I was a teacher. Still am, some say. Two comments last week from web sites on which my column runs claimed that I was educating them — and if they say so, then it’s true. What I wrote informed them about something or helped them see something in another light. For that, I’m glad. Some teachers say they're educators, but I always thought of myself as a teacher.
Was I in the education business? No, because education is not a business, not in the public schools in which I spent 34 years. If it were, it would be more effective, but it’s a union-controlled institution with the inherent inertia too many such institutions possess. Businesses have to remain competitive but government institutions do not. Neither do they have to be accountable, because they’re not elected; they’re funded by taxpayers in an indirect way. Educational institutions like public schools and colleges suffer from the same inertia objects do as observed by Isaac Newton: they have a tendency to remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force. They need to be shaken up if they’re ever going to change.
What might accomplish that? Competition, that’s what — in the form of vouchers. If parents could have a choice about where they sent their children to school, including the choice of private and religious schools, and get just half of what public schools would spend to teach a child year to year, it would revolutionize education at the elementary and secondary level.
Many are coming to believe lately that a college education has been way oversold. Parents with a child living in their basement after graduation, saddled with tens of thousands in student loan debt, and no way to pay it because he has no job, are doubting its value. So are the graduates themselves. What is a college degree worth? Depends on that the major was. If it was engineering, medicine, or one of the other hard sciences, it might be worth something. If it was in something like art history? Gender studies? They’re unproductive. There’s no market, unless it’s to teach in the gender studies or the art history department at Liberal U.
When I decided to become a teacher, I had to go back to college after I had dropped out for two years to do things that were more interesting. After I went back it took me another year and a half for a BS, then two more years for an M. Ed. Did those degrees prepare me to teach? Not really, no. For the BS (aptly named, that) I had to do six weeks of student teaching. That prepared me, but none of the education courses I took along with it did, and I took dozens. The states of Maine and Massachusetts required that I get those degrees to license me, but I’d have been better off learning more about the subjects I taught. I became a better teacher after years of doing it, not studying to do it.
|Wisconsin teachers called in sick to protest Walker|
As conservative Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential poll numbers have climbed, liberal media drones have zeroed in on his having dropped out of Marquette University in his senior year to accept a job. “What?” they exclaimed. “He doesn’t have a college degree? And he’s running for president? Is he smart enough to be president?” He got elected governor in 2010. He fought off government unions, the media, and the entire Democrat political machine in a 2012 recall election, then was officially reelected in 2014 — and all that while actually governing effectively in a very liberal state.
Our media elite, however, still question his intelligence because he’s a conservative and a Christian. To them, believing in Jesus Christ is akin to believing in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, so he must be a moron. One asked Walker if he believed in evolution. They think anyone who professes belief in Christianity is convinced the earth was created 6000 years ago. In one week, they’ve put more effort into scrutinizing Scott Walker’s college records than they’ve put into President Obama’s over the past eight years. Why, for instance, did Obama seal his college records? What is he hiding? Liberal media elitists don’t want to know.
To be a teacher, one must first have learned, and learning should never stop during any teacher’s lifetime. There are many paths to knowledge and college is only one — probably not the best one either if Obama’s tenure as president is any guide.
At least two of our best presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, did not have college degrees. Neither does Bill Gates, so don’t worry about Scott Walker. If he’s elected president, he’ll do just fine, especially compared to the community organizer he will have succeeded.