Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

I Tried to Restrain Myself But I Just Couldn't!

I was going to give everybody a rest and not write anything today, that is, until I read the Star Ledger editorial page. Then I just couldn’t help myself.
Here we go again, more “experts” with official titles from official sounding organizations all telling how the educational system should be overhauled to “benefit the children”.
The editorial was written by Mike Lilley, “Executive Director” of “Better Education for New Jersey Kids” and Tim Melton “Vice President for Legislative Affairs” at “Students Firsts”. Now who could argue with those bearing such lofty credentials from organizations with such prestigious sounding names?
The thrust of the article was, as is usual, an appeal to “reform” tenure, eliminate seniority and impose a new set of evaluation standards. All of these reforms are supposedly designed to eliminate poor teachers.
In my opinion, they are designed to place teacher employment at the whim of administrators, BOE members and politicians and to save money by enabling the elimination of the highest paid staff.
If we are really just concerned about removing poor teachers why do we propose to reduce job security for the vast majority of good teachers in so doing?
Additionally, with the loss of employment rights and the continual berating of the teaching professional how can we possibly expect the “best and brightest” to enter the field? (Anyone who enters teaching in the current environment certainly can’t be that bright!)
Also, how can we expect children to respect teachers when they are constantly portrayed as poor and lazy and not deserving of job security? (Believe it or not, in spite of all the poor teaching, most children can read the newspapers!)
Lastly, at the risk of being called racist, I would like to point out that it is widely accepted that Asian students are “smarter” than the rest (It’s either that or they never have had any poor teachers).
I disagree! My experience with those students is that they, as a group, are no smarter or duller than any other group.
Here’s the difference, they by in large, have a home life that involves respect for education and teachers. Poor efforts by the student are not tolerated. When the child does poorly, the teacher is not blamed, the child is encouraged to work harder (might I add, strongly encouraged).
Until the same mentality is adopted by the majority of American parents, no tinkering, teacher bashing, tenure “reform” or evaluation schemes will enhance learning in our public schools.


  1. Regarding your last blog regarding the transformation of the NJ School System: Why are we so worried about one or more poor teachers in the profession, what about all the poor administrators who hired those poor teachers. By eliminating tenure of teachers, it that going to enhance the overall quality of education. What highly trained and qualified person would want to enter into a profession that is not looked up to by the public.
    Who are the people who would put up with this type of attitude, those less educated, less qualified individuals. If the present administration proceeds to destroy the Teacher's Union, the employees would have no protection against a board of education that
    had a particular agenda against a particular race, religion or gender. Administrators would answer to no one, superintendents could fire and hire friends who were politically connected. I could see kick backs common place. Mediocracy would replace
    good teaching. I think the public should take a look at other states that have a superior teaching system, I think you would be hard pressed to fine one. Before we start dismantling the present system, what would be the best for the students and not the BOE's or Superintendents. The parents are the key here in setting the bar for both teachers and students.

  2. Just Pay Good Teachers More Money!

    Good letter, Timer. But who cares what an old sportswriter has to say about running a school system?

    Since you were kind enough to send it to me, though, I feel a responsibility to opine.

    It's nearly impossible to deal with merit pay because of all the considerations, not the least damaged feelings among teachers, many of whom will invariably believe they were overlooked for political or personal reasons. This blunts enthusiasm. Just pay good teachers more money!

    Tenure can be a wonderful thing but occasionally it fails to inspire folks to excel. The alternative is to reward with stash and stature as individuals accumulate quality time on the job. Just pay good teachers more money!

    Something cooking nowadays in Republican ranks is privatization of the nation's educational system. Bad idea! That goes for killing off our grand old government-run Postal Service too. It opens doors for vacuous big shots, unnecessary forms and petty rules. We shouldn't waste bucks on more doofuses! There are enough of them around now. Just pay good teachers more money!

    Fortunately we've got a genuine scholar, who fervently believes education is the key to our nation's future, in the White House. He stresses it constantly. Let's support his efforts. He'd like to just pay good teachers more money! X

    p.s. The BOE is correct about the football players' incident. When nine guys beat up a pair it isn't fair. Let 'em sit!


  3. walt..keep grinding away at the "educators' and their pundits ....Moe

  4. I luved that article. You should post this one on NJEA Bulletin Board. Keep up the good work.

    Bob T


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