It seems everyone is an education critic. After all, most people spent years in school so they know all about it right? On that same avenue of thinking, I know all about cooking: I’ve been eating my entire life.
Eating doesn’t make one a cook just as going to school doesn’t make one an education expert.
Expert teachers are what some education critics are calling for. Marc Tucker, in an excellent essay dealing with teacher quality in the U.S., points out that in Finland, teachers must be expert in their field. He goes on to point out that in high achieving education countries, teachers must be good enough out of high to school to attend the best research universities, and while in college, obtain mastery in pedagogy and their subject. In Singapore, another high achieving education country, teachers are paid well, comparable to engineers.
The longer I live the more I think it’s all about marketing. The guy or gal who picks up garbage is a sanitation engineer. They generally make a good buck and have benefits. I’m only jealous in the sense that we folks in education have not caught on to the marketing scheme. I propose that we no longer call ourselves teachers. We are Education Engineers.
I am actually quite serious. I believe that contrary to Mr. Tucker’s opinon, the vast majority of teachers in our country are well educated and are expert in their field. But we lack the pay other professionals receive. This then is the difference between the U.S. and the top performing countries in regards to education.
Mr. Tucker makes the case that if we value education in our society, we must pay teachers well. Doing so will attract the best and brightest into the field. This is the way the free market works, or perhaps in our situation, there are instances where the free market does not work.
What will the Tea Party do? To make the market work public education must be abandoned. Thus competition in education will insure lowest cost for citizens seeking to educate their children, suppressing wages, and keeping the best and brightest from pursuing education as a viable source of employment. As Rick Santorum says, we either believe in the market or we don’t.