We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Greene at American Enterprise takes a look at these questions about US education:
1. Does money matter? 2. What about teacher pay? (they make more than you think, per hour, including benefits) 3. What about social problems? 4. Does class size matter? 5. Does teacher certification matter? 6. Private schools spend half per student of what public schools spend. Why do they do better?
Read the article, and spread the truth. There are tons of great teachers out there, but the public system is a union plantation, with a big megaphone.
I'm all for debunking myths, but I have to take issue with the teachers' pay bit. He points out that teachers only work 9 moths a year and 7.3 hours a day.
This fails to take into account the out of class work that teachers do - Ie., preparation and planning, marking and reporting. I've just hit a well deserved holiday period now and I'm spending the first week sleeping. In the month before I averaged about 4 hours sleep a night, working 6 days a week. About 7:30 to 5 everyday at school, then taking work home to work on that night, then either Saturday or Sunday (my wife would kill me if I worked both days of the weekend - though I had to the week before last).
Teaching is easily the busiest and most "full-on" job I've had. The only other person I've met who I know has worked harder (admittedly anecdotally) is my old flatmate, a doctor working in emergency. Of course, he gets paid overtime and logs his hours, as do lawyers and just about any other profession you care to name.
As a teacher I can tell you that two things will drive me away from this career - and I mean will - not enough money and too much work. If it wasn't for the holidays and a chance to recuperate, I wouldn't be doing this at all - it's too exhausting, and I'm just shy of 30.
Another point is the supposed class size myth. Simple thought experiment. If teachers have any impact, surely the more contact time with individual students, the greater the impact? Assuming a teacher's impact is a good thing, then so are smaller class sizes. Also, smaller classes are easier to manage - which brings me back to the exhaustion thing.
Finally, I know I'm biased, but if we all agree an education is just about the most important thing one can get, then give teachers all the support they need. The "myths" Greene cites aren’t a problem in education (moving the goalposts) - it's the encroachment of post-modernism and lowering of academic standards.
Sorry for the tirade :) - time to go and catch up on more of that sleep.