Las Vegas Sun

January 27, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Teachers aren’t respected in the U.S.

Another view?

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Regarding Marc Tucker’s letter, “Blaming teachers for woes of students is counterproductive,” I found it very intelligently written.

We have created a society where our top students do not go into teaching for pay, discipline and respect reasons more than any others.

I was privileged to teach at high schools and universities in the U.S. for more than a decade.

I was also privileged to teach master’s degree-seeking students at a university in China for five years.

In China, teachers are well-respected by all, and teaching is among the most honorable professions as far back as Confucius, considered the grandfather of all teachers.

This was evident to me not only in how I was treated but in how so many of my very top students desired to become teachers.

There also were no discipline problems in classes due to the respect of teachers.

When teachers are treated this way in the U.S., then we will see many of our own top students enter the teaching field.

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  1. The attitude about teachers is just part of the tendency of a large part of our populace to embrace ignorance. Witness the debate about global climate change as an example where political propaganda is given nearly equal weight as scientific fact. There are economic interests out there puting out big bucks to perpetuate pseudo science and form attitudes that fly in the face of facts.

  2. The logic went if teachers were only paid more, they would be respected more. How's that logic working? Especially in Chicago?


  3. When I attended public school, teachers were highly respected, Of course, back then, they actually taught instead of playing "politically" correct games. Not all the teachers fault, tho. Much of the blame can be laid at the feet of administrators more interested in "indoctrination" than they are in "education." The public school system is a massive failure and should be abolished. Private schools, that actually compete with each other for educational dollars, would be a far better scenario. The "excellent" teachers in the public schools would have no difficulty in being hired and with greater renumeration, too, I'll bet. The crummy teachers? Well, let them do something else - something where they can no longer harm the students they are supposed to be helping - something like wiping windshields on street corners.

  4. Robert,

    The answer your seek is in your own letter. Your praise the idea the we shouldn't blame teachers for the failings of students, yet are eager to blame anyone but teachers for the current lack of respect their profession now has. Respect is something earned, and it is something that can be thrown away.

    Teachers have accomplished the latter, the former is up to them as well.

  5. Education isn't respected in the US. This country is about nothing but money. Very few have it, but we passionately embrace those that make it.

  6. No one is respected because of their position, at least not for long. One must DEMONSTRATE abilities by performance to EARN respect. The constant wailing for more money, more money, more money is not gonna help earn respect. The lack of output in pursuit of results--where students learn and become proficient has destroyed public schools. So let's look for alternatives in the private sector.

  7. The school district could be concerned about possible lawsuits, if teacher's who are considered by some as being to strict.Discipline earns respect. Parents and students know this.

  8. @JeffFromVegas...Once again a member of the entitled teacher brigade can't get out of his own way long enough to let the good ideas he has shine.

    If a student is not progressing, of course the should be required to repeat the grade. Failure should never be rewarded. That goes the same for teachers. The ones that are failing to educate our children should get their walking papers and those who show the most talent, provide to best to the most with least should be rewarded.

    Now, I am certain the teachers best equipped to succeed this way don't see anyone demanding they do their job and a bunch of "radicalised people who NEVER side with the teachers against the students parents." The best teachers don't see their job as a teacher Vs student battle, because they are there FOR THE STUDENTS and demand that the needs to the STUDENTS should always win out.

    Also, these teachers, the true believers, would see the idiocy of declaring yourself a teacher while espousing those who disagree with you to "shut up and sit down," because they have a sense of American history and Pride.

    Any teacher with such contempt for the 1st Amendment would better serve his community, not by asking students questions on a test, but by asking children, "What would you like to drink with your Happy Meal."

  9. I am going to put the blame squarely on the parents. Because teachers are not allowed to discipline anymore they have trouble to gain respect of the troubled kids, leading to chaos in the classroom. A students' parent should be required to sit in class with him/her if that student has been disruptive. A teacher is not a parent and not responsible for raising your child.

  10. Robert, you're wrong. It's former CONSTRUCTION workers who aren't respected. Why some homeowners even wonder how they could keep making six figures a year when their homes aren't up to code--shortcuts and shorting of materials not caught by building inspectors.... Oh that's right, many of them were illegals doing whatever the builder told them to.

  11. Not one person wants to teach to gain wealth. When future teachers decide carrying college debt to pay for their education and then leave the field because it isn't worth their effort, who then will teach our children? Not parents who are out trying to make ends meet. Not the wealthy who couldn't give a damn as explained by Romney with his rejection of the 47%.

    The middle class is vanishing, and why? Because union haters decide they no longer needed a healthy middle class so union membership in the private sector has dropped to under 7%. Granted not all unions are perfect, but there is a middle ground between a disappearing middle class and union membership. The reason the working class boomed after WWII was because of union membership which was about 40%. CEO's salaries have gone up almost 300%, but the real workers of this country got squat for 35 years.

  12. When you witness the type of product that comes from our schools, it's easy to understand why teachers aren't respected as much as they used to be. Of course they don't want to take any responsibility any more than parents or students do. So we're stuck in a zone of ignorance until someone capable comes along. We'll probably need to import them from another country with a superior educational system.

  13. VernosB Education is not based on your class, poor, middle, rich. It is based on the parent involvement.
    Also, if you do not like being a union worker making squat work harder, go to night school and become a manager, then on to higher paying jobs. The union jobs are for those who are happy with status quo and do not wish to take on more responsibility, and therefore the income that goes with it. There is a reason for declining union membership, they have destroyed so many companies and forced the jobs overseas.

  14. @JeffFromVegas..You are the poster child for the decline of respect for educators.

    Does someone who writes, "Sit down and shut up. You have nothing to add that is worthwhile goober" really have the maturity or intellect that demands respect.

    You can't even decide what your own stance is.

    When I agreed with your statement that we "Give k-6 teachers the requirement that if a kid should repeat a grade they do..." you suddenly decide that this idea is a "recipe for failure" from "republican infected anti teacher cohorts..."

    And for some reason only your twisted man can rationalize you whine that I "failed to mention parents once in your moronic diatribe."

    You're right, and there are two reasons for this Jeff.

    1) This was an article about why teachers are less respected by today's society, and I don't think a single parent made you demand a fellow American with the same free speech rights as you to "Sit down and shut up," simply because you were unable to offer a single coherent argument. When the extent of your intelligent debate is "goober" don't expect to be respected.

    2) While parents need to take more responsibility for their children's education, they don't work for me. I have no say in how other parents raise their kids, I do get a say in how the CCSD spends the funds I help provide.

    Sorry, but the person you just told to "sit down and shut up" was your boss. You want the respect of students yet show no respect to your employers. That's what we've come to expect from members of the entitled teacher brigade, like you.

  15. duke 7:57: the MOST RELEVANT post to date. We must stop throwing money at mercenaries and DEMAND results. K-12 is broken. Let's try something else.

  16. @Jeff.."You have in reality told the teachers and their union to "sit down and shut up", that you are the "boss."

    Yes I did. Now I realize it this concept may be a little over your head, you being a mere "photographer and web designer" (ie unemployed), but teachers are public employees. Let me break down what the complex phrase means. They are employees who work for the public, and, as member of the public, that mean they work for me.

    Once again you bring to light, yet another reason teachers not longer are respected. They have lost sight of who they work for. But they needn't worry. With you on their side, spouting lies like , "You have in reality told the teachers and their union to "sit down and shut up", a that you are the "boss," (not to mention the goober-riddled vocabulary) they will be back on top in no time.

  17. In China teachers come from the top percentile of educated people.

    In America they come from the bottom third... they are also protected from being fired if they are incompetent and get paid the same regardless of how well they perform... not exactly conditions which generate great teachers or respect for them...

  18. False premise. Social scientists frequently place teachers in the top 10 of surveys of occupational prestige. Furthermore, when we disaggregate secondary and primary teachers we find that secondary teachers often have higher prestige. In general, occupations with higher percieved social benefits rank more favorably, a result independent of pay.

  19. Close to 46% of Americans are Creationists. They believe that the Earth and perhaps the entire Universe was spontaneously created around 6000 years ago. They believe Biologists and Evolutionary Scientists are spreading lies. They say that Darwinism was the underlying motive behind Nazi Germany.

    We have too many parents in this country that are willing to fight anything scientific because conflicts with written text over 3500 years old. They teach their children to argue with scientists and train them that science is wrong while complaining at the same time that their children do not listen to teachers.

    The contempt for teachers is created within institutions of religion which worked to keep the world in the Dark Ages until European Science and enlightenment brought rational thought into the forefront. That's what we need here, more rational thought. Learning will improve once the Bogeymen in robes and wingtips are hobbled.

  20. There is a grain of truth to "Teachers aren't respected in the U.S." depending on which side of the fence you are on. When reading many of these commenter posts, I had to wonder how many commenters here have recently visited a school and observed the interaction between students and teachers. There IS respect, many times in the form of a student coming up to a teacher and giving them a hug, or prior year(s) students wanting to come in during their recess to volunteer their help to a teacher, or the surprise handmade cards and letters students lovingly make and give to a teacher. For some commenters, this is not what they will ever see nor acknowledge, because life is all about political motives and endless blaming. It truly breaks my heart to ever think that contempt towards the teaching profession has kept some from seeing the unfeigned love and respect that is offered to teachers that is priceless.

    Let's face it, we, as human beings, have our short comings and faults. Education is a people business, dealing with belief systems, cultures, and heavy on interaction. As several Commenters pointed out, teaching and the role of teachers has changed over time, oft times reflecting current culture (for good or ill). With technology and the modern age, we witnessed a shift, "Times will NEVER be what they were because of numbers of qualified laborers," as Commenter Joe Lamy observed. Not everybody is cut out to be a teacher, although the ads and commercials flooding the media would make you think that it is easy to become a teacher, and all one needs to do is go to their university or college and instantly become one in two easy years. That is hardly the case.

    While it is true that in many other countries teachers are highly valued and treated as such, we cannot paint such a broad stroke in saying that U.S. teachers aren't respected. It is a safer bet to say that American public PRIORITIES in and for education have shifted with how each household member internalizes and then articulates their value on education into the collective universe.

    The PARENT is the first and lifelong teacher of their child(ren). American public education to that child is simply "added value" in economic terms. American educators are forever doing the dance with parents, constantly adjusting their steps, and hoping that they are dancing together with the same music. Neither one of them look good doing it alone---it takes cooperative effort.

    Visit your neighborhood school and be a part of it. Volunteer, join the PTA, help make your neighborhood school even better!

    Blessings and Peace,

  21. Jeff, " hide inside your jealousy of all these "others" you run roughshod over with your empty words..."

    And there we have the last hope, the bottom of the barrel of those without the ability to form a coherent argument.

    Just accuse them of being "jealous." However, even the most impotent debater will at least find someone specific who fills me with such envy, but that too is beyond your station.

    Oh, and by the way, I have been sitting down this entire time.