Homework pays

To the editor:

I read Kelly Kelin’s letter with great interest. As a teacher at Free State High School, I hear similar concerns from students quite often – that the workload imposed by teachers is impinging on their jobs and leisure time. Kelly’s math skills joke flew right over my feeble mathematical mind until she pointed it out to me. Yet, I do have some practical advice from a mathematical perspective.

Kelly, like many high school students, “must” work because she “needs” money. Fair enough, let’s talk money. A high school graduate earns roughly $10,000 more annually than a dropout. Doing four hours of homework per night for three years is about 2,160 hours. Earning $10,000 more per year for 40 years gives you $400,000 more in lifetime earnings. Thus, you are earning $185 per hour for that homework (which is, incidentally, about six times the rate I am paid to grade it).

Want a college degree? Take a rigorous, college-prep curriculum (as I know you are). Then, you’ll earn about $25,000 more annually than those without a degree. Forty years later, you’ve earned $1 million in additional salary. And, that college-prep high school curriculum helped prepare you to succeed in college. A million dollars for 2,160 hours of homework means you are earning $463 per hour for that homework. That could buy you a lot of leisure time. What are you earning at your job right now?

David Reber,