Tuesday, August 02, 2011

In defense of teachers

I saw a clip of Matt Damon being interviewed by a free-market-will-save-the-world reporter about why job security should be based on a desire to make money (comparing her perception of Matt Damon's incentive to work hard as an film actor to the motivations that teachers "ought" to have). I saw that clip earlier today with very little context as to where it took place, and why he was being interviewed about teachers.

On tonight's "Last Word", Lawrence O'Donnell did a great segment in defense of teachers (and -- by extension -- public education).

Some of what I think were good excerpts:

I also hated and did badly in anything involving writing of any kind, which is kind of like wicked ironic, since I then grew up to be a writer. That just points to the unpredictable ways we learn things. I couldn't be taught writing in school, but later, as an adult on my own, I could somehow get the hang of it. None of the teachers who tried and failed to teach me how to write should be blamed for my failure as a writing student.

[Teachers] were told to take the blame for any disappointing academic achievement statistics in America. Republicans targeted teachers as soon as they saw teachers aligning themselves so often with the Democratic Party. Now, which party should the teachers' unions have seen as best representing their concerns? The party that wanted to cut taxes and cut spending on public schools, cut sports programs, cut arts education, cut the band, cut educational resources across the board so that we could then have even more tax cuts? Or the party that wanted to deliver to teachers the resources they need in the classroom and the resources that every school enedst o provide a full educational experience?

It has never occurred to the teacher haters that teachers want to be teachers for any reason other than job security. It has never occurred to them that teachers might want to be teachers because they like teaching, because they love teaching, and because they care about their students.

Watch the whole segment (10 min 29 sec):

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