I never expected my career to take such a turn: a hard left right out of the classroom. My salary is gone, my belief in my efficacy as a teacher is hanging on by a thread, and what choices do I have? What school choices do I have? Where I can teach without compromising my values? Where I can teach without fear of being bruised or scarred? Where I can teach that matches my philosophies about education and its purposes? And still make a nice income with benefits?
Working in public schools these days could be like walking into an ice cream shop and being handed a flavor you didn’t ask for. You get what you get. Maybe Heartbreak Elementary Swirl, Lackluster High School Fudge, or perhaps No Consequence Discipline Brickle, or Whole Language Implosion. . . All served up by union employees who’ll scream at you to stay, lest they go unfunded and lose control of the ice cream business. Which would somehow be really bad for kids and parents and teachers who want a different flavor.
Where can I find a school that offers the recognition that comes from being good at teaching because parents and students and administrators value my talents and abilities? Then my paycheck could be sprinkled with bonuses on top that I’ve earned.
Just as parents ought to be able to choose a school that is right for their children, teachers ought to have good-paying options as well. A free market approach to schooling would give all parties the opportunity to choose whatever school “flavor” combination worked best for them. After all, capitalism creates economic opportunities. Wouldn’t it also create the best school opportunities for students and teachers?
If I could just choose a school as freely as that delicious made-from-cashews raspberry swirl ice cream…