Hard to Find: 'Teachers On Food Stamps'

A first-year teacher would need three or more dependents to qualify

A persistent theme in the narratives promoted by teacher unions is that their members are so grossly underpaid that many qualify for food stamps.

Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook made this claim recently in a weekly “Labor Voices” feature The Detroit News has published on its op-ed page for the past decade.

“In almost every Michigan school district, you will find employees — especially support staff and newer, younger teachers — who qualify for Bridge Cards (the modern version of food stamps). Without that assistance, they would not be able to feed their families,” Cook wrote.

ForTheRecord says: It is extremely rare to find a starting teacher in Michigan who is not getting a salary of at least $31,000 plus benefits. At that level, a first-year teacher would have to be the sole breadwinner in a household with three dependents to qualify for food stamps, according to the federal guidelines.

A National Education Association survey showed the average starting salary for a Michigan teacher was $35,901 in 2012-13, the last year it was taken. At that level, a teacher would have to be the only income source in a household with four other dependents to get food stamps.

In East Lansing, where the MEA headquarters are located, a starting teacher gets between $38,826 and $42,844, depending on academic credentials.

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