"Teaching Our Children Can Be a Profession" is an article by Joel Klein in USA Today. In this article, Klein explains different things he would change in schools to make them better. He lists several thoughts, such as having more school choices, using technology, and starting an education before a child is five years old, but he focuses on the main problem being that teaching needs to be professionalized. The different points he makes are as follows:
- Better teachers should be hired based on their academic training and success.
- Seniority should be abolished because it makes it almost impossible to remove a bad teacher from his or her job and because all teachers are paid the same regardless of how well they do their jobs.
- Teachers should establish their own standards for teaching and removing teachers that aren't up to par. They would also be able to move up a career ladder based on merits and testing. Teachers would support the abandonment of mandatory public school assignments.
I fully agree with Klein's first argument that teachers should be hired based on academic training and success. He mentions that schools in 23 states do not have math or reading education programs. He goes on to say later that teachers should be hired from the top 1/3 of graduates. I think this is not a bad idea because teaching is so important. If it weren't for teachers, students who are graduating as the nations top lawyers and doctors wouldn't be where they are today. It only makes sense for well-educated and intelligent people to be hired to share their knowledge with children.
Next, I also support that seniority should not dictate who is allowed to keep their job in the event that layoffs are required. Knowing that I'll be the newest teacher in school, but also knowing I will strive to be one of the best teachers there, it doesn't seem fair to me that I could be doing a great job but get laid off because an older but less competent teacher has been there longer. Besides that, as I was saying earlier, teaching is important and we should be striving for greatness. I don't know that this would actually happen, but hypothetically, what if a teacher were to slack off once she reached a good spot in her seniority? Her students would no longer be receiving the education they deserve and that would reflect back on the school and everyone else on the staff.
Lastly, I am not sure how I feel about everything Klein mentioned in his last paragraph. In my opinion, teachers creating their own board to police the teachers and terminate incompetent ones would create an unnecessary amount of friction in schools. Teachers are supposed to be working together and getting along with one another, so I don't think leaving it up to them to judge each other would be the best solution. However, I do agree that teachers should be able to move up the ladder and be promoted. Once again, this promotes good teaching habits. I also think it could be beneficial for students if their parents were able to choose which school they wanted them to attend based on the academics rather than being placed somewhere. Private schools operate this way and it works out well, so I don't see why it couldn't be something that the public school system could try to implicate.
Overall, Joel Klein has some very good ideas about ways to improve teaching by making it into a profession. This career should be well-respected. We students go through a lot of stress, testing, and schoolwork to graduate into this field and should all strive to be the best teachers there are. These ideas would help to encourage teachers to do well and promote the rest of the population to view us as well-rounded, intelligent people.