Friday, February 10, 2017

Comparisons

Before anyone goes apoplectic and think that I'm disparaging teachers by posting this...I'm not.  My wife is a retired Sp. Ed. teacher.  My daughter teaches 1st grade.  I know how hard teachers work.  I know that that they bust their ass on a routine basis.  In fact, when I retired from the Navy I thought briefly about teaching but realized that I didn't want to work that hard.

But, comparisons are interesting.  You could see how someone could look at this and wonder what the big deal is about teachers salaries.  That would be before you realize how hard they work and how much extra time they put in.  Now...the time off is pretty sweet.  But the work is really, really tough.


But it got me thinking about the kerfuffle about Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education.  The big hullabaloo seems to be that she isn't experienced enough and that she is an advocate for Charter schools.  People went and are still going bonkers.  This for the smallest cabinet secretary job who really doesn't have much to do.  Ms. Devos has been an advocate for charter schools for decades so she probably knows a smidgen about education, even though she didn't attend public school.  Sorta like in my lifetime I never saw a Defense Secretary (until now) who had any military experience to speak of.  Or take Secretary of State.  Hillary Clinton?  John Kerry?  The last career diplomat to hold the job was Madeline Albright and that was 20 years ago.  So don't give me the experience excuse. 

I saw a pretty good article in today's WSJ that gives a good explanation about the state of our education system (at least to me).  You can read it here.  Bottom line...teacher's unions are petrified of losing clout and money.  They are eroding.  And they see many, many better alternatives educating kids more efficiently.  But change is hard.  And power is difficult to cede.  Most thinking people outside the education establishment can see the writing on the wall.  Another thing that turns people off to the plight of the teachers is tenure.  Name me one other profession where employment is guaranteed for life after a few years.  It's just not fair.  So the teacher's unions are facing an ebb tide.  They are doing all they can to resist, but like the kid playing in the sand as the tide comes in, sooner or later that barrier is going to crumble.

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