September 28, 2012
Posted by John Spencer
This is the same approach I heard from NPR and read in The New York Times during the Chicago teacher strike. It's the idea that teachers are lazy for opposing evaluations based upon test scores or asking for adequate benefits. Teachers were accused of being "old union" and not caring about their students.
I contrast this to the public perception of referees in the NFL. Here, we saw people rooting for "part-time employees" who make more than teachers despite having less formal education. Here, the years and expertise of veteran referees were lauded rather. No one claimed that the refs were simply jaded veterans scheming for more money. And when the refs fought against some of their data-based evaluations, people were quick to point out that football can be subjective.
I admit it. There are some bad teachers out there. They need to be fired. Period. But there are often things that people are missing. Charter schools are not more effective than public schools. The nations that are beating us in education all treat teachers as professionals and support teacher's unions. Finland didn't get to the top by berating teachers and turning their schools into charters.
If we want to improve the quality of education in low-income schools, a first step might just be starting with a healthy respect for the teachers in those schools working against some tough odds out of a deep sense of passion, compassion and meaning.