This past Friday my wife and I took our kids out for dinner at a local restaurant. The server complimented our children on their manners and then explained that he is a teacher who is working as a server on weekends to try and make ends meet. According to the Association of American Educators, the percentage of teachers who are working second and third jobs has risen from 11% in 1981 to over 20% today.
Later this weekend, @shirky17 on Plurk posted this astute observation:
Most people would be shocked if their server was a doctor, lawyer, architect, or other professional trying to earn enough money to make ends meet. Nobody is shocked when their server is a teacher.
If you want to know why our educational system is broken, look at the respect that is given to the people who are doing the educating. When teaching is reduced to a job that cannot even pay someone enough to meet their monthly obligations instead of a profession, should we be shocked that our educational system has problems?
When you look at countries like Finland, where teaching is one of the most respected and revered professions a person can have, is it any shock that their educational system is one of the best in the world?