Back to school special:

I’d like to note that not every teacher who “moves to a school in the suburbs” does so for bad reasons. Some of them do so after being handed a $10,000 per annum pay cut and a contract with zero chance of a raise for the indefinite future or something else along those lines. In other words, while I strongly agree with Olivia Fantini, she may have some unexamined privilege of her own in blaming teachers for their own victimization.

Taxpayers, anti-tax organizations, and the elected officials bought and paid for by them are at the root of most of our problems in education. We used to fund education nearly well enough. Since the old days, it got more expensive and the basis for paying for it became, essentially, illegal in most states. THAT is where most of the blame should be placed.

Still a great video, though.

Comments

  1. #1 George Dawson
    United States
    September 18, 2016

    Agree but I would also add that teaching as described by Olivia Fantini has become an impossible job. My only experience teaching was in East Africa as a US Peace Corps volunteer and the usual college courses that I took to become a teacher. The students in that culture were all highly selected African born males where one tribe was predominate over the others. There were no disciplinary problems and the students were all highly motivated to succeed. The students all spoke better English than I did. I only had to teach O-level and A-level chemistry In short – it was a dream job for any teacher.

    I really cannot imagine being responsible for teaching multiple students who have just learned English, from multiple cultures, where disciplinary problems seem frequent, and politicians are holding me “accountable” by some meaningless test scores – while paying me a non-professional wage.

    My hats are off to these teachers and you are right – who could blame them for moving?

    BTW – I never completed my teaching certificate in the US. Some of the education professors I had were so alienating I could not take it and quit. It turns out that being able to identify with the professors was a strong motivator in my educational experience. I did not have similar problems with science professors.

  2. #2 Mark Draughn
    September 19, 2016

    I think you have an error in your second paragraph. You wrote “Taxpayers…are at the root of most of our problems in education.” Surely you meant to say “Taxpayers are the hardworking people without whom we could not fund our public education system.” If you did mean it the way you wrote it, however, then I’m pretty sure we can get the taxpayers to leave the educational system alone if we stop making them fund it.

  3. #3 dean
    September 19, 2016

    Mark, you have a comprehension problem. The amount of subsidy taxpayers provide to education is essentially at an all time low. The problem is that while people continue to complain about increasing cost in education they continue to remove what was once the primary (not sole, as it never covered everything) source of funding.

  4. #4 Young CC Prof
    September 19, 2016

    It’s not just the pay, and it’s not just the students. It’s the lack of support from above, administrative chaos and constant turnover, along with constantly changing goals and initiatives, most of the wildly unrealistic. It takes a real toll on teachers in poor districts, leaving too many of them either fleeing or discouraged.

    I teach inner-city community college, which isn’t the same thing at all but does have a number of similarities.

  5. #5 Brainstorms
    September 19, 2016

    … get the taxpayers to leave the educational system alone if we stop making them fund it.

    And do ya think they’ll be happy to continue that folly once they’re also deprived of their own economic benefits of being educated — and those that derive from having the people and companies they personally depend on having sufficient educations to serve their appetites?

    Oh wait, you must be one of the “Free Lunch” crowd with your hand out. Go get a job and pay your own way. (Yes, that includes paying your part of all the educated people you are in need of. I.e., taxes.)

  6. #6 dean
    September 19, 2016

    “Oh wait, you must be one of the “Free Lunch” crowd with your hand out.”

    I think it more likely that he is one of the people who achieved his current status by taking advantage of the existing social structures (education, police, power grid, etc.) previous generations put in place, but who now wants to prevent anyone else from having access to the same thing since he “made it on his own”.

  7. #7 Brainstorms
    September 19, 2016

    That would make him a “flaming hypocrite”, then.

  8. #8 Mark Draughn
    September 19, 2016

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t fund public education. But the attitude that the taxpayers who provide those funds are “at the root of most of our problems in education” is pretty ungrateful. Sure, meeting the demands of the people who provide the money is difficult, and sometimes their demands are stupid, but they are providing the money that makes public education possible, so I’m pretty sure they’re doing good on net. Show some respect.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    September 19, 2016

    Mark, taxpayers. Taxpayers who fight, vote, cajole, and do everything else they cad do to minimize the amount of tax that goes to education, as stated in the rest of the sentence.

    If they were providing the money that made public education good, then my comment would be unfair

    If they were passive actors and others were interfering, then my statement would be unfair.

    But for the most part, given the opportunity, taxpayers vote against education at every opportunity..

    That is a position that deserves exactly how much respect I afford.

  10. #10 zebra
    September 19, 2016

    Mark Draughn #8,

    What in the world are you talking about– “provide those funds”?

    Paying taxes is a business expense. If you don’t want to do business, there’s another guy waiting in line to take your place– and there are flights leaving every hour for any place you choose to go outside the US, and a highway will take you anywhere you want to go inside the US.

    What’s the problem? Are you suggesting that these people aren’t rational economic actors? Are they losing money in their enterprises, but continuing anyway?

    I wish some of you people could actually articulate your reasoning beyond repeating superficial rhetorical slogans, so we could have an actual debate about issues.

  11. #11 Christopher Winter
    September 22, 2016

    Both my parents were teachers, and so I heard more about how property owners objected to the portion of their taxes that went to education. That same objection persists today. Just read the 1-star reviews of Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error on Amazon.

    Living in California, I’m well aware of Proposition 13. That measure, which limits property taxes to 1 percent of assessed value, is often blamed for the decline of California schools. It’s probably an oversimplification. Yet there is no doubt that many people grouse about the taxes they pay for education while at the same time complaining that the public schools are failing.

  12. #12 Christopher Winter
    September 22, 2016

    Now consider the view from the teacher’s side. As George Dawson observes, teaching in the U.S. is often an impossible job. Edward Luce, Washington correspondent for the Financial Times, wrote the 2012 book Time To Start Thinking. On page 97, Luce tells the story of a very capable former teacher named Randy deVelbiss. “I left teaching because I couldn’t stand it any more,” [deVelbiss] said. “If I failed a child, the parents always complained. If I reprimanded a child, the school would threaten disciplinary action. I figured out there are better things I could do with my life.”

    This is another thing that has persisted through the years. You can find similar stories on education blogs today. I’ve always been impressed with the way Florida resident Piers Anthony portrayed it back in 1969, following a teacher’s strike in that state the previous year:

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Erudition/Reviews/SciFiFic/Anthony_PDJ/Teach.html