I'm not a teacher but like anyone else reading the opinion page I was a student albeit decades ago. I still remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Pierce, who should be around 126 today. God bless that lady because she was the one who showed patience, understanding, a calmness that made me want to get up and go to school every day. My gosh, I can still remember her taking the time to teach us little girls how to draw a bride in the most beautiful dress we could imagine. On the side she also taught a hard headed student how to add and subtract and how to write cursive more beautiful to go along with my bride's beautiful dress.
Mr. Martin in the fifth grade was terrific at volleyball and equally good at teaching us how to memorize the Gettysburg Address (I still remember it to this day). Mr. Tiffany in junior high was definitely my hero, an ex-Marine who didn't allow the local bullies to upset his classroom or bother the rest of us during lunch and taught us the fine points of writing a business letter. Mr. Thornton in high school was a brilliant speaker. He taught us Civics and History, all the boys couldn't wait to enlist and go to Viet Nam and all the girls wanted to be either a wife or a nurse.
These were teachers, they were involved with their students and wanted us all to be prepared for the real world and not the one where competition wasn't allowed...where everyone is a winner only if they work hard. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to our young people today, thrown into the same grab bag. Where there's absolutely no time for one on one because their instructors are so busy trying to keep their jobs that they have little time left over. Where money comes out of their own pockets to be sure each of their charges have what they need, where teaching now has to happen behind locked doors with armed RSO's roam the campus to keep trouble out.
As taxpayers we have gotten ourselves into a fit because now our doctors are unable to get as involved with us as patients as they used to. We are now monitored not by our medical professionals but by a clerk behind a desk with no medical license probably thousands of miles from where we live. The same holds true with our educators who must answer to some politician who has formed a group that has never taught a gnat let alone our most valuable asset....our children. Wake up and smell the flowers.
* * *
Public school teachers are government employees. They are paid with our taxes. They work for us (the People) and they are answerable to our elected representatives. There are fabulous teachers just as there are fabulous police officers, EMTs, firefighters, and sanitation workers etc. Their good or poor performance doesn’t determine their subordination to the political process. Legislative oversight is simply and appropriately a fact of life for anyone who receives wages extracted from the public till.
The People, through our elected representatives, make laws, policies, and public spending decisions. Government employees include a wide variety of technical experts. Politicians don’t need superior or equal expertise in all fields to be legitimate representatives. They need only to be elected. While the input of government employee technical experts is valued and considered by our representatives, the People remain in charge.