Friday, August 31, 2012

WORD: We Just Don’t Get it -- Education Is All About the Teachers

When I got out of the Navy In 1989, I looked into teaching, as I had been a teacher through several stints in the Navy and was very good at it, and owed everything to a handful of teachers I'd run into along the way in k-12.

I quickly figured out that no matter how much you liked teaching, teaching in public schools was absurdly masochistic and unrewarding, kind of like the worst parts of the military ("it doesn't make sense, it's just our policy") only with the best parts removed, and at ridiculously low pay and zero prestige, and with the only opportunity for advancement being to leave the classroom.

The bottom line is that teaching, nursing, and social work were and essentially remain women's professions, which means that we used to cream the best of them because there were such limits on opportunities in other fields, even as we paid jack (note which three major professions require unpaid internships -- while paying tuition-- as a matter of course). As other fields opened up to women, the cream left in droves, and the salary scales have never adjusted, because we just fill from the bottom of the barrel.

Given the lack of respect that teachers get and the abysmal job of "parenting" so many folks do (while holding insane expectations for what the teachers are supposed to do, despite total nonsupport from those same folks), the question I have isn't how to get more good teachers, it's whether the demolition of the public schools isn't intentional on the part of the GOPsters, just another public good to be destroyed in order to create another profit center for business.