Iím Tired of Our Love Affair with Teachers

Against teachers

Article by Arthur Brewer
Is there anyone else out there, like me, who is sick and tired of the national meme that teachers are sacrosanct and above all reproach? Seriously, donít you remember your childhood government teachers? Mine were terrible. In all my years in K-12 public education, and a couple years of college, I can think of only a couple teachers that I truly respected, enjoyed and actually learned something from. As for the rest of them, they were all horrible teachers.

Thereís been this national consensus that teachers are all selfless, hard working, underpaid, overworked and so on. This is the result of countless dollars and years spent by the teachers and their unions painting themselves as saint-like. Well, theyíre not, and truth be told, most are pretty poor at what they do. Let me explain.

First off, did you know that college bound wanna-be teachers usually rank near the bottom on college entrance exams? Yes, you read that right, the people who want to go to school to teach your kids are some of the poorer performing students themselves. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Second, did you know the average teacher works of approximately 150 days per year, where the standard work year for everyone else is around 230 days? Not a bad gig, heh? Oh, and the average workday for teachers is around 7 hours, with Ĺ hour for paid lunch, and usually another open hour during the day.

Third, the average salary of a public school teacher is $56,069, where the average salary for non-government employees is $42,979. So, while weíre the ones paying their salaries, theyíre making approximately 30% more annually than the rest of us.

Fourth, we canít forget the benefits. While many employees in the private sector have lost anything appearing like a pension in recent decades, along with being offered cheaper healthcare plans (if you have any benefits at all), teachers enjoy some of the best perks there are to offer. Premium quality healthcare packages, dental, vision, generous sick/vacation days and prime retirement plans are the norm.

Fifth, what about competition and tenure? While everyone else in the private sector has to worry about job performance, teachers need not worry. In most states, once a teacher has achieved tenure (usually 2 to 3 years on the job), itís nearly impossible to fire them. Oh, and your pay is not based on performance or results, itís usually based purely on time on the job. This is how you end up with such horrible teachers; they know they canít be fired, so why try?

And last, what about class size and overall performance? Well, since 1970, the average class size has fallen from 22.3 students per class all the way down to 15.2. And with these outstanding teacher-to-student ratios, how are our students performing? In a word, terribly. Our students consistently rank near the bottom in international competition with other western nations.

So please, can we stop pretending that our government teachers are saints and deserve more pay? Can we please stop asking for smaller class sizes, as it makes absolutely no difference in results? Can we please introduce some competition between teachers and schools to improve results? Can we please stop pouring more and more money into our public schools and expecting a better outcome?

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