NewsScan Daily – A Summary of Technology-Related News
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December 13, 2002
Re: http://shorl.com/fovujomulasy and http://shorl.com/bydebristostumi
Regarding Andy Horner’s and Conn McQuinn’s responses to Thomas Sowell’s editorial on the state of education. First, to answer Mr. Horner: Raising teacher pay will not attract the individuals he is looking to attract. I don’t know how it is in his part of the country, but in Minnesota the median teacher salary, urban district or rural, rich district or poor, is $42,000 per year, and that for nine months of work. Annualized, this would be $56,000. This is a good living, and corresponds nicely to the local median income for the average worker in the private sector, which is roughly the same ($42,000) for 12 months of work. In my view, teachers are paid well, all things considered. I agree that it would probably improve things to get people with a well-rounded background in the business marketplace to teach our children from their own "real world" experience; the problem is that the education industry, including the administrators, teachers, and unions, are interested to making the point of entry difficult for people who might look at teaching as a mid-career shift. It goes past the money. Try to get a teaching certificate based solely on your old BA and 25 years of professional experience, without taking coursework in pedagogy.
Structurally, educators want to keep people out of the profession who do not share their world view and perspective. Remember that people who work in education in many cases have known no other life than the school room, first as a student and then as an instructor. They do not want people on board who might shake up the utopian liberal agenda of the education industry… To rebut Mr. Conn, many things in life work reasonably well in spite of poor management — let’s take a look at your average American corporation for an example. The difference is that a corporation runs on private funds generated through the sale of stock to investors and products to consumers.
In a competitive environment unhappy investors can purchase shares in other companies, and unhappy consumers can buy products from competitors. Public schools on the other hand exist on public funds (tax dollars) and offer no viable alternative. The reason children learn is because that’s what they do; in many ways they learn as much in spite of the system as because of it. I thought Thomas Sowell nailed it. The fact that public educators consistently obstruct efforts to create viable alternatives in private or alternative (competitive) educational options tells me they are more interested in maintaining their power and control than in effectively educating anyone. (Bob Weiss)