Check out this story about the coming tsunami for education that was splashed today. They literally titled it, “A ‘tsunami’ of Boomer teacher retirements is on the horizon.”
Of course, just because we know about the problem, doesn’t mean we are going to do anything about it. America has turned — much to our discredit — into a nation of reaction instead of proactivity. (I blame George Bush’s short-sighted mentality about proper management of things for much of this right now. To wit, I cite the pouring ga-zillions of dollars into a red-herring chase for drummed-up charges of WMD’s in Iraq instead of recognizing that we had things at home that could have been proactively dealt with before they became a calamity like the housing crisis, banking mess, Wall Street rapaciousness, Louisiana levees, deteriorating schools, the need for green energy, and so on. Anyway…)
Right now, it seems to me that we have to find a way to get our best and brightest to actively choose the profession of education. Currently, the top — and even the middle range of college graduates — are heading into things like business and law, jobs that chase the money (and feed the rat race). I’ve said this before, but when is the last time the Harvard valedictorian stood up and said, “I am going to be a middle school English teacher for the next 35 years.” And meant it.
The crowd would groan conveying the sentiment, “But why? You could be so much more.”
This stigma is very dangerous. People view the profession of teaching as a second rate career. I, for one, will disagree to my last breath but still, how do you change the perception of a culture?
Boomers are retiring. God bless them for their service. But it’s clear that we need an infusion of new educators and I think it’s going to take a national bill — like the GI Bill or something — because American education needs an overhaul. In many ways, we are looking like GM, once the model and envy of the world, now a… well, I’ll let you fill in the blank.
Check out my sweatshirt today. It’s Spirit Day, purple and gold for the Lynwood Knights. How many folks are actually proud to be an American teacher these days? I am, but when I travel the country and speak to others, so many, many of them seem demoralized.
We have to CHANGE THE GAME, FLIP THE SCRIPT, TURN THE PAGE… and avoid cliches as we do so.