teachers ($173 billion) and education in this country.
  • We spend more money every year on education and are still trailing far behind other countries in academic achievement.

Is there any question that the average young person graduating from high school in American is less educated than their Asian counterparts?


That doesn’t mean that Americans are less intelligent than people who grow up in Japan or India; it means our educational system is not as effective. For what we are spending on education, our kids should be getting smarter every year and we should be at the forefront of science, mathematics and engineering.

That’s not happening. Not even close. And don’t even get me started on how little knowledge or experience young adults have in managing their personal finances. If kids were learning that, this website wouldn’t exist.

Let’s stop making stupid, illogical comparisons of professional athletes and teachers, and start asking the right question.

Why can’t we pay teachers well and have a world class educational system on a $1 trillion budget?

When we start asking the right questions, then we can find the right answers and drive positive change.

For a great article about how student performance hasn’t increased with more education spending, check this out.

For the rest of my research check out this sick excel spreadsheet. teachers_research


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