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Peter Smagorinsky is a Distinguished Research Professor of English Education, emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He taught in K-12 classrooms for 14 years before becoming a teacher educator. This column that he wrote appeared on Maureen Downey’s blog “Get Schooled” at the Atlanta Journal.
The AJC Get Schooled Blog is one of many this fall in which educational stakeholders have asked, Would you recommend a teaching career to young people? Even school administrators are wondering, Who would want to be a teacher right now?
Most of the concern around this question relates to the potential deadliness of school buildings and classrooms, the absence of teachers in decision-making during the pandemic, the hostility of the public toward teachers who have no control over their work conditions, the callousness of school board members who remain aloof from danger while requiring others to risk their lives, the politicization of science at the expense of reality, the meddling of politicians who know nothing about either health or education, and more additional challenges than I can list in a single column.
And that’s just the health crisis.
Teachers can be punished for mentioning the historical fact there is racism in the United States, and that it’s built into institutions. They are being told to do more with less, an administrative bromide that has never been based in reality. They are required to maintain curricular schedules in the face of spotty attendance, greater worries than diagramming sentences, community environments saturated in grief, their own families’ health concerns, and many other social challenges.
He goes on to ask: Who would want to be a school bus driver? Who would want to be a sub? Who would want to be a school administrator? Who would want to be a school board member?
Open the link and read his column.
It might help to remember that the Koch network and other rightwing foundations are funding the attacks on public schools as part of their effort to discredit them and promote privatization.