Response to recent conversation

Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog had a range of reactions to how teachers are praised during elections as selfless public servants, but then find themselves recast as selfish and resistant to reform once candidates are elected. Here is a sampling of reader comments under each poster’s chosen screen name:

Sheligh: How anyone can be a teacher these days is beyond me.

Mary: Most people, including politicians, simply do not have the historical vision necessary to understand the root causes of educational failure. Vision is lacking in our nation, sadly.

BC: Somebody other than the politicians and civic leaders will have to take the blame for the shape of society. So that narrows it down considerably, doesn’t it?

Looking: It’s simple. When students do not achieve the way we expect, we think it must be the teacher — not the parents, not society, not educrats. Here’s an idea: Maybe it’s the students whose parents think they are brilliant so they don’t have to work, and fight for the 9th place ribbons so their child won’t feel like a loser.

Star: That $52,000 average salary Georgia teachers earn, plus a summer job and excellent benefits, isn’t bad for teachers who graduated in the bottom third from weak teacher education programs in the lower third of colleges. It’s not enough for a teacher who graduated in the top half with a real major from a respectable school. Let us adjust the pay on the basis of real world employability and ability, for a start.

Mensa: I have a friend who graduated with honors from Harvard. She is a teacher. Does she deserve to be vilified by people who want instant fixes to an institution that has been broken for years? How about the second-career folks who had successful jobs and careers but who want to give back? Do they all stink, too?

DC: One other obvious point — well, obvious to anyone who isn’t a blindly partisan member of the eduacracy. Education is for the students. That is the sole purpose of our education system. Teachers are an incredibly valuable part of delivering this value, but they are not the purpose of the system. It’s obvious that teachers unions and their bosses are completely confused about this point — but voters and taxpayers are not.

Class: The problem with schools is the same as with society in general: A near total lack of acceptance of personal responsibility. Students (and their parents) will not take responsibility for their influence in education. If a student doesn’t show up for class, it is the teacher’s fault for not making the class interesting enough.

Mike: I quit teaching 10 years ago and didn’t look back. It wasn’t the low pay or the long hours. It wasn’t classes with 27 kids or no bathroom breaks. It was the lack of respect from the administration and politicians. I don’t believe either party. They don’t want to “fix” schools; that would cost too much money. They want to blame teachers for everything that’s wrong. That doesn’t cost money, and it wins them votes.

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