Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Why doesn't the U.S. value educators?
I like talking about educators. They have one of the most interesting jobs out there - almost cartoonishly entrancing in some cases. I wondered before if some people can't be educated, and now I have another question: Why do teachers get such lousy pay? The NY Times says U.S. teachers rank 11th in the world in salaries, which is better than I thought, but still very low for all the hours they work.
So why? Why are police viewed as heroes for saving lives, but teaching, which affects far more children, is seen by many as a back-up profession? Next to your parents, teachers have some of the greatest potential to pushing you towards career excellence. People always credit their teachers for their success. They spend up to eight hours a day with our kids, after all. We value our babysitters and day care when our kids are younger, so why don't teacher salaries match this interest when our kids are older? We value teachers, but we hate paying them - or, more accurately, the idea of paying tuition. Someone else should pay for this, not me.
My friend Ilan says we don't value teaching because we think that anyone can do it. They're just talking from a book, right? Anyone can do that, right? Well apparently not, since you need a Master's equivalent before you're allowed in a public school.
I don't know where this is all going, but it just seems that it says a lot about our society that we undervalue our teachers so much. Teaching is probably about as glamorous as plumbing in the U.S., and yet it pays much, much worse.