Lynching teachers…

…or so you’d think from the whining.

You’ve really got to hand it to teachers.  They’ve managed to sell society a real bill of goods over the last 40 years or so.  Now don’t get me wrong, there was a time when teaching was a very honorable profession.  Profession.  Teachers actually cared about having children learn and develop a thirst for life-long learning.  That time died a violent death with the advent of the NEA and AFT and so-called “schools of education” that handed out undergraduate and graduate degrees in, of all things, “education” and they transformed teachers into “educators”.

In 1966 the average SAT scores were: 543 in reading and 516 in math.  Those scores dropped consistently until in 1993 they were 500 (up from 499) in reading and 503 in math.  The scores started trending up in 1994 not because of anything happening in the classroom, but rather because of court action that required some minority students receive an additional 200 points on their scores along with a fairly significant (IMO) dumbing down of the tests.  Even with help from the courts and the politically correct test writers, scores in 2008 had only rebounded to 501 & 515.  Bottom line, since 1966 the only positive improvement in student performance has been courtesy of the courts awarding extra points and dumbing down test questions.  Even with that help “educators” haven’t gotten us back to the level of 1966.

The one area where “educators” have succeeded – probably beyond their wildest dreams – is in funding “education”.  In 2005 K-12 funding in the US was #1 in the world (OK, tied for #1 with Sweden) at $11,000 per pupil.  And, we hear that we are stingy and not supporting “education”.  Oh, and over half the people employed in “education” never set foot in a classroom and don’t teach anybody anything.  Take for instance the US Department of Education.  Please.

In Wednesday’s New York Times, aka “Mouthpiece for the NEA”, there was the standard scare story you’d expect.  Some fun clips…

Around the country, many teachers see demands to cut their income, benefits and say in how schools are run through collective bargaining as attacks not just on their livelihoods, but on their value to society.

Well gosh folks, maybe it’s just time to pay the piper.  You can fool some of the people all of the time (they’re called Progressives), but you can’t fool ALL of the people (they’re called taxpayers) all of the time.  And, payback is almost always a bitch.

In fact, the perceived value to society of teachers specifically and “public employees” in general is – or at least should be – at an all time low.  The reason is simple.  They’ve earned the drop in their perceived value.  Kids drop out at alarming rates, they graduate from high school and are functionally illiterate (meaning they can’t read the directions on a soup can) and they can’t do simple arithmetic.  It’s about time somebody – and a whole bunch of somebodies – started questioning their value.

You’re just gonna love this one…

“It’s hard to feel good about yourself when your governor and other people are telling you you’re doing a lousy job,” said Steve Derion, 32, who teaches American history in Manahawkin, N.J. “I’m sure there were worse times to be a teacher in our history — I know they had very little rights — but it feels like we’re going back toward that direction.”

Ohhhhhh.  Gee.  Well Steve, your profession has been doing a lousy job.  And you think you’re entitled to be exempt from a performance review while you quite literally suck the life out of the productive sector of society and prepare the kids you’re supposed to be teaching for a career path that will likely culminate when they learn the phase “Would you like fries with that?”  Honestly Steve, it’s about time people got fed up feeding you for not just doing nothing, but doing something that is non-productive and in the process turns your charges into non-productive lumps as well.  And just a couple of paragraphs below your little whine, the Times notes that according to a poll by the MetLife Foundation 59% of your compatriots in failure were “very satisfied” and that’s up from 40% in 1984.

Chester Finn Jr. of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute wrapped things up a whole lot better than I could.

“They are reaping a bitter harvest that they didn’t individually plant but their profession has planted over 50 years, going from a respected profession to a mass work force in which everyone is treated as if they are interchangeable, as in the steel mills of yesteryear,” Mr. Finn said.

The times, they are a changin’, hearkening back to a time when SAT scores were higher and teachers actually taught, and hopefully they are changin’ for the better.  The hard part of that concept is that they probably can’t get a whole lot worse.  The fact that “education” has become one of the biggest money pits in public spending is about to cause an upheaval in the way business is done.  Florida is probably the best place to look right now, if Governor Scott gets his way, because they are looking at fully privatizing the school business in the state.  Good luck Governor, if you’re successful you’ll set the standard for the fifty states and you’ll be serving your constituents and, most importantly, their children in the best possible way.

So, in conclusion, “lynch teachers”?  No, but it’s certainly time for some huge and structural changes in the school business.  What we’ve been enticed to do by the “smart people” has failed a couple of generations of American kids.

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