In a 2016 national survey of college freshman, the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2 percent intend to major in education compared to 11 percent in 2000, 10 percent in 1990 and 11 percent in 1971. Combine that with poor rates of teacher retention in public schools and I think it’s safe to inform Houston that we have a problem. Baby boomers are leaving the profession and there’s no one coming up to fill those spots.
Anyone care to guess why this is happening?
Let’s start with the fact that we are raising a generation of students who feel entitled and believe teachers are powerless to control them because of litigation threats. Students have little respect for their teachers because their parents show little respect.
Parents don’t want to hear the truth about their child so bad grades are the fault of the teachers and not due to a lack of effort by the student. As a result, grade inflation is sometimes easier than arguing to deaf ears. It must get tiring for teachers trying to raise both the student and the parent. How sad is that?
So why enter a field where salaries fall well behind other professions also requiring advanced degrees?
Why enter a field where student/teacher creativity has now been replaced by standardized testing which changes every few years in order to benefit those marketing the product at the expense of children.
Why enter a field where we make evaluations based on a single test instead of a body of work over a period of months? Because everyone is a great test taker, right?
Why enter a field where teacher bashing has become a popular pastime headed up by some ignorant politicians whose only purpose is promoting their retaliation agenda against a union who decided not to back their election campaigns?
The students entering college today are the generation of no child left behind. They are the ones who remember teachers opening a manual and reading/teaching from it with no sense of creativity allowed. Young people especially in this age of technology, want to feel they can be creative in whatever field they choose to pursue. They’ve already experienced the teaching field from the other side of the desk and they’re not impressed.
Finland probably has the finest education system in the world because in large part, they pay their educators well, respect the profession and allow for creativity while keeping the workload and class sizes low. As a result, their system attracts some of the best students to the teaching field.
Most people think teachers are overpaid with lots of time off, short work days and great benefits. If anyone thinks that’s true, I’d ask you to go up to a dozen or so teachers and ask them if they would encourage anyone to choose the teaching profession today. Considering the perception that many people have of their easy lives, their answers will probably surprise you. If you’re brave enough to stick around they may even elaborate their reasons for you.
We have an education problem in this country that no amount of standardized testing is going to correct. It’s like saying the Johnstown flood could have been prevented with a patch of concrete.
Lets stop the insults, begin holding our children accountable and support ways to educate our children properly. Because as we all know….
a mine es a terble ting to wayste.