O’Rourke was apparently speaking to a teacher when he made this aside. His spokesman says that O’Rourke was referring to a study released by the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA). In August, the union said a survey of its members found that 39 percent of teachers expect to take extra jobs outside the classroom to meet family expenses.
But this appears to be a self-selected survey, not a random sample. “This was an online survey of Texas State Teachers Association teacher members. We have about 50,000 teacher members, and we encouraged them by email to participate in the survey,” said Clay Robison, a TSTA spokesman. Some 974 teachers participated.
In other words, these results cannot be applied to all Texas teachers; they only reflect the answers of the people who decided to answer the survey.
By contrast, the U.S. Education Department conducts a nationally representative sample survey of public K-12 schools, principals and teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The most recent survey shows that 17 percent of teachers in the South — and 18 percent across the country — supplemented their income with a job outside the school system.
That’s higher than the overall population — but much lower than “half” as stated by O’Rourke. He earns points for at least having a specific example, but it’s based on fishy data.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, he forgot ( or was never aware of ) the fact the teachers have the summers off while the schools are closed. It is during this time that many of those mentioned 2nd jobs occur.