This article, “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries” relates to most of us, as we are educators in some format or another. This article also brings up several of the issues that we’ve been exploring in our class this semester – the effects of political, social, and economic decisions on American society since 1945.

Local school boards won’t take the responsibility for underfunding and Principals will run their schools as they see fit to do so. Some better than others, some worse. Teachers are still struggling to be seen as more than glorified clerks and day care providers. The old saying “Those who can’t do, teach” doesn’t help either. In Korea, English is a valuable skill. The teachers teach to the exams and they get paid well for it. Most of the students can read English, many can write, but very few can speak it. Again, it’s what’s emphasized on the exams. Not less than we do here in America, since language study is not a priority for a majority of American students. Simply an example of how a subject is taught and why the teachers get paid more for it.

Education is one of those sacred cow areas that not only are a States Rights rallying cry, but also a Local autonomy lightning rod for politicians. We are stuck with a highly decentralized teaching profession where the nearest thing to a national standard is an exam used by the teachers union to certify teachers for basic standards. Not a Federal exam or standard, a private national organization, which then allows a teacher to get a state license to teach. Politically we are stuck with this decentralized model, with a few states setting the standards by default such as TX, NY and CA because of Textbook sales (i.e. $$$$). It’s those state boards of educations which have the greatest influence on what content makes it into textbooks and how it’s presented. The system is ass backwards in that sense.