This year's annual PDK/Gallup Poll of public attitudes toward public education found for the first time a majority of American parents unwilling to advise their children to become teachers:
Two-thirds of Americans say teachers are underpaid, and an overwhelming 78% of public school parents say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for more pay, according to the 2018 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.
Even as most Americans continue to say they have high trust and confidence in teachers, a majority also say they don’t want their own children to become teachers, most often citing poor pay and benefits as the primary reason for their reluctance.Here are just a few of the good reasons that the majority of parents have made the right call:
- The level of teacher demonization for student test score performance over the past twenty years turned teaching into a pressure cooker that stews teachers and students before blowing up schools entirely. In order to increase the number of corporate charter schools and other "choice" options, politicians and corporate reformers cynically designed No Child Left Behind in 2001 to "hold accountable" schools and teachers for not reaching federally-mandated proficiency targets that were known at the time to be impossible to achieve by the vast majority of children across America.
- Over the past two decades, corporate reformers and politicians have put in place teacher evaluation schemes that are invalid, unreliable, and unfair to teachers. Untold numbers of teachers have lost their jobs as a result, even as many other teachers fled to other career fields to escape the unrelenting pressure. Those who have stayed now focus on producing test scores by any means necessary in order to survive evaluations, which, in turn, results in moral breakdowns, nervous breakdowns, and miseducated children.
- Targeted mass killings in schools with weapons of war threaten the safety of all school personnel and children. Growing numbers of politicians and corporate lobbyists make the case for arming teachers in schools, and kevlar book bags are now prominent on schools' mandatory supply lists for parents. Who can blame college students and their parents for thinking of their safety and that of their children?
- In an effort to make teaching teacher proof and to reduce the number of teachers, corporate reformers and politicians continue to deprofessionalize the field with lucrative programs that turn over significant and increasing amounts of student learning to screen time governed by computer algorithms.
- The metastasizing of the corporate cancer known as "rigor" has turned schools into training grounds for the increasingly alienating and disaffected corporate adult workplace. Teachers are expected to function as efficiency-driven managers who increase the bottom line (test scores), and their own creativity and ingenuity have been sacrificed on the alter of standardization and quantifiable results that ignore the sociological and psychological realities of children.
- Teachers have continued to lose economic ground to other career fields over the past decades. With a wage gap larger today than it was in 1980, teachers work two jobs to maintain some semblance of middle class living standards.
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