My title:

Final Score: Teachers 5 Broncos 1

What they printed:

Teachers Are Victors?

Final Score: Teachers 5 Broncos 1

I took a rest from the acoustic jam last Wednesday and found my friend Seymour Sharpe talking with Tanya Hide about football. Several others were spewing statistics and opinions when the Siamese twins Maude Lynn and Misty Ida Motion walked over and changed the entire tenor of the conversation. "I can't believe those guys in the Super Bowl make more money in one game than a teacher makes in an entire year," said Maude. Misty added, "It seems we should spend more money on education for our children than for a silly game like football."

After everyone calmed down, Seymour Sharpe responded. "Actually, I suspect we spend more on education than football. Let's say each teacher gets $25,000 a year. I believe the average is a bit higher. Now in elementary school, there's at least a couple teachers per grade. So assume there's 14 teachers at each elementary school. Let's just say there's 6 per grade in the upper schools so that would make 18 teachers in each junior and senior high."

"That seems awful low," said Tanya.

"It will be more instructive this way," replied Seymour. "So how many schools are there in Larimer county?" After a lot of arguing, someone got a phone book from the bartender. Thirty elementary schools, 8 junior highs, and 4 high schools were listed.

"Wellington Junior High ain't gonna have 18 teachers."

"That's all right," said Seymour. "I'll compensate by not counting Loveland, Berthoud, or Estes Park.

Maude and Misty had pulled a calculator from her purse. "That's 636 teachers. Almost sixteen million dollars. Wow."

"Let's round it down to fifteen million, and remember, that doesn't include administrators, rent and building costs or anything. Assuming Larimer County is average, it has about 250 thousand folks. The US has 250 million, so we spend about fifteen billion dollars on teacher salaries nationwide."

"The salary cap on NFL teams is 42 million," said Tanya.

"Yeah, but they defer salaries and pay coaches and own MRIs and have doctors on staff," I added.

"OK, OK," said Seymour. "If we say 100 million per team, that's still only three billion dollars on football, one-fifth what we spend on teachers. And the estimates are high for football and low for teachers."

"So how come the salaries seem so skewed?" asked Maude.

"Focus," said Seymour. "Nationally, education money goes to at least 636,000 teachers and there's only about 1600 football players. And the focus of the world is on football. Eight hundred million people watch the Super Bowl. I suspect less than fifty thousand pay attention to Poudre R-1."

"It's still not fair that football players make so much," said Misty.

"Depends on your point of view," said Seymour. "Would it be fair for football players to only make $25,000 while the owners and advertisers rake in billions?"

"I guess not," offered Maude, "but it still doesn't seem right."

"Maybe not," said Seymour, "but you're free to not watch football and advertisements, to donate money and time to schools. The free market is basically voting with your dollars."

I asked Seymour, "So does that mean we should vote for a new stadium for the Broncos?"

He shrugged. "That's different math. Just two million folks in the Denver region and really only one guy that'll be making all the money. But Fort Collins' folks don't get to vote except with the extra taxes we'll pay for Pat Bowlen Stadium every time we go to Denver. More voting with dollars."

"Well I vote for another pitcher of Easy Street Wheat," said Tanya. She walked off followed by the others.