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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

In Defense of Teachers

Recent attacks on our public schools by politicians have got me somewhat irritated. President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” changed the emphasis to flunking the schools instead of the poor students. When a school in a large city’s slum areas shows substandard results in achievement tests, it is the hard pressed teachers and the school that get a failing grade. Parents in many cases will send their kids to charter schools, parochial schools, or home school them, anything but the public schools! When the federal government usurps the state’s time-honored administration of the schools, nothing good results. The economic and social situations affect a child’s performances, the teachers are blamed. Politicians think they know far more than professors in our university schools of education, and are super-quick to blame the schools for poor test scores in homes where parents are drug and alcohol addicted and the kids have poor role models and constant neglect and abuse prevails in many sub-standard families, “the schools have failed!”

They said teachers in Wisconsin are subject particularly to scorn in high places, and in letters to the editors of newspapers that declare that they do nothing all summer but get paid anyhow. Teachers have to have college or university degrees, and they are required to take additional courses on a regular basis.

They formerly got only 9 paychecks, and nothing in summer, until their pay was proportionally reduced per month so they do get checks over the summer. The summer off tradition goes back to the olden days when farming was the predominant means of support, and the labor of the children was required to help the families survive. Fringe benefits for teachers, hard-won over the years, is a target for politicians who themselves have generous fringe benefits they don’t talk about.

I was a teacher once myself, and when school let out for the summer, I worked at the Freeport Silo Company to make up the lost wages, as we got only 9 checks. I earned 15 credit hours in subjects applying to my profession, and at my own expense. We were not expected to quit our own learning once we were hired.

I remember teachers I had as a kid, all of them caring and great people. Nothing is changed since. People who enter the teaching profession are idealistic and dedicated, not the scallywags, leeches, and parasites they are denounced as.


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