Thursday, March 3, 2011

Not a Good Time to be a Teacher

No matter where you stand on the states’ budget crises, one thing is for certain – our educational system seems to be paying the price. I’m not so much talking about teachers having to contribute to their pensions or health care (and we’ll stay away from the sticky subject of collective bargaining and unions!). As a private sector ‘minion’ I’ve seen decreased job security, decreased company matching for retirement contributions, skyrocketing health care insurance costs, and frankly, have been expected to produce more for the same or less money. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that part of the equation. But where I do feel trepidation is when I hear that at the top of most states’ budget cut list is education. I’m not an economist, and I’m sure there are details regarding educational spending that could use some attention. But when I hear that the average American child is ranked something like 23rd in the world in science and math, when I interact with young people who scarcely know if cabbage is a fruit or a vegetable (seriously, this just happened to me last week at the grocery check out line–I didn’t ask if he had ever had cabbage juice), I get gravely concerned. If the public educational system is run financially inefficiently, then I think a major restructuring should be in order. But is anyone doing this? Does anyone care? The last generation sold out this one in order to make things easier for today. I pray we are not now continuing the cycle. But I am not very optimistic.