>"No, it doesn't make you a bad teacher, it makes you just a teacher."
?.. just a teacher?
>"I work 53-70 hours a week at my job. I love my work, love the sense of accomplishment. I get three weeks paid vacation every year and 5 sick days, I have no pension, have put some money in my 401 K and hope to retire someday, but if I was not good at my job, I would be fired, no questions asked."
Ok, so? You pretty much described the job I have now.. well, maybe except for the firing.. The impression I get from my employers, that if I was having difficulties with my job ,they would first try to do something about it before considering firing someone.
>"No union to help me stay employed, just me and my skills."
I assume you brought up unions because of teachers.. Keep in mind that nearly 1/2 the states are 'Right-to-Work" states where at will is the norm.. Teachers can be let go pretty much at any time. I have known a number of teachers whose yearly contracts were not renewed. And one that asked to resigned in the middle of the year because of rumors of inappropriate contact with a student (which was found to be baseless, but he still lost his job and now can't work as a teacher anymore.)
Just a question - as part of your job do you carry personal liability insurance in case someone sues you personally for what you do as part of your job? I paid for coverage for up to $2 million each year I was a teacher.
>"To keep from being fired, I spend some money each year to keep myself current, I also go to the library and read all the latest books geared to my career."
Most teacher certifications these days (at least here in Texas) have some sort of continuing-education requirements, which the teacher is expected to pay for themselves. Most of the newer certifications have to be renewed every five years or so.
>"I make less than most teachers my age in my school district."
I wouldn't be too sure of that - keep in mind that most teachers' salaries are based on years of service. If someone was to change careers later in life to become a teacher they might not be making as much as you. I left a job in industry when I changed over to become a teacher - and my first year I was making $22k (a little less than 1/2 what I was making as a engineer). Plus, I had to also pay for my college courses to get my teaching certificate. When I left eleven years later I was making about twice what I started at.
>"I want what every other mom wants and that is the best teachers we can get for the money we are spending."
Which you probably were.. Seems to me you have complained more about the 'how' than the 'who'...
>"As a grandmother, I want to see more as we progress."
And you're going to be disappointed - the problem is, the more things change - the more they stay the same.
>"I think it is imperitive to our survival to make sure our children learn what it is going to take for them to survive. I don't see it happening and I am worried."
I'm sure your parents felt the same, if they even noticed what the state of education was back then. My own experience was that neither of my parents paid any attention to what the school was doing or how they did it. I got on the bus in the morning and then off in the afternoon, at regular intervals I brought home a report card for someone to sign... I can't remember a single time one of my parents even talked to a teacher - well, maybe once, in the 5th grade one of my teachers call the house and suggested getting my eyes checked as I was squinting when I looked at the chalkboard (sure enough, I needed glasses).
What exactly do you see as evidence that kids today aren't going to survive? And keep in mind that the public school system can't fix the problems of the economy.
>"I see our cities declining and when I see some of them on TV, I think of third world countries, where their cities have deteriorated to the point of not being able to sustain populations. I don't want to sound like the doom and gloom predictor, but it has to ALL start with education and that means it has to start with an exceptional you."
Things change. I see things today as being very similar to how things were back in late 70's after I left high school. The petrochemical industry had collapsed. When I got out of college with my first degree and when to apply of an entry level job, I was competing with 10 ~ 20 other people with years of experience. If you were an employer at the time who would you hire, someone with years of experience or someone that the ink wasn't dry on their diploma? (and keep in mind, those employers were offering the people with experience the same pay as I was expecting to get as a new hire). I read the handwriting on the wall and went back to school and got another degree.. By the time I came out a second time the economy was doing a bit better. And later when the computer industry hit the scene and blew the economy up I did very well. What we to really fix things is for some new industry to develop like personal computers and the internet did in the 80's & 90's.