‘Key & Peele’ Shows Us a World Where Teachers Get Paid Like Pro Athletes
Move over, pro athletes—a new crop of highly skilled individuals is about to dominate the airwaves and make some serious cash: teachers. They’re finally achieving serious baller status for their ability to teach kids math and reading.
At least, that’s the alternate reality we see on Key & Peele’s “Teacher Center,” a brilliant spoof of ESPN’s SportsCenter program. In the nearly four-minute video above, comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele discuss the multimillion-dollar contracts and lucrative endorsement deals of some of the nation’s star educators.
Much of the clip satirizes the disparities between what professional athletes get paid and the earnings of teachers. The average salary for a K–12 educator in the 2013–2014 school year was $56,689—tens of millions of dollars less than what sports stars take home. About half of new teachers quit within the first five years of teaching, and according to the National Education Association, 37 percent of educators blame low pay for their decision to ditch the profession.
But Key and Peele treat us to a world where star English teacher Ruby Ruhf holds a media-filled press conference to announce that she has decided to take her considerable talents from a school in Ohio to New York City. It seems Public School 341 made Ruhf an offer she couldn’t refuse: $80 million over six years and $40 million in bonuses if her students do well on standardized tests. Baller status, indeed.
We’re also shown dramatic shots of a teacher draft held at Radio City Music Hall, and the duo offers clever SportsCenter-style analysis of an educator’s skill in engaging students and how she calls on them in class. And what if a teacher strike cancels the entire season, ahem, school year? No worries—the teachers will be just fine. After all, they’re swimming in dough earned from endorsement deals.
You’ll either laugh or cry—the teachers out there are probably crying—when you see Ruby Ruhf eating an apple while cruising in a fake advertisement for the approximately $80,000 BMW 2015 6 Series. The ad’s tagline: “Meet the new teacher’s pet.”