Correction from previous Israel post
In my last email in which I highlighted the similarities between the U.S. and Israeli K-12 public education systems, I wrote that in both countries "only the lowest caliber college students become teachers". Obviously this is incorrect. What I meant to write is: "new teachers are mostly drawn from the bottom tier of college graduates". Thanks to a friend for pointing this out – and making other good points:
I really enjoy getting your emails. Sometimes, though, it makes me tired to keep hearing how only the lowest-performing college graduates become teachers. While I know the research shows this in aggregate, there are many of us teaching public school who don't fit that category. (I graduated magna cum laude from Barnard). I work with smarter, more strategic, better educated teachers now in a New York City public school than I did when I taught in New York City independent schools for twelve years. When I am at work on a Saturday or at 7 p.m., it's insulting when Geoffrey Canada talks about how teachers only became teachers because they wanted to leave work while it's still light out.
Does my defense of my colleagues mean I agree with everything my union does? No - reading the weekly union newspaper is so frustrating to me. I wrote to the UFT paper to complain about spending our dues to fight for the right for people to take Holy Thursday off; serious Catholics do not take Holy Thursday off from work, so why should that be something our union is fighting for in the name of "religious freedom"? I have supported virtually everything Klein and Bloomberg have done in the last eight years. On the other hand, I could tell you all the things that make teaching public school extremely challenging from space and overcrowding problems to the fact that teachers are treated like irresponsible children (today I went to a funeral and the payroll secretary reminded me that I had to bring something that proved I was at the funeral; fortunately they had given out a prayer card at the wake that someone gave to me at the funeral).
Just keep in mind that we are not all a bunch of dolts...