Shielded and protected in the state system

It’s a sad image: an ageing but experienced teacher, constantly yelling at his students, a sign that he’s lost touch and control. It’s time to go. It’s been time for a while. But he’s going out on his own terms…at the end of the year.

If he were in a normal work environment, where customers had the option of exit and his employer had considerably more power than the school does over him, he would’ve been gone a long time ago. Because it’s either that or the customers go elsewhere. But a teacher like this one has a captive audience. His students can’t go anywhere. And the school can’t, or doesn’t let him go. He’s a nuisance but a bearable one.

So he continues teaching yelling. And yelling. And yelling at his students. They continue despising him, annoying him, tolerating him. Very little learning occurs, and very little in the way of human connection and development. It’s a constant battle, a war of attrition. But he’s hanging on. After all, he’s secured for himself a very comfortable economic rent. They’re hard to give up.

It’s only in a system that lacks accountability, both from the employer and from the customer, that a man such as this can continue in such an untenable position. This is the argument for school choice. Give the students the option of exit, alongside greater power to the schools, and watch as people like this teacher are sent on their merry ways. This man is an argument for massive deregulation. And there’s plenty like him.

 

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