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What reason other than profit does the private sector have in education?

To the Editor:

As a former Chicago Public School teacher as well as a very proud product of Chicago Public Schools, I wholeheartedly endorse and support Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers’ Union.

Teachers, who spend long years studying, preparing for and perfecting their profession, are grossly overworked and under paid. Every teacher has a bachelor’s degree, many have master’s degrees and some even have earned doctorates.

I knew a young realtor who had a GED who was averaging over $200,000.00 a year. With his commissions, he had no papers to grade, no discipline to maintain, no confrontations with angry, abusive parents, and no one tying his income to his performance.

It is disgraceful that America devalues one of its most valuable assets, her teachers. Next to effective parents, accomplished teachers wield the most influence in the training and development of young minds. Without teachers, who are the transmitters of the knowledge, the culture, the mores and traditions of civilization, we would still be like cavemen, blundering through life without goals and objectives to perpetuate the advancement of innovation and creativity.

Public education is the best answer to a country’s standing in the world. There was a time when other than a few private and parochial schools, the majority of children were educated in public schools and our products, the scholars, that we produced were the envy of the world. Educators were in charge of education and they knew that every child could learn, and they taught according to the learning styles of their students.

Today, with the intrusion of the private sector, with detached and ill-informed millionaires and corporations seizing the reins of education, we are in a state of flux and turmoil. One thing these interlopers don’t realize is that testing is not teaching. When the majority of the school day is spent absorbing knowledge, most children can pass any test. When the majority of the school day is spent coaching and grooming for test taking, like robots, the children can regurgitate canned answers; but, there is no knowledge or a foundation upon which more knowledge can be built.

There is no reason for the private sector to interfere with education except as another profit center. We appreciate what the private market, the private sector and the corporate community can do; but, it has no value in education. Each society should stick to what it knows best. Educators know best about what it takes to educate children. The business society knows best what it takes to provide and produce capital, and the goals and the outcomes are extremely dissimilar.

For further information, Contact: Helen L. Burleson (708)747-0919

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