Month: March 2014

You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.

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Commentary from the article by Valerie Strauss

People who make legislation often are guided to do so because of fundamentals in belief and attitude rather than analysis from within the position of knowledge.
One of the problems that political leaders deal with when considering educational policy is the belief system of the party in power. There is a fundamental difference in understanding the true value of education.

The article that is written is from the view of a woman who joined the ranks of teaching, left and became an attorney. She takes on the systemic mindset of knowledge for a position rather than assume the knowledge of an environment. When a politician makes policy, they most often rely on special interest groups, lobbyists and donors to guide their decisions. Within the field of education, the system is extremely different. There is no current system to measure success and therefore, the special interest groups and lobbyists have nothing to sell other than fear.

The article is spot on, and I am not commenting on the validity of the article. Rather I am commenting on why the situation is dire enough that the conversation is occurring at all.
During the political transformation in which we see such a difference of perspective between Republicans and Democrats, the system of education began to come under attack. The value of a teacher, the teaching landscape and the success of a person was not able to be measured through statistical data.

Historically, education was a rich person’s gift, whereas working (blue collar) for a living was given to those with fewer means. As society moved toward a cognitive society (education necessary) there has been a shift in responsibility. With this responsibility and the cost of education being what it is, the people in power desire results. To each of these people, the belief is that the responsibility to educate is specific to the school and the teacher. The theoretical problem with this belief system is that each person spends 1350 Hours in school per year and 7410 Hours outside of the classroom. The real education for a person is only partially able to be assisted in the classroom. When a person passes their formative years (elementary education) then the average teacher has a total of 5 hours per week for each student. Adding in all the students each teacher has there is less than 30 minutes per student for the teacher to reach per week. To say that any person truly knows what a teacher does to reach each student is beyond the scope of intelligence for anyone not a teacher, yet politicians in their wisdom are most often guided by the party. The party is guided by the money that they receive and the money being received is to develop a for-profit education system.

The blame the teachers system that is currently moving through society is an excuse to develop a for-profit model, which is a political favorite.
As the system blames the teacher, the more the society wants a different option. Teachers are considered to be a necessary aspect of the American population, yet it is not a profession deserving of respect. The author (Valerie Strauss) left teaching for a more desired profession. If the American society was to be honest with itself, it has no idea what teachers do or how they do it, rather they want teachers to be society’s saviors.

If you want to know what a teacher does, then allow teachers to do what they do, go back to school and become a teacher yourself. Take the time to learn the art of teaching, join the profession and begin to write your own viewpoints. I believe that you will find everything you knew before entering the profession will quickly fall away when your everyday will begin at 5am and end around midnight (If you do it right).
If you want to make policy that affects teachers, then work toward becoming a politician, work with teachers (not administrators) and develop policy that benefits education not pad the pockets of the wealthy.

The more education remains intertwined with politics the more articles like this will be necessary. A system will remain balanced until an operation arrives that is capable of altering it. The Charter school system is a problem for the system of education in that it does not bring balance. There is already an environment for private school and public school. Parents already have choice. So why develop the argument against teachers. Why are teachers the worst thing for your child? There is a very simple answer.

The people making policy are not educators and have no idea what it takes to be part of the classroom.
Thank you for listening and consider calling your Legislators, Senators and President and have them remove education from politics.