Monday, December 20, 2010

Come now. History Channel is making today's key anniversary event Elvis Presley's drafting rather than South Carolina's secession from the Union. I'm speechless. And I had so been looking forward to the inauguration of my Civil War sesquicentennial celebration. Oh well, four more years to celebrate.

Two comments on today:

I've adopted the philosophy that Christmas break has already begun. I'm just spending the first four days of it going into work. This is healthy.

Second, an interesting article in today's Inquirer is analyzing teacher's salaries in the context of a class war. Probably a helpful perspective, and humbling too to realize my profession and what it represents has become such a political flashpoint Perhaps we're on the way to a shift in consensus about what teachers represent and how we should be compensated. Are we civil servants? Are we professionals? I do see a real shift in consciousness toward the costs of doing education, and in many ways it's a healthy shift from some wastefulness.

Maybe it will push us to rethink the models by which we pattern our classrooms and schools. Do seniors really need a full day of 24-student classes? Would we be better off with more independent study and larger lecture-style classrooms. Or, is it time for a 13th year of education? I bring this up because the sheer math behind the 17:1 student-teacher ratio must be questioned if we as professionals wish to be paid as professionals while tax bases tighten.

However, though we might be ready for a change in how society values or compensates teachers, I don't know if we're ready yet for a real conversation about the entitlement culture that permeates education and the costs that come with it. Though it's an awesome thing that we welcome all comers age 5-18 regardless of disability or background, the mandates to teach all according to their ability and provide a free and appropriate education are expensive values we live out.

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