Last Wednesday, my son, like so many youngsters around the country, began his second year of instruction at a local middle school tucked away in suburban southern California. Though the name and the exact location have changed, it is essentially the same middle school that both my wife and I attended roughly a quarter-century ago.
By and large, the names and faces of the faculty have changed since the ahem late 1980s. But, there has been one constant, and my wife and I could not have been happier to see that my son’s 7th grade social studies teacher was, indeed, the same woman who had taught both of us all those years ago.
Indeed, she has been doing so for over a half century now. Yes … you read the preceding sentence correctly.
When she hit the 50-year mark last year, there was a torrent of praise in the community. Deservedly so. After all, how many lives in this town of 30,000 or so had been enriched by her lifelong commitment to children and education?
Alas, not everyone feels that way. Indeed, the level of respect afforded to those who have devoted their adult lives to the education of children has diminished to the point that the prevailing zeitgeist suggests that comparably junior members of the profession are somehow inherently superior to their more experienced colleagues.
If it seems like I have travelled down this road before, it because I have. Eighteen months ago, I wrote about how “tenure reform” was an attack on veteran teachers and their employment rights, wrapped in the cloak of “improving education” for kids.
But this new trend is far more sinister. Now, the “reform” crowd including an alarming number that sell themselves as progressives don’t merely want the ability to fire veteran teachers. They want to strip them of something that has greater intangible value: their status as mentors and role models for the profession.
Follow me below the fold for the explanation. More…