The horrible life of school teachers

My brother, who is a school teacher, sent me this article by a (presumably) socialist school teacher.

Here was my reply:

I have a few questions about this article:

1) “the biggest predictor of a child’s future is what their parents do…class and growing economic inequality”  And yet Miss Behrent wants to expand public education to include (presumably) even toddlers.  Any reasonable reader would conclude that the author does not approve of the fact that parents are the #1 influence on a child’s life; he would prefer that the State be the #1 influence, with teachers (most of them, anyway) serving as its proxy.  She assumes that the parents’ income and social class are the sole important factor in their influence on their children.  What about heredity?  What about culture?  There are many reasons for economic inequality, not all of them bad.  As old class structures disappear, I.Q. takes a more and more important role in determining who lives with whom and who marries whom.  All this was explained quite well in “The Bell Curve”.

2)  “That a school’s “effectiveness” is so strongly correlated with the racial makeup and economic status of its student population suggests that poverty is what keeps our schools unequal. Not teachers.”  I think she’s got it backwards.  Poverty is a byproduct of lower average I.Q. – which, in turn, is correlated with race.  This is why higher income blacks score lower, on average, than lower income whites.  It is why North Asians consistently score high regardless of their income.  I can back this claim up with facts.  I wonder if Miss Behrent can back up his assumption with facts.

3)  “Rigoberto Ruelas, a 14-year teacher in Los Angeles who went missing after the reports came out and was recently found dead, with suicide suspected.”  As unfortunate as this is, let’s put this in perspective and consider how many people, of other professions, commit suicide because of their work or loss of their careers.  To use this anecdotal story as evidence is pretty pathetic.  The implication is that teachers should be shielded from criticism lest they commit suicide.  Really?

4) “only 17 percent of charter schools do better than public schools, while 37 percent perform worse”.  “Better” or “worse” by whose standards?  Here, read this:

“Many parents would prefer to see their kids “survive” school intact and with their outlook still healthy even if they don’t ace their SATs. Whereas a bad-ass public school can still make kids scrape through but many may be brutalized already and this will affect their future. A child in an inner city public school who performs well on scores against all odds has often undergone the kind of pressure a child should not have to undergo to be given a place at a college. Scores are not education they are just a selection tool.”

5) “the continued and increased segregation of schools; and the growing gap between rich and poor that leaves all poor children behind.”  What’s his problem with segregation?  I think it’s a good thing – if that’s what the parents want and as long as it’s not by force of law.  As for the “growing gap between rich and poor”, again see The Bell Curve.  Also, income disparity comes naturally with any multi-racial society.  I don’t think you can find any exceptions.  All over the world this is the case.

Okay, so they weren’t all exactly “questions”.  For the record, I know that my brother is a skilled, and very conscientious, teacher.  He really cares about his students and always goes the extra mile.  This being the case, I’m certain that if the government hadn’t hired him to teach kids – many parents would gladly do so.  After all, if you have a valuable skill, people will pay you for it, right?

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2 Responses to The horrible life of school teachers

  1. Patrick says:

    In the article it is implied that more funding for schools would somehow help. Throwing money at problems in education is not going to make bad students into good students. It really comes down to culture. It is silly to assume that money is some magical thing that will change the culture of students. I’m not sure what can change the culture of students though. I know that if people make a conscious effort to change their behavior they can and sometimes what motivates them to change is exposure to information or certain types of people. People as a community it seems have to discuss things together like the importance of education and the importance of personal cleanliness in ones home and elsewhere. People really shouldn’t litter, I bet areas with lots of litter produce kids that are bad students.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Just look at D.C.
      Tremendous amount of funding, and yet what has that gotten them?
      To be clear, I do support greater funding for public schools and am not exactly a private school supporter, but I’ve grown more skeptical of these poverty/socioeconomic explanations.

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