When it comes to the 2012 presidential debates, we have to agree with Lindsay Lohan for the first and hopefully last time: we’re “so relieved that it’s over.”
Both candidates showed up to last night’s event armed with zingers and insults, but moderator Bob Schieffer may have scored the evening’s best line when he expressed his frustration with domestic policy squabbles by asserting that “I think we all love teachers.”
Do we, though?
Ask a teacher whether the public truly appreciates the work they do and you might get a different answer. (Hint: the average American teacher’s job satisfaction level is lower today than at any point over the last 20 years.)
Based on recent events, we’d say the teaching profession has something of a PR problem—especially when its members form groups and dare to make (gasp!) collective demands. For example, The 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that, while a vast majority of Americans still say they have “trust and confidence” in the men and women who teach our children, we remain deeply divided on individual issues–and many of us think that teachers have too much power.
Based on the popularity of aggressive charter school advocates like Michelle Rhee and films like Waiting for Superman and Won’t Back Down that convey strong anti-union messages, we’d say Americans don’t love or trust public schoolteachers much at all.