American Morning

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March 18th, 2011
02:24 PM ET

Rhee: U.S. needs to recognize, reward best teachers

Currently, American students come in 15th in reading, 19th in science and 27th in math compared to other countries such as Finland, Korea and Singapore where high-performing college graduates are hired for teaching positions and provided with support from mentors to increase their skill in the classroom.

Michelle Rhee Founder of the grass roots movement Students First and former Washington, DC Schools Chancellor discusses her organizations efforts in Florida to reform the education bill and what steps we should be taking to save our teachers.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. JL Guildoo

    good teachers are hard to find? good teachers are very much needed by our society. Our children must be prepared to take this America to the next level, whatever that requires. Our children are our most important American product, don't let our and their future fail because a bunch of rich money hungry people and States wish it so. The people in America are real tired of the price gouging, most of the rich are doing nothing for this great country. A few actually get on TV and tell us how they are helping only to find out its a popularity contest. Bad Americans who rip Americans off for no other reason than to get noticed and thake our last hard earned dime.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  2. dean

    please have Jim Walsh report on condition of the COMMON SPENT FUEL POOLs in Japanese reactor area

    March 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  3. Jacqueline

    I am a recently retired teacher who is more than a little tired of the constant stream of negative criticism about US students and, more specifically, their teachers. A given–some teachers are not so good, and they should not be working with students. Contrary to what many politicians would have you believe, however, unions do not prevent administration from firing bad teachers. They do, however, require that due process be followed. It's a bit like Miranda warnings–do it right if you don't want problems.

    More to the point, however, I contend that our entire culture is virulently anti-education. We are shocked that our high school students are so bad at science. Let's look at the real world around them. Legislators in the U.S. Congress proclaim that God will not allow the world to be destroyed by global warming; legislators ignore facts about global warming/climate change as they seek to disable our nation's regulations to protect the environment. They object to figuring out what medical treatments actually work versus the ones that do not. I truly feel sorry for our educators charged with teaching science and the origin of the species. Huge portions of our citizenry do not believe in science, and they don't trust its findings. Why should their children differ?

    Then we move on to social studies. No education about broken treaties with American Indians, little about Jim Crow and the need for the Civil Rights movements of the 1960's. Even Thomas Jefferson has moved into the bad column since he has been labeled a "deist." Free enterprise is in; the labor movement is out. We cannot expect our students to perform well when we politicize the education system.

    Last but not least, there are the critical subjects of reading and math, which have also been politicized. The right is firmly in the phonics camp. No one ever seems to ask a far more critical question: what makes students want to read? No adult, no high school student, no middle school student, who actually enjoys reading, consciously uses phonics skills to do so. If all you do is ensure a student learns how to read, you've only accomplished half the task; the other half is enticing them to want to read. That requires a totally different approach. And most of us want our children to learn to do math the way we did. How successful was that? Just observe the next time you are in a clothing sale which posts how much the items will cost at 25% off, 50% off, etc. They know quite well that many adults cannot figure out how much an item will cost if it is 50% off and now subject to an additional 30% cut.

    We cannot exonerate teachers who do a poor job; we cannot exonerate failure to teach students, but we will not solve the problems that beset our public schools by simply excoriating teachers. We, the adults, need to make it clear that we value education, that public schools provide all children a chance to achieve their maximum potential, and that we expect those who run businesses and manage our governments to do so as well.

    March 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm |