There is no function more essential to a society than the that of well qualified teachers.  The U.S. is now falling behind its global competitors because we are driving out our teachers — both with low salaries and disrespect:

Schools Fight for Teachers Because of High Turnover
The retirement of thousands of teachers coupled with the
departure of younger ones is fueling a crisis in teacher


My mother was trained as a teacher.  With the Depression she was, as so many women then working, laid off — jobs were needed for men and married women were ordered home.  The pattern of low pay for teachers — mainly women — is a carry over from the era of gender discrimination in the workforce.  And we are now paying the price as older teachers are retiring and younger ones are finding the conditions unacceptable for a lifetime commitment.  My students have told me horror stories about their own experiences along these lines.  Carrying heavy loan debts from college they are nevertheless expected to live on minimal salaries.  Only a prosperous spouse can make that work. And the lack of respect towards teachers is uniquely characteristic of our American anti-intellectualism.  I well recall visiting a French pen pal as a teen whose father was a teacher — and held to be by profession one of the most respected members of the community — on a par with doctors.

We shall pay the price unless we reform.  NYC. is particularly bad at this game and is losing its best teachers to the wealthy suburbs where they have caught on and are offering teachers a living wage.

There is no free lunch, Mr. Bush.  We had better raise our taxes to cover such esseentials for the survival of America aa more than a wounded third world nation!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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