Those Who Can and Those Who can’t

22 Aug

One day in class I was grading papers and it had been a long day and I was getting tired and… well, I thought it might be a good idea to ask a student to help me. So I asked, and an eager student raised her hand to volunteer. I handed her a stack of papers and an answer key and off she happily went. Later that evening as I was preparing to place the grades into my grade book I noticed that my helpful student had dutifully graded all of the papers that I had handed her. In fact, she was so diligent that she even graded the answer key! And it got an 87! So of course I had to stay up late that night rechecking all of those papers.

One of the things that can make being a teacher so difficult is that very soon after you take the job you realize that even though you’d like some help, you’re really on your own.


…And now a word about Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius.

Oh wait! Come to think of it they were all teachers! Was that because they couldn’t do? I am so tired of hearing that one. People who teach can do just fine.  It’s just that they also love to teach. That saying, “Those who can do and those who can’t teach.” And there are many derivatives, comes from a play by George Bernard Shaw. So the first person to actually say this was a fictional character! And those who have said it afterwards in real life said it simply to be mean and insulting or to make a poor joke in bad taste but never meant to be enlightening in any way.

George Bernard Shaw himself was apparently not a lover of teachers and schools simply because where he grew up in the mid-19th century in Dublin Ireland schools, to paraphrase his own words, were more like prisons than places of education and teachers more like prison guards, and in his Treatise on Parents and Children, he said that he considered the standardized curricula, deadening to the spirit and stifling to the intellect. He was also not a big fan of the use of corporal punishment, which was common in his time. Not surprisingly many of the schools he attended were parochial in nature or influence.

            Today’s schools and teachers are of course quite different from the ones that existed over a century ago and when you consider what America’s public schools have to offer in the way of staff, services, professional expertise, opportunities, activities, equipment and technology they have to be among the greatest centers of knowledge of  all times! And every community has one and they are all available to the public with no charge for tuition since local, state and federal governments fund them through taxes paid by citizens. All public schools must take all children. There are no exceptions, no matter what race or creed and including students with special needs. In addition Public schools must abide by all federal, state, and local laws when it comes to the education of children. There are laws about funding, program development and curriculum. The schools must follow curriculum guidelines that include math, English, reading, writing, science, history and physical education and most schools include extra curricular activities in music and art. Plus, State certification is required to teach at a public school which ensures the parents that the teacher has gone through the required training necessary to teach the curriculum by the state and that the teacher can not only DO but teach as well!

            It has been proposed by some, including the governor of New Jersey, that teachers need not be certified and that more privately run charter schools should be approved and opened allowing instructors who are not certified by the state to work there. No doubt this proposal is an effort to make schools cheaper by driving down the cost of labor, first by employing non-certified personal to teach at a lower wage and then by using those lower wage earners as leverage to force certified teachers and their unions in public schools to accept lower wages or risk being replaced by more non-certified personnel. This is a typical strategy used in our country by corporations to drive down labor costs. unfortunately it also drives away well trained and skilled American workers and replaces them with foreign, or overseas or illegal workers. And it raises this very important question: Would you give up your job in order to lower your taxes? Would you give up someone else’s? Corporate and wealthy professionals know the answer to this question. It’s no! And if they say that I’m wrong then I propose that we begin opening charter law offices with un-certified lawyers who understand the law but who just don’t have a degree. I’m sure those “lawyers” would not have to charge $300 to $400 an hour just for a consultation. We have a lot of ex-cons in this country who have done a lot of law study during their incarceration. I bet they could use a job. Or how about allowing charter medical centers to open, staffed with un-certified physicians who could treat the 45 million people in this country who don’t have health care but who would like some medical advice at a lower cost. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there with medical training and skills who just never finished their schooling to get that certification and degree. Wouldn’t charter pharmacies be nice? I’m sure they would drive down the exorbitant, constantly rising, cost of pharmaceuticals in this country. How about a charter oil company or two run by Venezuelan or Canadian entrepreneurs where gasoline prices wouldn’t always rise immediately after that storm in the Gulf or where prices wouldn’t always be exactly the same as all of the other “independent” oil company “competitors”? How about a charter bank where un-certified and amateur bankers with business savvy and a knack for saving a buck or two (you probably have a few of these folks in your family) are allowed to manage and keep track of your money? Do you think they could hold onto your money without losing it or misplacing it or making illegal investments and ill advised loans and then having to be bailed out by the government? I bet we could save a buck or two if we had competitive charter banking in this country. Maybe we could even get some interest while they hold onto our money for years at a time!!!

 Is it really necessary that we require the teachers of your children to be qualified and certified by the state?

 Consider the fact that students who have special needs are NOT excluded by the state from attending the public schools but rather are welcomed and evaluated and recommended for special and enhanced programs. Along with special education, there are also classes for the gifted and talented, programs for children whose native language is not English, specialists to help children, such as guidance counselors, nurses, speech or language teachers, social workers, and psychologists. Many public schools have sports teams, clubs and other scheduled extracurricular activities after regular school hours. Drug and alcohol-abuse prevention programs are located in every school district and in the high schools and these professionals can also refer students to more intensive programs if needed.  The public schools also offer the latest in computer technology and libraries and many if not all of these facilities are made available to everyone in the community because it’s public and because the people who do this work for your children and on your behalf are trained, qualified and certified to do so! How about the arts? Many children would never be exposed to the arts, the very essence of what helps define us as humans, if it weren’t for the public schools.

There are so many jobs that need doing and so many areas of expertise and of specialization that require a highly trained and technical staff.

So what about the price for all of these public learning centers? Many would have you believe that the cost to the public is outrageously expensive or over priced and that teachers receive too much compensation and too many benefits, and all at a cost that is crippling the American family and tax payer. But is that really true? How expensive and how outrageous are our property taxes in the United States of America? In the United States public schools are funded by public tax dollars. The average amount of property taxes paid by an American homeowner is 3,384.00 dollars per year. In New Jersey where I live the average is 6,331.00 dollars per year in property taxes paid but we must remember that property taxes pay for other services also, not just the public schools. In fact about 2/3 of all property taxes or about 67% go to the public schools. That means that the average U.S. property tax payer pays about 2,267 dollars per year for the public schools in their district. That’s 43 dollars a week!

Or we can put this in perspective and say…1 carton of cigarettes! 3 cases of beer! 4 tickets to the movies! 2 tickets to a professional baseball game! (Maybe) NO tickets to a professional football game! 8…count them…8 minutes with a lawyer! 14 gallons of gas! 4 years of interest on 10,000 dollars in the bank! (Yes, that’s right! If you keep 10,000 dollars in a savings account and don’t touch it for 4 years you’ll have 43 more dollars!)  Could you expect to pay for a visit from a mechanic or plumber or electrician with 43 dollars where you live in America? Even in New Jersey where property taxes are higher we’re still only talking about 80 dollars per week or so for public schools in your school district. That’s a little over 4,200 dollars per year.

How much do you spend in interest payments for the mortgage on your home each year? How much does the ownership of one car cost you each year? How much do you spend on food in your home or even for food outside of your home? How much do you spend on utilities like phones, gas and electric bills each year? The U.S. Department of Labor’s latest survey on the expenditures of the average consumer unit in America shows (As of October 2010) that we spend more money on each of those categories then we do on taxes for the public schools. We even spend more money entertaining ourselves than we do on our public schools! All things considered, what we pay for our public schools is quite a bargain, especially since the people we employ there are people who only teach and don’t really do anything, except of course spend every day in the company of your children and most likely spend more time interacting with your children than you do so why pay for those guys? Why certify them? Because we need to make sure that the people who take care of our children and who we entrust to educate and guide them are well educated, well intentioned and well paid.

There’s an old Greek saying that “To have a child is to send your heart out into the world unguarded.” Putting out tax payer money where our children and our hearts are can never be a bad investment and in fact is the only investment that will pay dividends way into the future and beyond.

Or you can forget about what I’ve had to say and just listen to arguably one of the greatest teachers of all time and do what he suggests.                            

“If you do not look after each other, who will look after you?”


76 Responses to “Those Who Can and Those Who can’t”

  1. Daphne August 27, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    This post certainly got me thinking. I have had (unfortunately) the need for legal services recently. And while it’s expensive, it’s worth every penny. This also holds true for my education (and the cost for both degrees). It’s an interesting (and sad) commentary that most people value education and teachers less than they do other professionals like lawyers and doctors. I

    • Dianne Wing October 24, 2012 at 12:35 am #

      I agree Daphne…but without teachers where would those doctors and lawyers be? It’s such a shame that America spends more on incarceration than education – especially when education would prevent incarceration!

  2. agjorgenson September 3, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    Thanks for visiting my site, and for a great post… thought provoking.

  3. cielotech September 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Excellent post and great points. I appreciate you taking a look at my blog also. I feel our teachers are among the few heros we have left; i.e. teachers, police personnel, EMTs, the military and of course moms and dads. That’s about it. Again–great post.

  4. elspethc September 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Yes yes if only far more of our taxes went to our educators we might have more people able to think like you.

  5. evangelinehemingway September 25, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    Thanks for visiting my site, and I enjoyed your post. What do you teach?

    • gpicone September 25, 2012 at 4:20 am #

      Thanks! I taught English, Performing Arts and TV Production. 33 years and just recently retired.

      • exladyprof October 7, 2012 at 12:56 am #

        Liked your blog. I taught at university for almost 39 years and agree with much of what you say. I do think we need small (not just smaller) classes in El-hi and teachers that are well trained. My guess is that many, if not most, are pretty good, and probably some are not so. It would be good if the unions agreed that not every teacher that gets a job is a good teacher (I have seen teachers that really didn’t understand the math or science they taught) and we need some way to ascertain what a good teacher is – In any event, even the teachers in pre-school are talented people that deserve a good, really good, salary. I could never deal with more than two or three little ones at a time, to say nothing of teaching them anything!
        This country dearly needs to improve its public school system – and vouchers is definitely not the way to go. Oh, well you said all the rest and thanks for that.

      • rmekrnl November 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

        As an Army vet to you, thank you also for your service to our children, as all good teachers do, and Happy Veteran’s Day!

  6. francisguenette September 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I am seeing a trend and it is an alarming one. So many people who have very negative opinions about teachers and the school system are talking about this over and over in their homes and in front of their children. It is hard to imagine that this isn’t having an effect when those kids sit in the classroom. If we sat around the dinner table every night and said the doctor we go to is a quack, how would we expect our kids to act when we took them in for a check-up? It’s a sad state of affairs.

  7. Nativegrl77 September 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by … interesting post

  8. peachyteachy September 28, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for the like on my blog—I hope that you are enjoying retirement! I will be reading more of your work.

  9. alyossr111 October 2, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    thanks for “like”. I am ELT inspector. interested in texbook design.

  10. Doug October 4, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Thank you for your like. I found this to be a rousing commentary on how Americans spend their money and what we value as much as a child’s education. Thank you.

  11. livvy1234 October 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Went to school a long time ago. I learned to stand up when a teacher walked into the room, and not sit down till that teacher told the class to do so. I learned to respect teachers in first grade. At 63 years old, I still respect teachers the same way as I did when I was six years old. Your article was a excellent reflection on what America thinks is important today. Thank you.

    • alyossr111 October 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

      I like the article. The same thing is happening everywhere. in an ever-changing society, it the role of the system and the role of both parents and teachers to guide children to the right way.
      I myself still respect teachers and I think they are the people who deserve most respect in the world.

  12. Nativegrl77 October 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    thanks for stopping by … blog on !!!!

  13. nymensministry October 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Hi, I found your blog because of your like on our blog:

    Well, I’ll let others who are more involved comment on most of your blog but I will mention that Jesus was not solely a teacher. Actually, Islam is the only religion that acknowledges him as a prophet and teacher. Christianity says he is God (think trinity) and our savior.

    I know this is not in line with most of your blog entry but I’m not qualified to comment on most of what you said. In regard to Jesus being a good (moral) teacher, I feel like I can add some insights. You see, Jesus said he is God, and He proved it by forgiving sins (something only God can do).

    C.S. Lewis (one of the most popular Christian authors of all time said it best, when he said:

    “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

    Thanks again for finding us! We really appreciate your support!

    • gpicone October 7, 2012 at 12:02 am #

      Thanks for finding me too! Can you please point out to me the section of scripture where Jesus says that he is God. I would like to read that myself. Can’t God be a teacher too? Thanks again.

      • Editor October 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm #


  14. kelihasablog October 7, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    Thank you for taking a moment of your time to stop by my blog today. I really appreciate it even though I was in the middle of a melt down…lol. I will come back to read yours more closely and try to catch up… I don’t know where you teach (state) but things are so different from place to place. I loved teaching…. but just couldn’t take how it had changed anymore… plus I had cancer and needed time off… (Long story) 😀

  15. lightheart October 7, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Eloquently provocative. Thank you for liking my recent post on I write broadly about the experience of parenting through the grades, even when my posts don’t mention my children. As parents and teachers, when we are present in the lives of the children, we have the opportunity to live again into specific ages of our own childhood. I don’t mean that we review the details of our own biography (which is of course useful), but that we can reenter stages of consciousness that are present only in childhood. It’s been a wonderful journey for me and I appreciate the passion and dedication that you and millions of other teachers bring to your profession. Keep learning alive at all ages!

  16. creativeintrospection October 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Thank you for a thought provoking post. As a fellow teacher – albeit on the other side of the world (usually South Africa but currently Saudi Arabia!) I strongly identify. I believe the global dilemma is the marketing of “respect” for the material, for currency and power…and our society values seem to ensure that excludes teachers! The decreasing number of graduates entering the profession are evidence of that. It is only through our personal commitment to a higher nobler goal that we persevere.

  17. kelihasablog October 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Okay, I’m back… LOL. Seems like you taught for about the same length of time I did, but I have begun to notice the differences from state to state apparently regarding education. Here, in Ga.each school system is even different in some things… we are more in charge of how our money is spent apparently than you guys. Of course being certified here is not an option, you must be certified, and “highly qualified” in certain areas if you teach a specific subject, especially in HS, actually, probably 90% of our teachers, if not more have their Master’s degrees. We do periodically have to vote on adding a 1 to 3 % tax that is to be added for a certain number of years and used for a specific reason… like schools, or police firemen… etc. Here, the way they solved the problem of pay, was instead of firing or letting go, teachers all had “furlough” days which were non-paid days similar to vacation days spread through out the year. So yes, everyones pay was less, but everyone kept their job. I know they have talked about cutting out the Art and Music programs, but as far as I know, they haven’t yet. If you read my blog (today I think I wrote about it) you may find out more differences. I know that around the Atlanta area, if they no longer have kids in the school system, they can opt out of the education tax, but not here. We always vote on everything and we still have to pay. Here, in our Charter schools, the teacher’s must also be state certified. If I understand correctly, the main difference is that the Federal money goes with the child and the parent has more of a choice as to which school to send their child to. We have magnet schools as well, in our Public system, so parents have the choice of those as well if their student qualifies.

    As I said, I taught in Public school for 33+ years and I loved it, until the Federal government programs began to tie our hands on everything. It was horrible.. took the fun right out of teaching and the quality of teaching seemed to go down while (oddly enough) the test scores went up. I know several systems around Atlanta got caught cheating, but when you tell a teacher her pay is going to be dependent upon how well her students score, what can you expect. As you well know and mentioned, all kids are different and learn by different styles and at different rates…. You would have to factor in the transient students, the special needs students etc. Having the special needs students take the same test as a regular student takes to decide to pass, is ludicrous. Many of those students cannot read, have one of the many ranges of Autism, ADHD, ADD, Bi-polar personality etc. i agree teacher’s must be certified, but I sent my daughter to a Private School here for her last 4 years as she received a 4 year scholarship. THAT made all the difference in the world. both of my kids were in Gifted classes, and both graduated college with Honors & have Masters, however, being able to have the same teacher for 3 of 4 years for the same subject was an amazing gift. The teachers took them individually from where they were at the time and forged ahead. Her 9th grade Biology text was the same exact text they were using when she got into her College Biology class… So I feel there is something to be said about allowing the money to go with the student and giving the parents more control, but teachers should still be certified. We must re-certify every 5 or 7 years by taking a set number of hours of curriculum advancement classes. We can’t just keep teaching or re-certify without taking several college classes to renew & keep us updated. (Just letting you know that it isn’t all the same over all the states) I will try to pay more attention to the NJ situation to see if they really try to hire non-certified teachers. That would be interesting to see that happen… I didn’t think schools could even get Federal money without having certified teachers. Obviously, if I understood correctly, it isn’t so up there. Good, thought provoking post. and you do have to love it, cuz you’ll never get rich… LOL 😀

  18. lindagwhite October 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    This was very interesting. Some great comparisons that really leave one astounded. Great post! And thanks for stopping by my blog: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…!

  19. bequoted October 10, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    Awesome! Those who can’t do change their attitude to that of a “doer,” get the job done & then teach.

  20. ddvicino October 12, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    Uncertified teachers? No. A free market for teachers? Yes. I think I’m going to enjoy your ruminations :).

  21. Jenn October 14, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Wonderful post 🙂 too long teachers and nurses have been considered as ‘vocations’. Finally education for these fields made University qualifications. Now they want to down grade again to non-qualified. No one stays teaching or nursing (I add the latter in comparison and because thats my field) unless they have a passion for doing so. Certainly not for the money. Yet we place our lives and our childrens lives regularly in the hands of these wonderful people. But we are not prepared to put hard earned tax dollars into education and health. Heaven forbid that our politicians and wealthy few had no choice but to send children to unqualifed teachers and nurses.

  22. lovelifelaundry October 15, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Thanks for visiting my blog. You are braver than I. I taught for 10 years and then gave it up in frustration. I now stay home and teach my brood the valuable lessons of life

  23. Z October 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Thanks for the like and are we not all teachers or supposed to be!…maybe the problem today is we have simply forgotten to learn from our mistakes (or others) and we have an unwillingness to be taught. The power of the written word is only of value if it is read by if bloggers around the world keep communicating the word will be spread and WE at least will learn from others.Pleaseeeee do not mark One of the greatest people in my life was my history teacher.

  24. Monica October 18, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    Lots of substance to chew on here.

  25. Nativegrl77 October 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by … Teachers, my mom taught. Luckily for me my eclectic 6th grade teacher, who was or wanted to be an actor gave the words sentences phrases on our books life imagery texture and expansion. Idk if Edgar was his favourite but i def remember his enthusiam for the Raven

  26. Lisa W. Rosenberg October 23, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    I have so much respect for teachers, and not just because my mother was one (though that helped!). I also believe teachers teach because they CAN do and DO LOVE what they teach, and most importantly have the desire to give and share their wisdom, though they are rarely compensated appropriately. Also teaching is doing! Great post! And thanks for the like on my blog!

  27. hjfoley October 23, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I went to boarding school in Dublin Ireland. If GBS had visited then he would have said not to much has changed.. We were thought by priests most of whom were missionary rejects, with a capacity for drink and cruelty with little teaching abality

  28. Nick October 23, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Thanks for your visit. This sounds worryingly like the public ( by which you would mean private) schools in the UK. Anyone can work in them as standards are set largely by the school, to a frequently detrimental social effect. It’s also very likely a backdoor for faith schools and other initiatives that will rob our children of knowledge. I’m enjoying your passion for the subject.

  29. K W Mundstock October 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Thank you for stopping mby my blog. I am blind and going back to school for my Master’s in History…so I can teach. I am glad there are still people out there who still believe in that really complicated (not) concept of “helping one another”. 🙂

    • gpicone October 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Good luck! And thanks for reading 🙂

  30. electionquestion2012 October 26, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    Interesting and well thought out comments. Public school teachers are in a funny spot. Other highly respected public servants – police, EMTs, fire fighters, etc. – just don’t take up as large a part of municipal budgets. Unfortunately, the size of most education budgets makes them easier targets for budget hawks. I found it very enlightening to break it down into weekly expense and compare it to other items in my budget as you did.

    I also agree with an earlier comment that much of the criticism would go away if there were a way to identify and remove ineffective teachers more easily. Unfortunately, certification in any field is not a guarantee of competence. I saw many “certified” technologists in my career who obviously passed the tests but were not able to apply the knowledge to the job.

    Also, thank you for noticing my blog. Welcome to retirement!

  31. bolttoday October 26, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    As an educator you have a beautiful way with words. Your passion bounces out like electrons all over your paragraphs capturing succintly the importance of a teacher. The reflection is that its not different on the other side of the ocean in the UK.

  32. Editor October 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by As a ‘retired’ teacher myself, I really enjoyed reading your post. I also had the opportunity to work as a university lecturer in teacher education programs (under and post grad). The consensus among those students (many of whom stayed in touch with me after graduation) agreed that (and I came to realise the same myself) the low entry requirements into these programs, the standard of teaching there and the program content left them ill prepared for the work that they would be doing. Notwithstanding that there are many wonderful lecturers at the universities and teachers in our schools, there is much work that needs to be done in both of our education systems. In one cohort of 180 pre-service education students, I had about 6 that would actually make decent teachers. Not great odds for our kids. Few had basic literacy and numeracy skills themselves, never mind a grasp of other subject areas – the issue of knowledge is not the problem, but rather their blase attitudes about their own ignorance and refusal to open their own minds to learning! Many had the idea (and were told by other lecturers) that they didn’t need to ‘know’ anything, they just needed to know where to send the kids to ‘learn for themselves’ (ie, Google It). They also had NO idea (nor were they taught much) about children’s development, child psychology or how to communicate with children – and expected that they would be walking into classrooms where the children were all compliant/ obedient and enthused about learning. Oh dear… The issues are obviously multi-faceted and multi-layered and there is so much more to discuss – but, even though I ultimately left the profession (in not a small amount of despair) I still dream of a day when we, as a society, have sorted out how to be role models, mentors and guides to our younger generations.

    • gpicone October 28, 2012 at 12:02 am #

      Thanks for reading and for your most thoughtful input. I agree with all that you have said. We as a society do not take teaching seriously and our government, especially here in NJ, is doing what it can do make it an even less serious profession. Privatization will lead us to Wal-Mart schools: cheap, easy and worthless, except of course with the wealthy private schools who seem more and more to want little to do with main stream America.

  33. Wendie Donabie October 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Thank you for liking my blog at .

    I have great respect for teachers and appreciate the time and energy they pour into our children to help them find their way in the world.

  34. pishnguyen November 2, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    I’m so glad I decided to visit your blog the first time through this particular post. It is such an excellent and thought-provoking piece of writing. I’m thankful every day for the dedicated and talented teachers who work in my daughter’s school. I know I could never have the patience or skill to do their jobs — nor would I have their creative ability to make even the most mundane tasks into something fun. I’m a firm believer that there are many, many people out there who can “do” things. But it takes a very special person to teach.

  35. 2rainydaypeople November 3, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Whats up? My instructors haven’t had a pay raise in seven years, but … we can build a bigger and better football stadium. Imagine that!! Since the alumni wouldn’t foot the bill, they sold the idea of raising student fees to the students as a pledge toward their “legacy,” had’ pep-rally’s for it, did a school-wide push on it, got the “Greeks” behind it; … yep, sold it like only a good used-car-salesman can. The ruling faculty ought to be ashamed of themselves.
    At what price a good education …. Priceless!!!!

  36. thelegacyoffaith November 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    First of all, thanks for visiting my site and liking my post.

    I agree with the sentiment of your post. Children are well worth the investment. I am a new homeschooler because it’s what my children need right now but unfortunately I live in a county where children’s ed is sorely undervalued. Funds earmarked for education are constantly raided and this is after decades under a party who claims to be pro-education.

  37. cricketmuse November 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I appreciate your passion and I am impressed by your thorough facts and researching. We had our district prelim levy meeting last night and the school board is skittish about raising the levy amount even though our schools keep winning awards with less each year. Your Greek quote hits the spot for sure. We need to protect the hearts of pur community with solid suppprt.

  38. Cheri L. November 7, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Great post! Thanks for visiting The Brass Rag. Come back and see us again soon.

  39. sabramorris November 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Thanks for the “like” today! I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  40. grandawn November 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Amen, brother! I have been a teacher for many years, and I despise that ‘saying’ – “. . . Those who can’t, teach.” What a ridiculous statement! I “do,” and I “teach.” And how ridiculous that any teachers are considered over-paid. It’s very frustrating.

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Excellent points. Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my post. 🙂

  41. I have the highest respect for teachers. I started this apple campaign for teachers. It’s on my blog. This reminds me of something that happened way back when I was in college. I was an art student taking the mandatory math class. Another art student just put his last name on his paper, which was Key. An assistant grading the papers for the professor mistakenly used his paper to grade all the others.

  42. tomkatcal November 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I also appreciate the post above, as I was trained as a teacher, though never was able to find a job. (French teachers in 1972 had two heads!) But I am constantly amazed at what teachers are asked to do today. Not just teach, but be mentors and try to have time to teach kids the basics their parents should be teaching them (or should have already done so.) And at the same time “budget cutters” want to cut teaching salaries and, as you say, open charter and all kinds of other schools, paying teachers much less. Keep up the good fight! I’m with ya.

  43. Danielle Nicholson Boudaghians November 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    My mother was an LAUSD high school instructor, turned charter school instructor. The post resonates! Of course she isn’t always on her own with the grading (though she complains about her lack of time to get it done every so often.. I’ve been coerced into grading some of those papers!

  44. jamesfantbooks November 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    I am glad that you challenged this saying. That is all that it is: a saying. There is no proof that the saying is true. The fact that a fictional character was the first to say this sentence should raise questions about its legitimacy. But people are funny in that way. They say things on a daily basis that have no merit what so ever and wonder why their lives are less than stellar. So I’m with you. Let’s challenge all of the meritless sayings and put them all to rest! Kudos to you.

  45. dbpigtail November 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    I love this part: “Many children would never be exposed to the arts, the very essence of what helps define us as humans, if it weren’t for the public schools.” I really enjoyed your article.

  46. homeandgardenwelcome November 17, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    As a member of our local school board I can’t believe some of the things that are happening in education today. In conversation with some of my friends who teach within the district we decided that our current education system focuses too much on ‘teaching’ and not enough on ‘learning’. I say that NOT because teachers are not valuable, but because our kids do not seem to be learners. You can teach until you are blue in the face, but until you can get those kids to think of themselves as learners in the classroom, not just added decoration, you are facing an uphill battle.

    I don’t know the answers, but I do think it will have to be a result of some changes in the way early elementary curriculum is taught. The lessons are so scripted and there is so little leeway for actual exploration of the subject (be it reading, mathematics, science, etc). As a result teachers are simply doling out information that the kids then relay on some kind of assessment or another. It has lead to a culture of learned helplessness on the part of our students.

    We need to find a way for the kids to absorb data, process it, and then apply it. Critical thinking skills, problem solving, and community function. That is what our kids need. We need a system that places an emphasis on how effective our kids are as learners, not how well our teachers can work through a scripted lesson.

    • gpicone November 17, 2012 at 2:34 am #

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. What I have noticed while observing grammar school children is that they are excellent at grasping the important concepts that their teachers are asking them to practice and memorize. The problem is that when these children become middle and high school students we are still asking them to demonstrate the same skills and answer the same questions and they are bored, bored, bored. Critical thinking skills are no longer taught or practiced instead it’s just testing, testing, testing and kids have had enough.

  47. Mr. Bene November 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    Great post, as always!

  48. stephglaser November 24, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    So well stated and so many great insights are included here! I just left teaching this past year. I taught high school language arts and needed a break from grading (so I related to your post from the first sentence on.) I also was becoming disillusioned and discouraged. I was getting tired of defending what schools do. The public, largely, does not get it. Thanks so much for pointing out what we do. It reminds me of how important our profession is. Thank you also for stopping by Travel Oops! Steph

  49. WordsFallFromMyEyes November 26, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    This is really interesting – a great write-up. I’m pleased you came by, as it brought me to you.

    I have an enormous respect for teachers, just want you to know. I think you play a huge role in the lives of our growing.



  1. Those Who Can and Those Who can’t « TecHunger - November 14, 2012

    […] Those Who Can and Those Who can’t. […]

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