Sunday, January 24, 2010

Et Tu, Roger Ebert?

In Roger Ebert's new blog post, he blasts public education, tenure, and teachers' unions all in one breath:

"Tenure is a sacred concept in higher education, attained after years and
rigorous peer review. In primary and high schools, it comes automatically after
as few as two years. Tenured teachers have a job for life. They cannot be fired
for proven incompetence. The American Federation of Teachers and other unions
fiercely protect their jobs."

Here we go again. If Roger had bothered to do a five-second Google search, as I did, he would have found a dozen articles refuting this particular claim. I have been a teacher for 23 years and I can be fired for a thousand reasons as easily, or more easily than anyone else I know. He goes on to say that his eighth grade knowledge from St. Mary's Grade School surpasses that of most high school students. To that I say, hogwash. Roger was in 8th grade in about 1956. We do stuff in 8th grade math now that would have curled his toes like the Wicked Witch of the West. This is just another example of someone speaking out of complete ignorance about public education. I think it should be a requirement for someone writing on public education to at least go to a public school and see what the teachers face as everyday challenges. Better still, I think that a person writing on public education should have to be a substitute teacher for a day. Just one day is all it would take to at least give them a hint of understanding, which would be far more than they present right now.

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