Bynum Henson | February 1, 2017
Public schools have come a long way since the early 1800’s.
In the early days of public education, the school teacher was a respected member of the community.
One room school houses with grades 1–8 in the same building, a wood stove for heat, and strict discipline were the norm.
The teacher lived with members of the community in a tradition referred to as “boarding round”.
As we move toward the present day, the public school teacher is still respected in close knit rural communities
and is looked upon as a professional in upper middle class areas. Wealthier areas of the Country feel
sorry for teachers. Poor communities regard teachers the same way they regard the police or government officials.
An October, 2014 poll taken by Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup yields some interesting insights:
64% of public school parents have trust and confidence in teachers.
69% of public school parents do not favor using tests to evaluate teachers.
This poll gets interesting when one looks at Republicans:
Only 58% of Republicans trust teachers, and 49% think student test results should be used as part of teacher evaluations.
I attended a public forum recently where an Indiana State Senator said most of her constituents compared teachers
to factory workers. She blamed teacher unions for most of the disrespect teachers receive.
I disagree. In world where a teacher is up against an irate parent at times, other times administrators,
and now politicians; our union is our only ally in many cases.
In the midst of all this, now enter our new Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.
So, did Mrs. Devos ever deal with an unruly student or unruly classroom?
No, never stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher.
Has she ever worked as an administrator for a school?
No experience running a school.
Has she ever worked as an administrator in a school system?
No; has no idea how a school system is managed.
Wait, so what qualifies her to be in charge of the Nation’s education system?
She has donated $200 million dollars to Republican candidates, and she does not like public schools,
and she wants more charter schools and vouchers.
One would think that Betsy Devos and her family have already made enough billions of dollars selling Amway products,
but no. There is a “potful” of money out there.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics: “Total expenditures for public elementary
and secondary schools in the United States amounted to $620 billion in 2012–13, or $12,296 per public school student.”
Imagine if a charter school company supported by Betsy manages to only take over one tenth of the public schools:
$62 billion dollars per year. I can picture her and her friends’ “mouths watering”.
So where does this leave the maligned public school teacher?
Probably a statue at the Smithsonian, with chalk dust on his pants.