Teaching for America, by Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman has to be one of my favorite writers of all time. His opinion articles for the New York Times are always insightful and dead-on.

And this article is no different.

In it, he talks about how everyone agrees that there is something wrong with our education system. But he offers at least one potential solution, which has been proposed by the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

We need to raise the importance and prestige of teachers in the United States, in order to recruit the best and brightest for the position.

Duncan’s view is that challenging teachers to rise to new levels — by using student achievement data in calculating salaries, by increasing competition through innovation and charters — is not anti-teacher. It’s taking the profession much more seriously and elevating it to where it should be.

Even here at OU, it feels like people look down on those in the School of Education. It (wrongly) has the reputation of being an easy major, for those just looking to get an MRS degree.

What is wrong with this picture?!

Educating our youth should not be seen as an easy job. Not everyone can teach. It takes skill, patience, and endurance. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that teaching is anything but difficult. This summer I worked with people who came back every night from teaching, exhausted and scared that they weren’t making enough of a difference in their kids’ education. Teaching challenges even the smartest people, and our society should reward it as such.

I can’t wait for the day when public schools only accept those from the top one-third of a graduating class. Or for when people stop believing things like, “Well, teachers get the summer off, so we shouldn’t really pay them much.” Or even just for the day when I don’t get doubtful expressions when I tell people that I want to teach. By wanting to become a teacher, I will not be settling. I will be making a difference.

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1 Comment

Filed under Future Plans, Musings

One response to “Teaching for America, by Thomas Friedman

  1. Hey dukester, While I agree that people look down on education majors (which is inherently bad) their finals do involve book reports on children's books and arts and crafts projects. Time consuming, but not exactly intellectually stimulating. Their actual jobs however, are very difficult, very time consuming and challenging. My dad's girlfriend Sherry is a teacher, and she mentioned that what she learned in college had absolutely no bearing on her job (although, in all fairness this can be applied to almost every major that isn't science or engineering) So, I guess I'm gonna call you on Education is a hard major thing, but agree with everything else. Isn't that what Thomas was arguing? If you want to value something, you need to invest in making it valuable? Aren't the countries doing well in education only taking the top 1/3 of college graduates and substituting "education" majors for majors in the actual subjects? Just some thoughts..

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