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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Editorial Bias

I know editorials are little more than opinions but when presented in respected forums like newspapers they often take on more meaning than that and many people believe what is written to be fact. Take for example the Times Union writing about how only 23 percent of America’s top graduates go into education as if that is a bad thing. Can any other profession boast about so many top graduates joining it. Are 23 percent of the nations top grads entering law enforcement, or medicine or business or any other field? I don’t think so and if the stat is right that means over a fifth or our supposed best and brightest are choosing education over the thousands and thousands of other careers out there. But instead of celebrating that it’s used as an indictment against teachers. Here is a stat the Times Union didn’t mention, less than half of all first year teachers whether they are the best the nation has to offer or not do not make it to year five preferring to find employment in other fields. Rarely are the reasons, the children or the money, given for their decision to leave.

Then the Times Union further muddies the water by comparing American teachers to the teachers in Finland, which draws the vast amount of its staff from the top third of college graduates. They fail to mention that teachers in Finland are paid substantially more than their American counterparts, there classes are very small, they play a role in policy and curriculum and are one of the most highly unionized groups around. Comparing teachers in both countries is not like comparing apples and oranges it’s like comparing apples to a five-course meal, with America being the apple.

There are many issues in education and teacher quality is one of them, as we should always strive to put our best and brightest in our classrooms. However if we were to list the issues with education, poverty, standardized tests, one size fits all curriculum, a lack of discipline, unfunded mandates, etc. teacher quality however would be way down the list, not at the forefront as the Times Union and others would have the public believe.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher

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