Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Carpe diem

Although not a day goes by without the oracles of media transmogrification, Jarvis and Rosenblum, reminding us not to delay in waking up to new realities, sometimes there's a post with a slightly different slant.

Yesterday Michael Rosenblum recalled his schooling in in America...

"When I was a kid in the 1960s, the only job women could get was as teachers or nurses.The most intelligent women in the world ended up as teachers. And the quality of teaching in America was superb- largely due to them. And the school systems discovered that they could vastly underpay those women, because they had no other options. Then, in the 70s, the world opened up to women, and intelligent and driven women became CEOs, and lawyers and doctors. And the schools, instead of responding by becoming competitive, continued to vastly underpay. And in this world, you get what you pay for."

My own secondary schooling and college years were also American years, a decade earlier than Michael's. I had great teachers, many of them women.

Now, as my daughter finds herself in the midst of Abitur examinations, I find myself so relieved that her march through the secondary education system in Germany is almost over. For the most part (and there are to0 be sure exceptions) she and her classmates have not been lead on this journey by brilliant, inspired educators but by underpaid civil servants whose qualities do not enable them to aspire to the more demanding careers today's world has to offer.

Of course the teachers do agitate and strike and demand better remuneration. But this would hardly create a situation in which talented, ambitious young women, in particular, could consider teaching as an alternative to law, commerce or industry. It would simply make a bit better off those who have 'settled' for teaching as a profession.
I wonder how a comparable retrospective musing from the year 2050 will read?

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