To the Editor:
Only those who have made a career of teaching can fully appreciate James D. Starkey’s perceptive remarks in his Commentary “Please Don’t Do Me Any Favors” (May 14, 2008). He speaks the absolute truth about the status of public school teachers in American society.
Teachers in other countries enjoy prestige that never ceases to amaze their counterparts here. In Finland, for example, educators are accorded great respect, to the point that teaching is the No. 1 profession in the eyes of teenagers. In Japan and other Asian countries, teachers also are looked up to.
Albert Shanker, the late president of the American Federation of Teachers, understood the importance of elevating teaching to a profession that would be worthy of high esteem. He was criticized for trying to do so through unionism, but it was the only way of giving teachers a voice when one was desperately needed.
Los Angeles, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the June 04, 2008 edition of Education Week as Essayist ‘Speaks the Truth’ On Status of U.S. Teachers