Matt Damon has let off some steam in defense of teachers. The "True Grit" actor attended the Save Our Schools March on Saturday, July 30, and gave a reporter and a cameraman from Reason TV a piece of his mind in response to a question that teachers aren't driven to work as hard as actor because they don't have the same job insecurity.
With his mother standing next to him, the 40-year-old actor first asked in return, "You think job insecurity is what makes me work hard?" When the reporter replied, "Well, you have an incentive to work harder, but if there's job security...," he cut her off to say, "I want to be an actor; it's not an incentive. That's the thing. See, you take this MBA-style thinking, right?"
"It's the problem with [education] policy right now. It's this intrinsically paternalistic view of problems that are much more complex than that," he went on. "It's like saying a teacher is going to get lazy when they have tenure. A teacher wants to teach. I mean, why else would you take a sh**ty salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really love to do it?"
A cameraman later jumped into the discussion by asking, "Aren't 10 percent bad? Ten percent of teachers are bad." He added, "Ten percent of people in any profession should think of something else." Clearly irritated by the remarks, Matt shot back, "Well, OK. But maybe you're a sh**ty cameraman, I don't know."
On Tuesday, August 2, Reason Online ran an article to argue Matt's statement that teachers make a "sh**ty" salary. Citing Department of Education statistics for 2007-2008, it claimed that the average public school teacher brought in a bit over $53,000 in "total school-year and summer earned income."
The Libertarian site also noted the Census Bureau that reported median household income in 2008 was $52,000. It also took Bureau of Labor Statistics and other surveys into account, and concluded that "teachers are not paid poorly relative to the average worker or to other professionals".