As the new school year begins, I wonder why the United States continues to struggle to provide an extraordinary education for all of our children. The Pearson’s Global Education Index Ranks U.S. 14th in Learning and Skill Attainment and reported – “Pacific Asian countries have continued to outrank their peers because of an effective education system and “culture of accountability,” according to the report. The research showed that teachers, students, and parents took equal responsibility for their roles in education. These countries also valued teachers and schools significantly higher than other nations. The report attributes this to a commitment to attracting good teachers into the profession and giving them the social status of other professionals, setting clear goals and expectations within the education system, and providing autonomy for education professionals to reach those goals.”
With many teacher friends, I know that they work very hard for many hours, care about their students, and often feel abused and overworked. Joe Nocera’s recent Op-ed in the New York Times, “Imagining Successful Schools” discusses how the current education accountability efforts have infuriated and shamed teachers causing many of the best teachers to leave their vocation. The article discusses new efforts to treat teachers as professionals with career ladders and elite schools to learn their craft.
A common theme of respect, commitment and value for the work of our teachers seems to be a clear and reasonable expectation for those who impact our future citizens. As the school year begins the American “community” is tasked to support those who work hard in our schools.