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Raising the Bar
by McClung, Michael P., Duncan, Reba D.
ROBERT J. SAMUELSON'S ESSAY "THE Wastage in Education" makes some excellent points about the poor level of scholarship among public-school teachers (JUDGMENT CALLS, Aug. 10). However, I must take issue with his implication that the shamefully low salary of teachers is not a real problem. Most teachers receive pay far below that of other professionals. There are a staggering number of us who are qualified, competent, highly motivated teachers with multiple college degrees who will never earn enough money to buy a house or to take on more than one small car payment per month. Journalist Rick Bragg said it best when he wrote that teaching is an occupation "where you can climb and climb and pile up honors to the moon, and still be poor as field dirt."
SELDOM HAVE I SEEN THE PROBLEM WITH education in the United States so well defined as it was by Robert Samuelson. As a teacher with 30 years' experience in one of the worst school districts in the country, I am glad to see much of the blame for the ills of education laid where it belongs: on fuzzy thinking by the people in charge. Until incompetent teachers can be fired and effective teachers can be rewarded, education in America shows little promise of improvement.