In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

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(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Jose Kevo, emurray)

There has been a long, though declining, tradition in the United States in which public school teaching was embraced as an important public service. It was assumed that teachers provided a crucial foundation for educating young people in the values, skills and knowledge that enabled them to be critical citizens capable of shaping and expanding democratic institutions. Since the 1980s, teachers have been under an unprecedented attack by those forces that view schools less as a public good than as a private right. Seldom accorded the status of intellectuals that they deserved, they remain the most important component in the learning process for students, while serving as a moral compass to gauge how seriously a society invests in its youth and in the future. Yet, teachers are being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the authority of security guards. Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.

I love teachers and teaching. That has to be put up front, especially since I am often quick to criticize education policy, administration, and even some groups of teachers. While I reserve the right to criticize the actions or in-actions of some, I really do respect teachers and the profession (yes, profession) of teaching.

Read the article to better understand why I worry about the profession and the teachers who make up the profession.

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