Raise Salaries or Lower the Bar?

So, it seems some people have decided that ‘too much’ education is a bad thing.  Imagine, if you will, that your state has a shortage of teachers.  Your state also has the lowest wages for teachers in the nation.  Now, the common-sense solution here is to offer incentives to qualified teachers, raise the salaries to be competitive, right?  Well, Arizona has decided to go a different route – lower the requirements for becoming a teacher!  An excerpt from an article in Salon

“Last week, just days after the Arizona legislature passed the most expansive school voucher law anywhere in the nation, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law another education measure decreeing that public school teachers are no longer required to have a college degree of any kind before being hired. Arizona teachers will only have to be enrolled in college in order to begin teaching the state’s public school students.

 The law, SB 1159, was pushed by conservatives on the grounds that Arizona has faced a severe teacher shortage for the last six years, which, by this winter, left 26% of teacher vacancies unfilled and nearly 2,000 classrooms without an official teacher of record. That shortage has led supporters of the bill, including business interests such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to claim that loosening teacher credential requirements will help fill those staffing gaps. Opponents of the bill, however, point to the fact that Arizona has the lowest teacher salaries in the country, even while boasting a budget surplus of more than $5 billion.”

But Arizona isn’t alone … Christopher Rufo, the activist who blames the teaching of history and facts for all the evils in the nation …

“… called for state lawmakers to rescind requirements that teachers hold education degrees, claiming that masters programs in education only exposed future teachers to left-wing ideology. Instead, Rufo argued, public schools should only require bachelor’s degrees for new hires, predicting that in time school officials would come to view applicants with advanced degrees as suspicious: Don’t ‘hire the ones with the masters, because those are the crazies.’”

So, just to be clear on the direction education is taking today in much of the country … we’re not going to teach our children facts about the history of the nation … things like slavery, white settler’s slaughter of the Indigenous People, Jim Crow, systemic racism, Japanese-American internment camps and more.  We won’t require that the people teaching our children are actually knowledgeable and educated themselves.  We will keep teacher’s salaries low so as not to attract the best and the brightest.  We will allow schools to impose one specific religious belief on all students, regardless of their own beliefs or lack thereof.  Oh yeah, sounds like a perfect recipe for what some would call “American Exceptionalism.”  Just remember, though, that ‘exceptional’ can take on a variety of meanings … there’s an “exceptionally well-done job”, but then there’s also “exceptionally stupid.”