On one facet of education, there is unanimity. Teachers are the most important element in the classroom.
Yet in this state and most in the United States, teachers are disrespected. Their pay lags behind fellow graduates in any discipline. A lack of funding certainly contributes, but legislators rarely plan so when faced with a self-imposed crisis, they have little choice but to turn to larger budget items.
While it’s easy to blame the system, the real fault may lie with the teachers themselves. They embrace mediocrity by resisting performance evaluations and regularly protect the least effective of their peers.
Month after month they dutifully pay dues to a union that has been marginally effective at protecting jobs, but has done nothing to enhance salaries.
Teachers are not respected and perhaps with good reason.
In the U.S., mediocrity starts early, with only 23 percent of new teachers finishing in the top third of their graduating class. Yet a recent survey shows school districts in the U.S labeled 99 percent of their teachers “satisfactory.”
This statistic speaks volumes regarding the inability of building administrators to take action when teacher performance is suspect. Why not rate everyone satisfactory when evaluations have little impact on pay or tenure?
There is a way out of this hole, but teachers must quit behaving like Teamsters. Perhaps then they will be accorded the respect and pay they deserve.