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bob_'s avatar

Teachers: glorified, unfairly attacked or none of the above?

Asked by bob_ (19277 points ) March 3rd, 2011

Now that states are facing severe budgetary difficulties, public workers have come under attack, including teachers. This article describes the feelings of people on both sides of the debate. What are yours?

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14 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

I think that it is all unfortunately wrapped up in a union backlash – unions need to learn to reform, but teachers have been caught in the middle.

gailcalled's avatar

Neither extreme reflects reality; extremes rarely do.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Teachers are undervalued, overworked, underpaid and, from the situation in Wisconsin, it seems, viewed with contempt by people who neither know nor understand what they do.

Teachers are an easy target for politicians – they all talk about “raising standards”, as though it would make sense to “lower” them. Making a teacher’s job temporary, or at least limiting their terms and reducing their benefits will likely not have the intended effect – if you want to light a fire under a teacher’s ass, you have to do it to individual teachers. Reducing – indeed eliminating – their collective bargaining rights will just stop people from becoming teachers, and does not guarantee that the quality of education will rise. If you want all your state’s kids to go homeshooled and learn the counterexamples to evolution, go right ahead. Don’t whinge when your kids’ “knowledge” is so far removed from reality that they can’t get jobs though.

“Gov. Chris Christie‚Äôs dressing down of New Jersey teachers in town-hall-style meetings, accusing them of greed, has touched a populist vein and made him a national star.”

I am a qualified teacher – albeit in the UK – I can not remember ever meeting one teacher whose motivation for entering the profession was financial. To accuse teachers of ‘greed’ is practically incomprehensible. Christie is an arsehole.

I just don’t see how limiting anyone’s rights will lead to a fairer society or, indeed, better educated kids. This is not a pedagogical dispute; it is ideological.

tedd's avatar

Frankly, since teachers have the future of our children, country, civilization, and even our very species in their hands….... I don’t see why they shouldn’t be some of the highest paid workers out there, on par with doctors.

12Oaks's avatar

Another good reason why the educational system should be ran by the private sector and not Government. Another good reason why my kid will NEVER become another statistic of the public education machine. Man, I hate even having to pay for that stuff through my already way too high taxes.

tinyfaery's avatar

Teachers are people. Some are great at their jobs, others…uh…not so much. My wife has a decent benefits package (which has been scaled back) and a fair pay scale (minus the furlough days they agreed to). If the union didn’t exist, who knows if she’d be so lucky.

perspicacious's avatar

I think teaching K-12 is one of the most important and society-affecting jobs that exist. I could never spend my days with other people’s kids. I have the utmost respect for teachers. I think they should be paid fair wages. I think if all public workers are facing a reduction in pay, teachers should also suffer the same reduction.

marinelife's avatar

Neither.

SuperMouse's avatar

I believe that public school teachers are undervalued, under-respected and under paid. All thewhile being entrusted with our children.In spite of this most teachers are dedicated to their jobs and their students and work hard to provide the best education possible for all students. What the governor of Wisconsin is trying to do by taking away their right to collective bargaining is shameful.

bob_'s avatar

@marinelife Are they fairly attacked?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@the100thmonkey you got that fuckin right about Christie. He blows. In NJ if you were in the top 15% graduating from your high school class you would get the first two years of county college for free, if you maintained a 3.5 average or higher while there you not only stayed in the program but then got 2 years of state college free as long as you stayed above 3.5 gpa. Christie fucked that program over, my sister now pays for school. Asshole.

I never could understand the cutting of money towards educational related things. I mean yea I get it, money is tight everywhere right now. But education is something you should never IMO cut from.

filmfann's avatar

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with a group of teenagers knows teachers are paid blood money.

ETpro's avatar

How about all of the above. Teaching in America’s public schools today is hard. For a college grad, it’s a low paying job. It can also be a heartbreaking job at times. I listened to a retired teacher telling her experiences last night. She asked how many of us in good-paying private-sector jobs would know how to comfort a class of 3rd graders when one of their classmates had been killed the day before. How many would know how to confront a troubled 14 year old when a fellow student informs you he has a big knife stuffed in his boot? After asking him to surrender it, how many could deal with him when he breaks down crying? How many of us could get a class full of boisterous young kids settled down from a disruptive class clown’s antics, and turn them back to learning? What they do is not easy, and what they do is vitally important to the future of this country.

But teacher’s unions have often made it impossible to weed out teachers who aren’t doing a decent job, and that sort of action brings them under justifiable criticism. Still, what’s going on now is an all-out assualt on not just teachers, but on Unions as an institution, on collective bargaining rights, and ultimately on the middle class in general. This is class warfare, and the middle class and poor did not fire the first shot. It is disgusting to me to hear all teachers vilified as thugs. That is as big a bald faced lie as any politician has reached for in recent years, and it’s being told to trample middle class wages and rights in a truly thuggish way.

marinelife's avatar

@bob_ They have things they can be attacked for, but for the most part they do a tremendously important job in our culture for little thanks and less pay under a f’ing avalanche of bureaucratic bs and paperwork..

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