Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Is Gingrich right about teacher and janitor salaries?

Newt Gingrich said that in New York, entry-level janitors earn twice the salary of entry-level teachers.
Newt Gingrich said that in New York, entry-level janitors earn twice the salary of entry-level teachers.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been talking a lot about school janitors lately as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination. Among other things, he has suggested giving their jobs to students and said it would save a lot of money because they are so highly paid.

In the Dec. 10, 2011, Republican debate in Iowa, Gingrich said, "If you take one half of the New York janitors who unionized and paid more than the teachers -- an entry level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry level teacher. You take half those janitors you could give -- you give lots of poor kids a work experience in the cafeteria, in the school library, in the front office and a lot of different things."

The problem is, he was comparing the salary of highly skilled, supervisory custodial engineers -- not entry level cleaners -- to starting salaries for teachers. When you compare apples to apples -- an entry-level unionized "cleaner" to an entry-level unionized teacher -- the teacher earns 1.4 to 1.6 times more. We rated his statement False.