Life is a job. Just like a job, it requires training. If you were running a company, you would want to hire the best trained employees available. "We" are running a company called The United States of America. Why wouldn't we want to use the very best trainers available? And if we did, how would we attract those trainers to our "company".

Would we ask them to be cops and carry weapons? Would we ask them to train remotely without offering every trainee a good computer with a good internet connection? Would we let meddlers interfere with our curriculum? Would we pay them crappy wages and ask them to bring their own training supplies?

I have just made the case that those who don't support high salaries and full support for our public school teachers are ... not in full support of the USA....not patriots.

Of course, aside from the patriotism issue, isn't there the possibility that we love our kids and grandkids? Isn't it possible that we could buy that old idea that they will have better lives than us? Don't we want them to have a better future? Isn't that what a smart loving species wishes for?

Well, the evidence is clear. Our kids are struggling. And there is a sense of hopelessness across the nation. They feel stuck. Desperate to find affordable housing. Crushed by student loans. Held back by low wages (small recent improvements don't compensate for decades of wage stagnation). Both parents working means one income is mostly spent on day care for the kids. And their parents are living longer - requiring all manner of assistance. That's some future we set up for them, eh?

There is plenty of money to raise wages for teachers if we make it important. There is plenty of money to provide parents with daycare and high quality education from birth to employment. This is the richest nation in the history of humanity. We just decided to give the money to a few Oligarchs, CEOs and sports stars. The person who literally determines the future well being of our kids is abused and paid crap to take the crap. The person who can throw or hit a ball well becomes a millionaire. The team he is on is owned by guess who. They are the nobles. We are the peasants. And we don't question the system because they have given us big TVs and phones that can do anything. We are drugged with toys.

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Dec 16, 2022Liked by Bill Alstrom (MA-Maine-MA)

This is excellent Bill. It is tragic that the people who teach our children are not compensated for what has to be one of the most important professions that influence not only the children’s future, but also our country’s future. I am so disgusted with the pressure being put on teachers regarding CRT that is not even taught in school, and the Ron DeSatan crap of Don’t say gay. And of course the book banning of classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Thank you for this article. I am going to share it. It is so important .

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Dec 15, 2022Liked by Bill Alstrom (MA-Maine-MA)

Thank you Bill. I really appreciate this long look at education and teaching. I worked half my career as an Audiologist in Education with a diverse population. I retired in 2011. It is sad to read about the disrespect teachers receive and I am trying to think of something I can do besides support teachers strikes.

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Dec 17, 2022Liked by Bill Alstrom (MA-Maine-MA)

I started teaching by being trained in a structure that is child centered. That meant that while the adult prepared an environment and materials conducive to student exploration and learning, made sure it was clean and ready to be used, the adult guided the focus of the children within the group by re-directing disruptive energy , and preserving the energy of focus within the classroom. This system is completely attainable. The teacher (adult) was assisted by practitioners who would keep the flow going by helping re direct energy and activity, giving attention where needed, but encouraging independent thinking from the students by asking open ended questions. The activity was practical, hands on and well designed, organized to deliver an age appropriate exploration that was creative and had a scientifuc basis. This was a pre-school through 8th grade program. The result overall was a conscious student, aware of it's time, place and culture. The student was able to think collectively and originally, collaborate, cooperate and lead when necessary. Most learned how to be polite, engage in challenging tasks and were ready for high school. All students could read, write and were mathematical scholars. This is what can happen when there are resources, a school administration that expected high character standards in it's staff and also supported it's staff. The pay was not good, but the system paid off. I taught this way for 10 years.

Then, I went back to school and graduated from a state university program, summa cum laude that taught me little to nothing about teaching. I was hired and from then on, a duck out of water because I was not oriented toward the public school system that I saw crash and burn around me. I built healthy relationships with each student, first by bringing a fruit snack in every day and teaching the class to work together. I had to do that before any academic work could occur because I could not mentor students in small group if the others were not able to be self possessed and get their tasks completed in a focused and clear manor. I spent a lot of time searching for activities, or creating activities that would satisfy the state standards, spent my own $, and yada yada yada, tried to put together something that an evaluator would recognize as learning. I had one principal in those next 15 years that was educated enough to see my value. The others just checked off the boxes.

After the pandemic hit, the data wall went wild and there was no teaching...no discovery, no LEARNING. There were assistants collecting data and computerized programs that claimed to produce miracles. I watched students space out, open you tube and hide it behind their computer program and doodle on desks. I opened my mouth and railed for space for students to learn and i was met with mute faces. So the next year, I retired for this year.

Until public education is funded so that it is child centered and focused upon assisting each student become citizens that are not afraid to think, that are collaboraters, responsible leaders, and full of wonder about the world..... Until each school leader is educatied in clarity and compassion so that they can organize a center for learning, and until each teacher understands how to model cooperation and is given the tools to inspire and thrive...I don't see a lot of hope for a model that rounds up students, puts them in rooms and runs a list of criteria the teachers way.

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