Public teachers not to blame

The attacks so many heap upon public education and teachers is sickening for me to see. As a student at BRFHS, I see teachers put in countless hours to make sure I get a good education.
So first, I’d like to humor everyone with some public education statistics in the United States:
  • In 1635, the Boston Latin School was founded as the first public school. This school generated five signers of the Declaration of Independence and continues to be today a high-class public school.
  • In 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools. Of those, 5.2 million (or 10.4 percent) were enrolled in a private school.
  • Of those numbers listed above, 72 percent of the students aged 12-17 were listed as “on track.”
  • The U.S. has a literacy rate of 99%.
  • However, we do rank lower in mathematics and science in comparison to other developed countries.

So, what does this all mean? Well, it first means that we saw our national government take steps to “help education.” This was through the failing programs of “No Child Left Behind.” No Child Left Behind strives to increase student achievement by setting high standards and establishing measurable goals. The program, however, measures student achievement through standardized testing, which has proven to be an inconsistent and inaccurate measurement.

The truth is, we do not have a teacher problem in our nation. Our teachers are genuine, hard-working people. You will see some teachers perform at a rate that is far from satisfactory. But, the other fact is that we have millions of hard-working educators who put in countless hours making sure their students receive proper education.

So, as I was saying, we do not have a teacher problem in the nation. I would argue we have much more of a structural issue which can only be addressed through elected officials and school administrators. As a nation, we need to look to other nations and see what their educational systems are doing differently from ours and adjust accordingly, but we cannot blame only teachers for educational failures.

Please keep in mind the countless hours of behind-the-scene work teachers do, such as grading papers, creating lesson plans, buying classroom supplies (often with their own money), comforting a student who has lost a parent, talking a student through a problem, reorganizing their class and figuring out ways to make everything work.

If you’re so willing to just blindly criticize some of the hardest working individuals I know, please do it with more respect for a profession that provides our great nation with a future.