Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My Preemptive Resignation

Today's WaPost reports:
According to a new study from the National Education Association, a teachers union, half of new U.S. teachers are likely to quit within the first five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries.
I quit even sooner -- before I ever started. One of my grandmothers had been a teacher before she married. In high school, I decided I too wanted to be a teacher. As I learned more of what went on behind the scenes, I decided I wanted to avoid all that nonsense and teach in college instead.

Once there, I found the garbage behind the curtain was still repugnant. I finally chose to drop the whole idea. It was society's loss, as I think I would have made a very good teacher as far as the actual teaching went. It was just all the other crap that repulsed me -- not the money.

Today conditions are even worse. One young relative in high school here in Dallas spends most of her class time being grilled to pass state tests or college tests. Learning how to learn something for themselves? Not in there. One relative who is a teacher is constantly stressed and frustrated by the non-classroom aspects of her job.

Of course, all these things are worsened here, because in Texas the government at all levels would rather, as Dallas' own Richard Condon wrote, eat their own children than give up any money. They oppose spending for anything, even their own benefit. So students don't even have enough textbooks, and teachers make copies of individual assignments for them. Never mind the inadequate pay the legislature is playing games with now; the other idiocies of those politicians make the job almost impossible.

John W. Gardner wrote "The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."

Here the powers that be insist on shoddiness in public education, not out of inability to afford better, but out of narrow-minded short-sightedness. Everyone is reaping the bitter results of their suicidal political "ethics", and this will only become worse with each passing decade. No wonder the public here is gullible enough to elect people like Bush: they haven't ever been taught to think for themselves.

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