We agree with a recent statement by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback: “I think we need more facts in the education debate.”
Unfortunately, Brownback kept going at a news conference last Friday.
“This is your average teacher salary between the two states and I think it’s worthy of presentation so people can get a factual setting of what’s taking place,” he said, standing by a chart that claimed Kansas’ teachers earn $7,060 a year more than Missouri’s.
However, the chart was wrong in two key ways.
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It compared Kansas figures for the 2014-15 year with Missouri data for the 2013-14 year. The chart thus missed the last raise given teachers in the Show-Me State.
Worse, the chart included salary, supplemental pay and substantial fringe benefits for Kansas’ teachers but not the fringe benefits for Missouri’s. Brownback made the same error in an op-ed piece he submitted earlier to some of the state’s newspapers.
From officials in both states, The Star compiled information that shows Kansas’ teachers did earn a bit more in salary and supplemental pay for the 2014-15 year — $49,738 vs. $48,483. But that’s a difference of only $1,255, far off Brownback’s original contention.
Also, the Kansas advantage has narrowed greatly since he took office, down from $2,384 in the 2010-11 school year.
That’s one more fact to keep in mind as the education debate rolls on.