Ben Compton provoked my thinking. He said:
>I believe the privatization of education would increase teachers
>salary, but that would preclude many children from having a
> reasonable opportunity for a good education.
I basically agree but would like to expound on this thought. As it stands
now in the U.S., teachers in private schools have lower salaries than the
ones in public schools. Many private school teachers prefer the
educational environment of the private school and consider that to be more
important than a higher salary. If the U.S. were to have an entirely
private school system, I believe it would soon become a class system. The
elite schools would be populated with wealthy students and high-paid
teachers and the rest would have low-paid teachers and probably receive a
I wonder what other countries have experienced.
>Are teachers salaries reflective of the value we, as a society, place on
>formal education? I certainly hope not, but I'm beginning to draw that
I agree with Ben Compton. Public education, in addition to instilling
academic knowledge, also must pass on the values of the society. In the
U.S. with its traditional emphasis on the rugged individual, people are
reluctant to pay more taxes to finance education when there is so much
disagreement over values.
In Japan, a much more homogeneous society, teachers are highly respected
and well-paid. There is little disagreement over the values of its
society. The importance of education is universally accepted.
>IMHO, our parsimony discourages intelligent and competent people from
>pursuing a career as a teacher. This clearly impacts the quality of public
>education, which in turn excites public opinion, bringing into question,
>yet again, the value of our teachers. What a vicious cycle!
I agree that some intelligent and competent people are discouraged from
teaching by our parsimony, but I suspect that most of those who do go into
teaching do so for more altruistic reasons. This impacts the quality of
education positively; it is not a drawback. However, I think it is
imperative to raise teachers salaries so that education can draw from a
large pool of applicants. I would not draw the conclusion that because of
our parsimony, education attracts the less intelligent and not as
The continuiing educational requirements for teachers have created a
profession where most teachers with ten years experience hold masters
degrees. Teaching is a profession that necessitates life-long learning.
>Maybe this cycle has, in part, given rise to the number of people turning
>to private and home school for their children's education.
There are many people who benefit from eroding confidence in public
education. The media attracts viewers with dire stories; private
businesses vie for educational monies; taxpayers hope for lower taxes.
These short-term and individualistic benefits would have long-term and
harmful societal effects.
Benjamin E. Wagner
Baltimore County Public Schools
"Benjamin E. Wagner" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>