Ouch! Looking at a NYC Teaching Fellow’s check
Gross: $2142 (starting with a master’s equivalent)
- Taxes (Fed, State, City, Social Security): $675 (we all pay them…)
- TRS414 STD: $64 (that’s pension)
- TRS 55: $39 (that’s the extra deduction for 55/27)
- UFT: $47 (why do we pay flat dues and not a fixed per cent? Why should beginning teachers pay 2% when senior teachers pay 1% ?)
- UFT: $5 (that’s COPE. Good guy. But same thing. We should be soliciting larger contributions from teachers who have larger incomes, right? Maybe 50¢ times your years? But we don’t…)
- Tuition Fee: $150 (that’s to pay for a masters course. And it’s outrageous – more below)
So his net is $1160.
Look, beginning teachers make less than the rest of us. Shouldn’t their deductions be less as well? Shouldn’t they be progressive? Instead, he pays pension that senior teachers don’t, he pays a flat rate for the TRS 55/27, the same rate as all other teachers who elected to pay for 55/25. He pays the exact same dues as teachers making twice as much. A percentage would be fairer. A progressive scale would be even fairer. We ask for the same COPE contribution from all teachers, and hand out cards with preprinted amounts – expecting all teachers to give equally, even though we are not paid equally.
But the kicker is that tuition fee. NYC Teaching Fellows have to pay for a grad course – and it is deducted directly from their checks. In June they will receive Americorps checks, a few grand, that can only be used for educational purposes. Why not take the money then? Why not wait until June and have them sign over the checks? These are beginning teachers, loads of expenses, at the bottom of the salary schedule. Many of them are new to NY, coping with big rents, high costs, etc, etc.
Some of this is unavoidable. But where the option exists, why not take less from those who can least afford it? We should be judged on our ability to protect our weakest and most vulnerable members, and right now, that includes our newest teachers.