Monday, March 7, 2011

Teachers: Clearly The Number One Threat To America

All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth. ~Aristotle

It'll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers. ~Anonymous

So with all this stuff going down in Wisconsin, and with budget cuts in educations, and ironically named proposals that instead of building "stronger schools and stronger communities" make their decisions based on economics--not based on what's right for the kids, it really makes me wonder what politicians (mainly republicans) are thinking. Because it doesn't actually seem to me like they are.

Moreover, Americans are silly. When polled, they may think that the budget should be the highest priority, but then don't want anything to be cut. Clearly, some sacrifices need to be made. But not in education. Like I've mentioned before, I believe that education is the key to our future. In the long run, it's what's going to get us out of the messes we're in--if we can lower the achievement gap, hopefully that will also help lower the poverty and inequalities we see in America, or send less people to prison (which is a huge expenditure compared to what we spend on our children.) And all of this should hopefully lead to a stronger public who will depend less on welfare and maybe more likely to stimulate the economy.

What's funny is that I often joke that "I clearly don't want to go into education for the money." So it baffles me when anyone claims that teachers get too many benefits/too much money for the job they do--and summer vacation! Aren't teachers notorious for not getting paid enough? We only entrust our children to them every day. Clearly our kids aren't worth the money to take care of our teachers.

"One thing we could do, is not extend the bush tax cuts to the top 2% of the country. That would earn us 700 billion dollars over the next 10 years. Oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes." No, we can't do that. That makes too much sense. We need to get the money from teachers.

Fox news on bankers: Banks create jobs, why do we feel comfortable bashing job creators? "See bankers, unlike teachers, provide a valuable service. And they don't work till 3. Their bell doesn't ring till 4."

I love John Stewart. He's hilarious, and makes some damn good points.

I guess my questions is, do any of these people have kids? Do they value their children's educations AT ALL? Have they ever met a teacher? Shoot, do they even remember going to school--did they? Even if your child goes to some fancy private school, there are still going to be teachers who are dedicated to their jobs. And when you think back to elementary, junior high or high school, isn't there at least one teacher you felt like made a difference? Sure, I've had bad teachers. But more often than not, they've been good.

I personally believe that the English teacher I had in 7th and 9th grade is the sole reason I have decent writing skills whatsoever. My junior high French teacher is probably the reason I tested out of 3 terms of French when entering college. (Yeah, that's right, junior high. I did take French in high school too). And my APUSH teacher junior year of high school was the best teacher I've ever had, and has helped inspire me to want to be a teacher, in addition to being someone I still try to visit whenever I go back to my hometown. (And taking educational psychology--with a specific professor--is what really solidified that thought of becoming a teacher, and turned my beginning-of-senior-year-of-I-still-don't-know-what-I'm-going-to-do-with-my-life-panic into a solid idea of where my passion might be.)

"Around the country, many teachers see demands to cut their income, benefits and say in how schools are run through collective bargaining as attacks not just on their livelihoods, but on their value to society." (NY Times)

And working in an elementary school--not anyone can be a teacher. Believe me. It's not just understanding the material, it's getting a bunch of unruly children to actually sit down and listen for long enough to try to explain it. The teachers I work with are amazing--and put in so many extra hours on lesson planning, grading, and trying to figure out the best way to handle each individual child. No one goes into teaching for the money--they go into teaching because they care about your kids and the value of education. Some bad teachers may not have started out that way--they may have burnt out but kept working because hey, jobs are valuable, and everyone needs a paycheck. They may become disillusioned because the government keeps cutting education budgets, because, hard as they tried, they don't have to means to give each kid the attention they deserve. It's not their fault--it's society's, for slowly abandoning them and undervaluing them, and then blaming them for America's problems. I read an article somewhere that mentioned that America's economy, the last time it was stable/strong was also when the unions were strongest. They aren't perfect, but they aren't the root problem. Yes, teachers need to be held accountable if they are going to abuse their power. But so does everybody else.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this today, and thought it was related. How can we accurately evaluate teachers? Clearly not by New York's way.