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In my opinion, elementary school teachers are mostly poorly educated and half-trained in one of the most critical occupations of our civilization. I used to see bulletin boards in the schools where I taught proudly displaying signs with misspelled words and missing punctuation--written by the teachers. What were they able to teach the children?

In many schools, if the teacher can just keep the children quiet and busy, he/she is counted a success. And this, in locales where education is most important, as it is the only place where children of lower socioeconomic families will have a chance to learn the skills they will need to climb out of poverty.

Not only do these teachers have a dearth of knowledge in basic learning skills such as mathematics and language, they also evince a deplorable lack of education in the areas of critical thinking and social intelligence. Perhaps that's why they went into teaching in the first place.

I taught elementary school for 10 years. I saw the good ones leave to move on to places where they could truly make a difference and where their erudition and people skills would be appreciated at a pay scale commensurate with their worth. If only we could attract--and keep--well-educated, dedicated teachers and pay them accordingly, maybe our civilization could grow out of the muck and the mire and blossom into its lotus potential.

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