Response to recent conversation

Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog had a range of reactions to a recent AJC report that fewer Georgians are going into education. While metro districts have yet to see shortages of applicants, rural districts are struggling to find foreign language, special education and math and science teachers. Here is a sampling of comments:

Looking: Gwinnett may not have any difficulty recruiting teachers; they are having an increasingly difficult time keeping them. Teachers in Gwinnett are close to working 24/7 during the school year as administrators demand more.

Duke: Teaching is a spiritual calling. Typically, teachers have lived on very humble salaries, but have enjoyed great respect from the community. The reason teachers are losing that respect is because they have lost that sense of calling. It follows inevitably from the empty content of the progressive education curriculum.

Jerry: As the job gets less and less attractive, hurdles are being raised to get into the profession, (with) new and harder tests and assessments, exorbitant (i.e., profitable) fees from testing companies for those assessments, and endlessly tedious assessments on the job. While I applaud efforts to "raise standards," and the on-the-job training evaluations appear to be an honest effort to improve what has been abjectly useless, almost all the efforts have been aimed toward cutting off the bottom rather than encouraging potentially stronger candidates to enter the field.

Jack: It matters little if you raise teachers' pay; they can't teach students who don't want to learn or don't have the ability to learn. Those children who can't or won't learn are generally begot in the squalor of fatherless homes who in turn beget more of the same. More money won't help until some curb is in place to stop supporting the unfortunate results of sexual promiscuity.

TeacherMom: My own children have already determined from watching me work and hearing the stories of "what happened at school today" that they have no interest in becoming teachers. I am not inclined to try to change their minds. I don't hate my job, and I'm actually pretty good at it, but I don't see a positive future in it at the moment.

BG: I don't tend to complain too much about my income. It's adequate. As someone with a science degree, however, I could go elsewhere in the private market and make a lot more, with a lot less stress and a lot less "homework." I could also have more opportunities for advancement, opening up higher avenues of income. Right now, I have no avenue of advancement outside of administration, which doesn't interest me because it's not teaching. It's this type of career stagnation that turns people off to education as a career.

Lost: The government needs to raise salaries of teachers way up — at least 30 to 40 percent. Just jack up sales taxes and property taxes and cut some of the fat, waste and fraud from this obscene state budget filled with pork.

Shear: Teaching public school is a tough job that doesn't pay very well. It's not a big shocker that the numbers of new entrants are declining.