Let's disassemble this one from the open.
I was struck by the optimism and ambition of many of these young people embarking on careers in education. With their talent and accomplishments, they could select careers that are much more financially rewarding than teaching. But instead, they have chosen the classroom as a site to try to make the world better. They see education as a place to help train young minds and create engaged communities.
I've known teachers since I was a kid. My mom was a teacher. They are no smarter or better than the Average Joe. Many I knew in college went to"education school" because they couldn't handle math, the sciences, engineering or business. It was the easy degree. I've done substitute teaching and adult education in industry. Not that hard. Rewarding, to be sure. But not that hard.
One young man, a second-generation teacher, told me that he thinks he affects many more lives as a teacher than he did in his prior work as a student leader and activist. Teaching seventh- and eighth-graders on the south side of Chicago, he explained, forces him to keep learning with his students, to keep their interest and to motivate them.
Does anyone else see this as a problem, rather than something to be celebrated? I don't want a former "student leader and activist" teaching my kids. I really don't care what the political persuasion is. Leopards to not change their spots and I don't want my children indoctrinated.
During these conversations, I was aware of what is going on just across Lake Michigan in Milwaukee and in Detroit, due east. In these cities, deep cuts to state and federal funding threaten the very existence of public education. Class sizes will increase as teacher positions are cut; funding for arts and sports programs is being eliminated; entire schools are being closed. Outside the cities, in rural areas, small districts may lose schools, forcing students to spend a large part of each school day on buses instead of in classrooms.
If teachers are so smart, why do they have so much difficulty with reality. There.....is.....no.....more.....money. Teachers dealt with larger classrooms not all that long ago and provided a better education than children get now. It was an education devoid of political slant and consisted of reading, writing and arithmetic. We have thrown more and more money at "education" over the course of my 55 years for a system that is an abysmal failure and little more than a Leftist indoctrination program. Even during my time in junior high and high schools, the Leftists were moving into education. Open Classroom or "Title III" programs were ridiculous on their face, yet had to be tried to the detriment of many students including me. But 8-graders needed the opportunity to be "self-actualizing". Bite me. And of course, there is the obligatory mourning for lost funding of arts and sports. I'm a big fan of sports. I believe the competition builds character. But since we seem to be rapidly removing the idea of winning and losing from public education, the loss of funding for sports should be no big deal.
There is a belief that teachers receive inflated salaries and lush benefits at public expense and that these expenses are to blame for current economic problems. In some quarters, there exists a powerful anger at teachers, along with other public employees. But teacher salaries are low compared to those of other workers with similar education levels.
I do not blame the current economic woes on teacher slush benefits and inflated salaries. We just can't afford them. The author cannot substantiate her claim that teacher salaries are low compared to ....similar education levels. I can substantiate that they are not. Further, more degrees does not translate to more money in the private sector, but it does for teachers. Teachers continually poor-mouth about how much extra education they have to get and how much work they take home but the fact is, so does pretty much everyone else.
Using teachers as scapegoats for complex problems does not make economic sense. Nor does it balance with the exceedingly important work with which they are charged: teaching our children. While rage at teachers as public employees exists, almost everyone can think of at least one schoolteacher who changed his or her life significantly, for the better. We might do well to think carefully before we demonize the people who teach us to read. The alternative to accessible public education is quite grim.
Again with the martyrdom of teachers. "Rage". The only rage I've seen is from the teachers themselves who believe they are entitled to ride the gravy train at the expense of the taxpayer. I don't deny that teaching the children is important. I don't deny that education should be publicly funded. The problem remains that for at least the last two generations, no one has been looking out for either the children or the taxpayer. labor negotiations have been "collusion" with "collaborative negotiation" and the same interest on both sides of the table. Teachers who have been in the system for years retire and become school board members. Their friends and colleagues are negotiating on the other side of the table. Does no one see the conflict of interest here? Attend a school board meeting and voice an opinion opposite that of the teachers and see the response you get. It's like dealing with the "cool kids" in school all over again.
Last, teachers want to be treated as "professionals". As long as they are represented by a labor union, they are just that...."labor".