Opinions

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You know what they say, opinions are like ears. Everybody’s got ‘em.

Ok. So I changed that old adage a bit. This is a family blog, you know!

But I really do think opinions are like ears. And kind of like your ears, if you don’t clean your opinions once in a while, you won’t be able to hear anything. You won’t be able to learn anything new.

If you like watching all the political and social pundits–like Glen Beck and Rush and Bill O’Reilly or, on the other side, Keith Olberman, Al Franken (though he’s a little more legit now), and Michael Moore–that’s fine. Just remember that these folks make money by forming opinions and sticking to them no matter what.

They put on a show of being unreasonable, so maybe we don’t have to. Thanks, guys!

Comment; State of Education

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It seems those who make the rules/laws for others have never had the honor of wearing the other’s shoes.
However, firstly, my wife and daughter are both teachers – just to show my status.

Never heard them refer to the profession as a job, they live, eat and breathe teaching. When they get together with other teachers – questions arise about what progress this or that one is making – their hours are set buy themselves, my wife used to go in to school at least 45 or more minutes than required and my daughter is always at school for a special activity, helping a student or readying for the next day. And not to be crass or surly, the $250 the government allows as an education tax deduction is chump change in the real world, where I live.

Sure, it’s a job – my two aren’t of the STEPFORD cookie cutter ilk of which Mrs. Malloy refers. How about the governor and some State Legislators teaching a class for a week (with no chance of parole) and see what ‘job’ they prefer, the good ‘ol boy gathering of’ politicos figuring out how to levy another tax or unrealistic mandate or trying to convince little Jack or Jill that 6 is the product of dividing 42 by 7.

Wonder how NCLB would have fared if this exercise were mandated?

There will always be some debate as why teaching is an easy ‘job'; all the time off, especially in the summer.

Reality is taking over  as more and more states are eschewing NCLB as a poor, no horrendous piece of legislation.

Now, being under the proverbial gun, they  are scrambling to redeem themselves by coming up with some alternatives.

I hope they consult some ‘dedicated’ educators whilst drawing up the new guidelines; because, if you boil this all down to the basics – if it weren’t for dedicated teachers – I would not have had the skills to write this comment  nor would you have the privilege of reading my opinions. Correct?

State of Education

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, left, and Commissioner of the state Department of Education, Stefan Pryor, Right, arrive at the legislature's Education Committee public hearing on Malloy's education proposal. Melanie Stengel/Register (ctbulletin.com)

Okay, I’ll admit it.

I’m a teacher and my job is pointless.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this fact as educators have come under increasing criticism—especially here in Connecticut.

I concede that formal education is unnecessary.  Public school is a relatively new idea, and people got by without classrooms and textbooks for millennia.   Our most beloved American success stories are of self-made individuals who struck out against schools and other institutions to make their own way.

The truth is everyone is perfectly capable of learning what they need to survive.  Watch a child master a new task to see what I mean.  Learning is ingrained in human nature, and our curiosity allows us to figure out everything we need to know.

So why teach?  After all, Governor Malloy insists a teaching job should be “like every other job.”  He says teachers should welcome evaluation and competition as a way to improve our practice.  He says we don’t want to accept common business principles into our field soley so we can protect our tenure system.

I’ll counter with a question: Should teaching even be considered a job?

Let’s compare working in education to working in the ministry.  Across cultures and religions devout men and women heed the call to serve others through their faith.  Clergy are highly regarded for pursuing a vocation and for trying to make the world a better place.  They are protected and cared for by organized religion so they can do good without impediment.

However, as a job, becoming a priest or a rabbi or an imam is pointless.  People in general can find their own spiritual path just fine.  Spirituality is a natural part of life, and we are all equipped with an intuitive sense of divinity.  Left to their own devices, people will usually form a personal system of belief.

But isn’t it nice to have some guidance?

Maybe teaching should not be seen as just another job.  Like the clergy, men and women enter the field to enrich their communities.  Yet you don’t see the government attacking religion.  Despite some bad apples, the influence of religious people in this country is stronger than ever.

When a member of the clergy is criticized—rightly or wrongly—the faithful often see this as an attack on their beliefs.  Believers in education should feel just as indignant.  They should see attacks on teachers for what they are—attacks against the value of education.

Governor Malloy urges you to see teaching as just a job.  As such, many of his new policies will reward the very teachers he claims he wants to root out—those who pander to principles, who bully students into compliance, and who merely teach to the test.  In short, he will reward the teachers who only show up for a paycheck, not those truly devoted to their students.

If you consider yourself a member of the faithful, please support the educators and staff who chose a career in education instead of working just another job.  Believe it or not, there are scores of talented, hard-working people in our schools who want to make a difference.