Making “my child the teacher” as impressive as “my child the doctor”

When it comes to bragging rights, most parents would still prefer to announce, “My child the lawyer,” rather than, “My child the teacher.”

Would such attitudes change if the U.S. teaching corps became more selective?

The American Federation of Teachers is endorsing an entrance exam for new teachers similar to the bar exam that novice lawyers must pass and the medical boards that newly minted doctors must pass.

“It’s time to do away with a common rite of passage into the teaching profession — whereby newly minted teachers are tossed the keys to their classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they and their students sink or swim. This is unfair to both students and their teachers, who care so much but who want and need to feel competent and confident to teach from their first day on the job,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Lawmakers pay little attention to the fact that the world’s highest-achieving education systems, including Finland and Singapore, improved their schools through concerted campaigns to entice the brightest high school graduates to teaching. And they invested in their training.

“The United States has for many years prized cheap teachers over good teachers,” wrote Marc Tucker, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy, in his Education Week blog. “Whenever there is a shortage of teachers, we respond by lowering our already intolerably low standards. We are constantly assigning teachers trained in one subject to classes in a subject about which they know little or nothing. We not only invest very little in teacher training, but we have for a very long time expected our schools of education to produce budget surpluses for use in other parts of the university that we evidently care more about.”

In its new report, “Raising the Bar: Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession,” the AFT calls for a “universal and rigorous bar that gauges mastery of subject-matter knowledge.”

“Teaching has always had a low bar and a wide gate,” said University of Pennsylvania researcher Richard Ingersoll, who studies teacher turnover, teacher shortages and the status of teaching as a profession.

“So, making this a less-easy line of work is all for the good. But it’s really only half the story,” he said in a telephone interview. “You also have to raise the reward.”

Ingersoll sees value in enhancing the stature of teaching because, he said, “The perception remains that anyone can teach, even dummies, which doesn’t make it an attractive choice for bright undergraduates.”

A sheen of selectivity will appeal to top college students, he said. “But those bright students are going to want to know that the rewards are there.”

Historically, raising the bar to enter teaching reduces the supply of teachers, especially males, said Ingersoll. “Everyone can do the calculus. If you make it harder, students are going to say, ‘I can go to law school and get a much higher salary than I can in teaching.”’

When Finland sought to improve the under-performance of its schools in the 1970s and 1980s, it not only upgraded standards and admissions for teacher candidates, it also raised salaries. It’s now more difficult to get into a teaching program than law or medicine.

After gaining its independence, Singapore resolved to produce the best-educated students in the world and began by elevating teaching into a highly paid, highly prestigious profession. Only top academic achievers are eligible for teacher education programs, and they earn salaries as they train, said Ingersoll.

Raising the salary scale in education posed less of a challenge in Finland and Singapore, where education is centralized, than it would in the United States, where nearly 15,000 school districts operate as independent fiefdoms and where local property taxes are a common — albeit inequitable — funding mechanism.

“Singapore could just decide that the whole nation was going to do it. Here, it is hard to have such systemic reform,” said Ingersoll. “You would have to go through one district at a time to raise the reward”

“Given the reward we offer now,” he said, “we actually get a higher quality teacher than we deserve.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

137 comments Add your comment


December 22nd, 2012
6:50 am

Economics 101. On average,you get what you pay for. It would have to be up to the individual states to enact this type of reform because of the vast number of local districts nationally. But that would require a political focus and will to actually do it. I would expect northeastern & far western states to be in the forefront were it to catch on because they, as a whole, have demonstrated over the decades that they place high value in education along with a willingness to pay for it. There is a problem in that for the southeast however. There is a mindset here that resists northern state influence in political decision-making, be it transportation or education to name but two. New York City moves ten times the number of commuters as Atlanta metro every day, TEN TIMES. Do they have traffic problems? Yes, but no more so that what we have with a tenth of the population. But do we learn from how they have implemented their resources? No. That same can be said for education. Rightly or wrongly, SAT scores are compared every year and the northeast kicks the collective butts of the southeast. Do we look to see how we could improve based on how education is approached there? No, we instead pride ourselves on “efficient” per-pupil costs in comparison. Education is not manufacturing, students are not widgets and we cannot return “defective” parts to the source. But I digress. If individual states need be responsible for educational reform, don’t look for Georgia to be in the forefront. All indications are that we will lag behind the leaders because of a fear to embrace something not “southern.”

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
7:17 am

Yes I imagine saying “my child the teacher” is kind of hard to say with pride considering the new DSM-IV diagnosis of “singularly insane, with no hope of redemption” consists of a single criteria, that being a “college age youth expressing a desire to become a public school teacher.”

The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
7:23 am

We already have a test that is supposed to certify that teachers are properly trained. Teachers on this blog claim it is very easy and yet future and current teachers still pay someone else to take the test, which, of course, is illegal.
Teachers make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.
Raising salaries for current teachers would only reward many bad teachers currently in the system.

What we need are FOUR things:

VERY STRICT STANDARDS for earning a teaching degree from a college and an accompanying test that is very difficult to pass that certifies the teacher is qualified.

OUTSTANDING TEACHER EVALUATION TOOLS which include feedback from parents and test scores from children. This needs to be accompanied by a process that is easy to use to fire teachers for poor performance.

THIRD PARTY STUDENT TESTING: Bring back a nation-wide student skills test and administer it through a disinterested, honest, third party entity with all school employees out of the building and out of the way during test preparation and test taking so there is no cheating.

REWARDS for great teachers. AFTER a teacher passes the test and has proven he or she can teach and satisfy stakeholders, then pile on the bonuses. For a real, honest to goodness outstanding teacher — give him or her an extra 20K a year.

COLORBLIND admission policies with NO affirmative action. Open the floodgates to ALL races and genders. Allow the best and the brightest to flourish and teach. If that means that the best and the brightest are all Asian men who bubble to the top of the candidates, so be it. I don’t give a rats’ tinker’s darn what race and what gender my childrens’ teachers are — I just want the man or woman standing in front of my child to be educated, can speak and model correct behavior and knows how to teach kids in several ways so that ALL can learn.


Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
7:24 am


The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Notice the various Republican legislatures who post here from time to time all have one thing in common? That the party of “law and order” and “personal responsibility” has been absolutely spineless when it comes to supporting classroom teachers in matters of discipline.

Can they explain why they haven’t come up with a single discipline initiative that has had a direct, tangible effect on giving teachers the authority to hold students accountable for either behavior or academics?

Can they explain why, if based on their lack of support for discipline in the schools, they would be (in their own supporters words) the epitome of a “do gooder, bed wetting liberal”?

South Georgia Retired Educator

December 22nd, 2012
7:31 am

Yes, a real change is long overdue, but we can’t expect anything worthwhile to happen until our political leaders see the need and dedicate money and effort to make students and teachers a budget priority. And if such a dramatic change came to Georgia, it would take time and pain to make it work. In the long run, of course, this would lift students and teachers to an unprecedented level of achievement, and Georgia could compete with the world easily in every category. This idea would work, but not with the leaders we now have or the attitude of a skeptical public which now pervades our state. Meanwhile, the years roll on, everyone wrings their hands about the state of public education, and teachers are made the scapegoats. It’s sad.

William Casey

December 22nd, 2012
7:44 am

Crankee-Yankee nailed it: “All indications are that we will lag behind the leaders because of a fear to embrace something not “southern.”

As long as a team from the SEC wins the National Championship in football, all will be well in Georgia citizens’ minds regarding education. (I coached high school football, basketball and baseball BTW.) “Book learning” is an alien concept, not to be trusted.

Georgia has a plantation mentality concerning its labor in general, especially true about teachers. I can’t imagine Georgia school districts doing anything remotely important enough to attract many first rate brains. Money is important but, for smart people, respect is even more important. Can’t see Georgia doing much. “Go Dawgs!”

bootney farnsworth

December 22nd, 2012
7:54 am

considering the state of the profession, I would do everything possible to steer my kids away from making the same mistake I did. public service is a black hole with less respect from society than ladies of the evening.


December 22nd, 2012
8:08 am

I agree with just about everything in this article. Trouble is, it’s extremely short on practicality.

bootney farnsworth

December 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

@ crankee

while I see your point, I still disagree. in my years in the higher ed system we have adopted every new trend coming from the north and the west, and it still gets us nowhere.

reason? none of these trends actually focus on effective teaching.

I am one of those who strongly believes southern education requires a southern solution. the culture here is very different than north or west, and frankly we are gonna fight like hell against anything we percieve as being shoved down our throats – especially from the north.

we have a different racial dynamic here
we are much poorer than other parts of the nation
we are the one group of US society its still considered OK to ridicule
we strongly distrust central authority

agree or disagree, it is what it is. telling us how it was done in Cleveland isn’t gonna get anything done. frankly, Cleveland ain’t all that great itself. despite what many think, we’re not dumb, we’re southern. talking at us gets a bless your heart (ie, a polite go suck a frog) and we go about our business.

if our yankee cousins ever tried talking TO us…..but IMO the Mayans have a better chance of being right before that will happen.


December 22nd, 2012
8:49 am

“Making “my child the teacher” as impressive as “my child the doctor””

So, you want a teacher to go through four years of college in an extremely difficult curriculum, such as microbiology, get accepted into a highly selective program which has a rejection rate of 90%+, go through an additional four years in a doctoral degree program, 3-7 years in a residency program, and passage of an exam board.

And then, they will go out and teach kids 1+1=2?

ROFLMAO. Maureen, you’re too much….

Don’t know how teachers are thought of in metro areas, but in rural Ga, teaching is one of the few professional level jobs that pay a decent wage.

Consider this:
XYZ Corporation announced they were going to expand into Podunk County, GA. They were going to bring about $250,000,000 in capital expenditures and employ about 1300 people with an annual payroll of over $42,000,000. Of those 1300 positions, approximately 475 were going to be professional level positions with an average annual salary in excess of $50,000 per year.

That announcement would


December 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

Hit submit too soon….

Anyway, that announcement would bring the governor and a host of other politicians out of the woodwork in celebration. Hell, we’d probably have a parade for XYZ Corp.

But that’s what the local school system means for most rural counties. They are typically the largest employer in the county and have the most high paying jobs.

Most parents in rural GA would love to have their children become a teacher.


December 22nd, 2012
9:02 am

bootney farnsworth
December 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

we have a different racial dynamic here – not really that much different from Patterson or Newark, NJ, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philly…

we are much poorer than other parts of the nation – so how do you suppose to fix that? Maybe investing in education?

we are the one group of US society its still considered OK to ridicule – as are Jews, Polaks, the Irish, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, etc. someone is always ridiculing someone else, southerners delight in ridiculing northerners.

we strongly distrust central authority – who doesn’t? What would you call the GA Legislature?

The war between the states ended almost 150 years ago, it is time to move on.

“we have adopted every new trend coming from the north and the west, and it still gets us nowhere…
I am one of those who strongly believes southern education requires a southern solution.”

Therein lies the problem, IMHO, a working system is modified before implementation to reflect a “southern solution” and then is discarded because the modified construct does not reap similar results.

A case in point would be Carl Glickman’s Program for School Improvement out of UGA back in the ’90’s. Initially embraced by many systems in GA & producing tangible, positive results, it fell out of favor when a cadre of administrators in a leading county disagreed with his personal teaching methodology and so bad-mouthed a de-centralized way of implementing change. We are the poorer for that.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

December 22nd, 2012
9:10 am

I can hear all the arguments now:

“If you make it more difficult to enter the profession, you will exclude lots of well-intentioned people who would make otherwise great teachers.”

“More testing doesn’t prove more knowledge (ironic isn’t that)”

“All that fancy education and testing isn’t necessary just to be a teacher”

“The problem is the students/parents/administrators, not the teachers. That’s who you need to fix not us”

How do I know? Because I’m a nurse and we can’t even establish a minimum point of entry to the profession because other nurses fight it tooth and nail. We hate education and standards, especially here in the South. So we will continue to get lousy teachers and we will continue to get lousy nurses because we don’t WANT the best and brightest in these profession; we LIKE our second-class citizen status. Without it, we can’t continue to complain about being victims.

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
9:16 am

Bootney, you are one bitter Betty. You are always angry and resentful. It scares the heck out of me that someone as angry and resentful as you owns and uses a gun.
You are the one we are afraid of.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:18 am

The replies to this stimulating post are going to be all over the place. I think I will start calling Lee, “Lee Likes Podunk.” Lee thinks the whole world is Podunk, Georgia. Lee’s vision of education is producing rats to run on a wheel as site workers for corporation XYZ that comes to town. I can if they can push a button on a machine, keep their fingers out of conveyor belt, and load trucks, than we’re “golden” so to speak. Maybe LLP (Lee Likes Podunk) and codify a required three word vocabulary for the students of Podunk, “Push (button), Stop, Push (pallet truck).” Oh wait, that’s a two word vocabulary with one variance. Well, that’s more vocabulary than the current New World Order approach requires.

other news:
1. to change gate is wide to gate is narrow, test would be? GRE type test? vocabulary, math, and logic?
2. the real crime going on is the pablum taught in education training programs and lack of specialization in subject area. Go get trained in teaching college how to teach HS biology or physics, you will not be studying any of this, but lot of trendy squishy “methods” and then there is the bucket-load of disembodied statistics study used as filler.
3. Even if you had a high-grade teacher corp, educated people do not like being harassed in the workplace. This “Broad Academy churn & burn” and Arne Duncan “Run As Fast As You Can to My Mandate” as outside management propaganda is a disincentive to professionalism.

Therefore, it is a three part system?
1. quality of teacher corp
2. integrity of teacher training schools (which are also requirement and gatekeeper)
3. quality of government management.

At the moment, this overall topic stimulates my interest in “What is good public service management?” Why can you run teachers cuckoo with made-up initiatives, but not do the same to people who run the water department or build the highways? Why are teachers, schools, and principals targets for brainwashing and some outside super-jerk dictating contrived themes on these professional level workers? That’s my message to the propagandists and meddlers who use authority to intrude on the professional workplace – get out of my work place now! Stop the “round up” meeting so you can spray everybody with poison. Why is it in the USA that the minute anything is organised, it is immediately strategized and exploited by outside “big power” who want to extract wealth and make mandates?

Ga Tech Rules

December 22nd, 2012
9:22 am

Great idea, but “grandfathering in” the existing teachers would be counter productive, they will demand the big pay hikes the new, more qualified teachers are granted. A much better idea is to make the existing teachers compete for their jobs with the new grads, but retain separate pay scales for the “grandfathered” group and the new higher quality teachers.

mother of 2

December 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

There is hope down here in the south! Several of my friends who have very bright children (think top 25% in their graduating class) have children thinking about education as a major in college. I’ve noticed that these students are all girls, but bright girls who really want to teach for a living. Their parents support the decision to teach, but insist that these students attend public colleges because of the return on investment.

I have to agree with several of the above comments about teaching in the northeast vs teaching in the south. Teachers in New England, NY and NJ make significantly more money than teachers in the south.

Ga Tech Rules

December 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

If we just do away with the requirement that teachers have a degree in education in order to be certified as a teacher, changing the requirement to at least a BA in any subject, we will greatly improve teacher quality. Why? Because job opportunities for highly educated people are shrinking, as proof I offer this:

English Teacher

December 22nd, 2012
9:31 am

During residency, doctors must sink or swim. In fact, it is significantly more rigorous than anything a teacher would ever need to do. Similar for young attorneys – I worked for a large corporate law firm and saw first hand the unbelieveable hours associates were expected to keep. Many of them slept at work for days; working 18 hours on a regular basis. Both professions certainly expect newbies to pay dues and make it on their own strengths. If they can’t make it, then they aren’t cut out for the profession.
Teaching, while important (who is teaching those doctors and lawyers?) and noble, is nowhere near as “life or death” as medicine or even law. I don’t see this profession ever being on par with either, and it really shouldn’t be – it just isn’t as rigorous or as stressful a job.
As far as mentoring new teachers – perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing for new teachers to be thrown in and expected to swim. I learned how to be self sufficient, budget my time, and damn well had to figure out a way to reach my students. And I did, without a lot of help. It made me a stronger teacher in the long run.
Teacher education programs need to be more selective, yes, and there needs to be ways for those who wish to stay in the classroom to take on leadership positions and extra responsibilites to make additional money.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

PS I’d have a differing sentiment if I hadn’t just spoken to a local professional who told me their 3rd grader kid’s math book is changed and it is utterly confusing and the teacher is candidly complaining to about being force-directed to use a math teaching technique that is not effective. Arne and company are skeezers-to-the-max when it comes to curriculum. And that’s the problem.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:44 am

English Teacher your post amuses. What makes you think this sadistic work requirement for young US doctors / lawyers is effective? The result is then that they create an environment where they they think they are a super-caste. In my experience, outside of the US, doctors are a lot more accessible, relaxed, and a lot closer to regular people in both heart and soul, and providing services. And what about the part of the USA has 20x as many doctors as anywhere else? The state of Georgia probably has more lawyers in it than the country of Japan. Expecting professionals to be overworked masochists sleeping at work does not equal a wholesome overall outcome. And many you work in decent circumstances, plenty of teachers are keeping long hours and getting run ragged, and do not have salaries where they can pay someone else to clean their home, fix their car, fix their house, and take care of their yard. One teacher friend I have owns a house, the place is slowing turning derelict as he does not have the time or resources to keep it up.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:45 am

typo correction: And what about the part that the USA has 20x as many lawyers as anywhere else?


December 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

You’d need to set the standards for becoming a teacher much higher than they are now. An IQ of at least one standard deviation above normal, which is only about 116, should be the minimum requirement for teaching. f course, only about 16% of the population has an IQ of 116 or higher and it is still lower than the average doctor,engineer or lawyer, but, if the teaching profession wants to be respected as rigorous and demanding, then it needs to weed out those people who went to college looking for an easy major.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:03 am

Long ago it has been said to do away with “education” degrees as meeting requirement for a BA/ BS 4-year degree. I could see an exception with “elementary education” degree. Point is, I think looking at what the teaching colleges are doing is fertile territory. In the US, there are like some teaching colleges that are excellent, and many are an expensive exercise in attending info-mercials. That’s what I think of my MAT (Masters Arts in Teaching) degree. I’m almost embarrassed of it. And there’s plenty of “players” in these teaching colleges, politically placed deans, ex-teachers pushing trendy materials, well, much of it is vacant garbage is what it is. Oh and those gawd-awful corporate single textbooks they build a class around. Seen “scholarship” is those textbooks, unattributed, anonymous corporate authorship, embedded branding in the articles.


December 22nd, 2012
10:06 am

“The Unites States has for many years prized cheap teachers over good teachers”

And, you may be sure, those in power will fight as hard as possible to continue hiring the cheap teachers.

Why, you ask?

Because money talks and BS walks.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:09 am

That’s the problem with the “concerned public” commenting on quality of teachers. The “concerned public” does not know what is going on in the teacher training programs.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:11 am

USA: twice as many lawyers and half as many doctors.


December 22nd, 2012
10:14 am

Pride and Joy, why would you include parent comments in evaluation? If you include student performance data, and the data is good, why do we care how the parents felt about it? If the student performance data is bad, again, why do we care how the parents felt about it?

One of the mistakes that most of the reformers are making is assuming that parents know best or are able to act consistently in the present in ways compatible with the long term best interest of the kids or society. The problem is that other measures indicate that they don’t or can’t. On one extreme we’ve got the parents behind the worsening child obesity epidemic who apparently can’t follow through consistently in attending to vital health interest of their kids and at the other we’ve got the over-involved, co-dependent helicopter parents who seem unable to allow their children to experience the kinds of low-grade short term failures or disappointment necessary to become resilient and independent workers.

While I firmly believe that parents have the right to raise their kids anyway they want to short of abuse, I don’t think that society should have to subsidize their bad decisions by giving them input in teacher evaluation. Decide what we want from teachers, figure out how to measure it, and do it the same way for everyone. Don’t set up a system that requires teachers to pander to a particular set of students or parents for the sake of their evaluation.


December 22nd, 2012
10:15 am

Gosh, I’m glad my doctor doesn’t work only the educational calendar. I think he’d love 2 months off in the summer! He could do his personal and professional on-going training then, too.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:17 am

“Teachers make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.”

And that’s why so many are leaving? Because of the quality of the work/life balance?

And where is the talk of improving administrators when according to at least one study they have the lowest scores on the GRE?

Oh I forgot, it’s a lot easier to “fix the teacher” than it is solve the problems

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:21 am

Here is a pleasant video about a land that has universal healthcare and basically charges no tuition for university.

USA is a colony of debt-slavery. Debt-base education system, debt based distribution of medical. the debt-based higher-education can’t hold up. Already a trillion dollars of higher-ed debt existent from the prior 10-20 years? Already it’s at something like $30k per US citizen. I don’t think we get a perspective on this from the US media.

Inman Parker

December 22nd, 2012
10:22 am

Education majors have the lowest SAT scores of ANY college major. Why should we reward mediocrity?

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:29 am

Hey Inman, if you want to jump it a rank lower, look at marketing majors, the folks who graduate and then invent multiple pricing systems for retail stores, required “store cards” to buy at the advertised price, and then go sell your personal information, name and address for purposes of solicitation. Marketing majors – hail to thee.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:32 am

It would be helpful if we had a “document bank” or “data bank” for evidence to support the various assertions in commentary. I’ll add this as item #101 on my 100 things to do list.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:36 am

@Inman we don’t need so much to reward them, as empower. Keep the salaries the same, shift the balance of power from the chronically disruptive students to the teacher, abolish the education monolith that begot us the likes of Arne Duncan, Beverly “the Atlanta Miracle” Hall, Rod “the Houston Miracle” Paige, Crawford “RICO” Lewis and a whole host of other incompetents, and I think you’ll find the majority of educators are competent enough to do what admittedly, isn’t rocket science.

Improve the teaching conditions and you might actually attract a better class of teachers, which we should strive to do anyway. But what sane and informed soul right now would ever consider a career where you are held accountable for “managing success” but given zero authority to do so?

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:41 am

yes Beverly the current system is a cuckoo clock of cognitive dissonance. highly stressful for everyone involved.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:45 am

From Private Citizen:

3. Even if you had a high-grade teacher corp, educated people do not like being harassed in the workplace. This “Broad Academy churn & burn” and Arne Duncan “Run As Fast As You Can to My Mandate” as outside management propaganda is a disincentive to professionalism.

Exactly Do you think any college student with any measure of critical thinking skills, once they become educated on the likes of Duncan and Broad, is going to want to make a career of teaching?

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:56 am

“After gaining its independence, Singapore resolved to produce the best-educated students in the world and began by elevating teaching into a highly paid, highly prestigious profession. Only top academic achievers are eligible for teacher education programs, and they earn salaries as they train, said Ingersoll.”

You know Maureen, something tells me…a student in Singapore is not allowed to skip an assignment, tell the teacher “F-ck you, b-tch!” when the teacher inquires why the assignment wasn’t done, physically shove the teacher as they storm out of the class, only to have an administrator walk the student back five minutes later with zero consequences, but instead a pointed rejoinder to the teacher in regard to “classroom management” as wells as instructions to the teacher that the child should get 50% credit with a chance for make up the rest.

I highly doubt that happens in Singapore. I know Maureen used to believe (or tout the party line) that dynamic didn’t occur here, especially under the illustrious Beverly Hall, but now she knows better due to “Getting Schooled” by the readers.

Sometimes, oftentimes it really isn’t the teacher. As James Carville might say, “It’s the discipline, Stupid!”

One gets the feeling, along with improving their teaching staff, that Singapore is completely aware of the importance of discipline, unlike Broad and Duncan.

old teach

December 22nd, 2012
11:10 am

When I decided to become a teacher, it wasn’t because of the money. I did it because I wanted to help people. And I certainly wasn’t wealthy, either. (I’m definitely still not.) Also, I’ve never regretted going into teaching; I have enjoyed impacting the lives of my high-schoolers in a positive way. In summary, to stay in teaching and to make it a career, I think you must love the kids and love helping them. It also helps tremendously if you can explain it on “their level.” The money helps a lot, but it won’t keep you in the classroom if you hate it.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
11:19 am

In summary, to stay in teaching and to make it a career, I think you must work in an environment that does not harass workers.


December 22nd, 2012
11:20 am

I graduated with a 3.7 in English Literature at Georgia State. I was there on a merit scholarship that I received from my impressive high school career. I received a M.A.T from Mercer with a 4.0. It was a struggle to pass my internship (student teaching hours). I created and taught a three week unit plan for that was 60 pages long. It was a success, and I had the percentage rates of improvement to prove it. I had the rigors of teaching the subject down…it was in classroom management that I was weak. That is where teachers sink or swim. A person can be the brightest graduating student in the class, but if they can’t handle the discipline problems two or three students will throw at them, then they will not make it. And frankly, there is not enough “prestige” in the world that will make it worthwhile to be a teacher for any but altruistic motives. Can you imagine a surgeon trying to complete an operation while the nurses complained, “I know which artery to clamp, you don’t need to disrespect me. Why do I have to hold the muscles open when she gets to monitor the heartrate. Oh, so she gets an easier job. I should get extra pay. Why do I have to count the sponges again, I already counted them once. What, you think I’m an idiot, I don’t know how to count. I’m not f- stupid.”


December 22nd, 2012
11:26 am

I didn’t know anyone was proud to say their child was a lawyer. I would much rather say, “my child the teacher”. Here’s a riddle for you: What’s the difference between a dead lawyer in the middle of the road and a dead possum in the middle of the road? There are skid marks in front of the possum.

As far as doctors go, they save lives. You can’t compete with that. But most people are proud of their child the teacher. My sister-in-law is a teacher and her family is very proud of her. Only the most shallow, materialistic people would only be proud of their child if they make a lot of money. My daughter is an artist and is usually unemployed but I often say, “my daughter the artist”.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
11:31 am

“A person can be the brightest graduating student in the class, but if they can’t handle the discipline problems two or three students will throw at them, then they will not make it”

And why should they have to? Why should they have to “handle” students that administrators often can’t handle one on one much less with a full class to attend to?

As I’ve asked Maureen before (she refused to answer) if her job depended on getting 20 interns up to snuff to work at a newspaper and three continually disrespected the process and she had a choice of:

A) unlimited training in “classroom management” or

B) the removal of those students whose actions warrant it

what would she choose? I think we all know the answer and I suspect it’s why Maureen wouldn’t answer it, because it doesn’t go with the “fix the teacher” narrative (although I must admit she has become more receptive to a balanced point of view as she has learned from posters on this blog)

Again, we would never expect a doctor to put up with a nurse that does such. If a police officer is subjected to such, we fully support the officer in handcuffing the suspect and remaining them to custody. Yet why does that same 18 year old get to openly disrespect the teacher with relative impunity?


December 22nd, 2012
11:32 am

I’m a teacher, and I’m fairly certain that my parents are proud to say so. My mom was a teacher, she retired after 30 years. I graduated from Georgia Tech. I’m hardly the ignorant boob that people seem to imply many teachers are. I will be getting out of the profession as soon as I can. Crap pay, no responsibility from the parents or students. And now some nuts want me to arm myself to protect their children?

No thanks.

And I love the folks who talk about what a cushy job it is. Really? Why the heck aren’t you in education then if it’s such a cakewalk?


December 22nd, 2012
11:41 am

“If we just do away with the requirement that teachers have a degree in education in order to be certified as a teacher,”

Uhh, what? That isn’t a requirement. I work as a teacher and I don’t have a degree in education. Many teachers don’t have degrees in education. I have a degree in the subject I teach.


December 22nd, 2012
11:45 am

Can you say APS…..lots of advanced degrees but all are administrators and the advanced degrees are largely worthless except to get a higher salary for make-work activities and attending conferences at the school’s expense. The issues identified in APS remain the same for most of the inner city systems….passing, looking good, feeling good and maximizing the self-esteem of all students are the priorities…..reading writing, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, etc just don’t make the cut.
Just to show you that educating can be done in the inner city…algebra, no less, check out John Kitna, ex-pro football player. He is teaching algebra to kids who would normally be lost and out of school. Coaches football and teaches algebra but his pupils “toe the line” and the discover that they are learning something they would never have encountered in their lives.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

Not that I’m advocating such, but I wonder what would have a more telling effect on the chronically rude, disrespectful and disruptive students who hijack the learning process in a school; a dozen “highly qualified” Singapore instructors or a dozen Singapore canes?


December 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

In my grandfathers hiarchy of family values, number one was the choosing of a proper mate. Number two was choosing a career or profession that suits you. . Number three was choosing a good farm.
Forsyth County has a pre-teacher program so that the aspiring teacher can get his/her feet wet with actual teaching in a lower grade. Some take this approach to see if teaching is really their thing. Then our teachers are supported by their Principals, Superintendant and School Board. Guess what? We have one of the best school systems in the Country and proud of it.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:01 pm

Hey Lee, I find it notable that you do not expect rural areas to produce their own dentists, doctors, and civil engineers. So everyone sits on their backside expecting Jesus to show up in the form of an outside corporation XYZ setting up shop or some yankee doctor to treat grandma for her heart arythmia? Sounds like rural Georgia is filled with a bunch of vacant lazy slobs. Add to that “player” school administration and there you have it. And some arrogant racist teachers who have little vision for their charges. And then add Arne with his righteous cognitive dissonance forced confusion and a couple nitwits at the top of the state to sign it all into law. But that’s okay because the one or two doctors in town enjoy feeling like Gods looking down their collective nose at the literally dumb peasants. I have a friend whose (deceased) father was one of these rural royalty Georgia doctors. To this day, he still thinks they’re royalty or something. Somebody called Georgia a bunch of be-knighted ^$%$% and they’re right.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:07 pm

eddy, Where Jon Kitna lives (Tacoma, Washington) the state just legalised marijuana. That means the police will be re-purposed and there is going to be a bunch of money from taxing / regulation and less people put in incarceration. Good move, Washington, and Kitna will see it in his building, materials, and compensation.