Dissing Education

dissingeducationI’ve just finished reading the Saturday comics, this fine early August morning, and I saw something upsetting, pervasive, and subliminally powerful. I saw the ongoing American cultural disdain for education. Three of the comics were about how upsetting it is, for their characters, to think of the pain of returning to school. In one, a pleasant-appearing, bohemian-looking teacher eating an ice-cream cone, asks two kids how they are enjoying their summer. Their discussion after is about how disturbing it was to think about returning to school. The other two comics were similar – thinking of school ruins summer vacation.

I’ve noticed before that school-hating is a common and apparently acceptable American meme. I wonder, however, if this is harmless, or if it affects children and their parents at a subliminal level, telling them that school is a distasteful, negative experience. I wonder further if this might be part of the ongoing attack on American teachers. In my Twitter-based following of discussions of what’s happening in American education, I see teachers being implicitly and explicitly challenged and vilified. Is the sense of being entitled to treat teachers this way based, at all, on this anti-school meme?

After a career in teaching, I will admit that I saw a very few poor teachers, and even a couple (in 40 years) of lazy completely inept teachers. But I saw hundreds of earnest, hard-working, caring teachers, passionate about their subjects and their students.

I have two questions:

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