Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Charter schools and teacher shortages

Here is another gem from John Oliver, this one about charter schools:

On the general topic of education, here too is an article describing a looming nationwide teacher shortage in the US.  This is distressing, though I can't say I'm surprised.  For the past decade or two I feel like there has been a general disparagement and distrust of teachers, at least collectively.  Everyone is always blaming teachers for poor student performance, when it seems apparent (as this other article argues) that the US school system just doesn't know how to educate poor kids well, and US society generally doesn't know how to get people out of poverty.  Schools get underfunded and shit on to the point where teachers have to pay a lot out of pocket just to provide students with sufficient classroom supplies, and students are painted by society at large as dangerous miscreants more than pliable minds to whom we should all give our best.  So after decades of being dogpiled on, and ridiculed any time they try to take collective action to improve teacher working conditions and student outcomes, it makes sense to me that current teachers are dropping out of the field, and young people aren't eager to enter the field of teaching.

On top of this, the above-cited Washington Post article points out that teachers are not very well paid, so that is one more strike against people entering this field as a second career.  If you listen to the talking heads who complain when Chicago Public School teachers go on strike, you would think they're highly overpaid (in addition to being grossly incompetent), but if you check the official pay schedules, you'll see that starting salaries for CPS teachers are in the low $50k range (low $60s if you have a PhD).  This may be decent for someone fresh out of college, but for most other educated professionals, entering teaching would represent a major pay cut.  And this is in what is reportedly the best-paid school district in the US.

In any case, I'm very concerned about education in the US, and I've long desired to become a teacher, but in my research to enter this vocation I've been discouraged by all these factors--underfunding and humiliation, lack of prestige accorded by society, and most of all low pay.  So I have felt firsthand and can vouch for some of the trends that these articles cite.

No comments:

Post a Comment