Hard Truths: On Our Teachers

I’ve posted a number of items on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., on what I call “hard truths.”  Generally these have to do with education and policies surrounding our schools.  The most recent items concern how we, as a society, select and train our teachers.  They run counter to these commonly accepted beliefs:

  1. Teachers forgo more lucrative careers or positions to serve the community by educating our children.
  2. Teachers, especially in secondary schools, are masters of the subjects they teach.
  3. Teachers are professionals, on a par with doctors, lawyers, and others in the professions, traditionally understood.
  4. Advanced degrees in education equate to better, more effective teachers.
  5. The certification process for teachers is rigorous, and insures that only highly qualified candidates become teachers.  (In other words, “national board certification” is a hallmark of competence, even excellence.)

Over the next few articles, I will examine each of these “myths” and compare them to the reality, or hard truth, behind each.

Disclaimer:  I will be discussing teachers in the aggregate, focusing on the “fat part” of the normal distribution.  There will always be exceptional teachers, and my kids have had their share.  We call them “exceptional” because they are the exceptions.  I’m going to talk about those generally within one standard distribution of the mean.  In other words, the majority of teachers.  Let’s be adults; this isn’t Lake Wobegon where “all the teachers are above average.”

Hard truths.

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