Teachers across the country face pay freezes and possible layoffs, but the heads of the two biggest teachers unions saw their pay jump 20 percent last year, to nearly half a million dollars apiece.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten's pay jumped to $407,323 between 2010 and 2011, while her counterpart at the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel, got a raise to $362,644. Factor in stipends and other paid expenses and Weingarten took in $493,859 and Van Roekel $460,060 for 2011.
The big salaries drew jeers from many educators and their advocates in the U.S., where the average nationwide salary for teachers is a scant $44,000 a year. By contrast, nearly 600 staffers at the NEA and AFT are raking in six-figure salaries, according to Association of American Educators Executive Director Gary Beckner.
“In terms of salaries, union executives rake in nearly 10 times the average household income and far more than any teacher," Beckner told FoxNews.com. “Are teachers or anyone in the private sector experiencing those increases in times of financial hardship?"