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Came across this post totally by accident and had to chime in.
This discussion has so many possible tangents for so many reasons. That said, I'm of the opinion that if teachers are to be called–and treated as–professionals, they should be paid like professionals, and their educational requirements should reflect that as well. The profession would attract more qualified people if it were viewed as a respectable option for talented individuals across a variety of interests rather than low-key job with great benefits and summers off. As things have stood, the union's imperatives are actually a selling point for a profession with few others beyond pure love for the job.

I'm not blaming the teachers, and what I've heard of the NYC administration reminds me of Picasso's Guernica. I realize that this is a very emotional issue and there are many outstanding and dedicated teachers of all ages. But as someone whose teachers (at a "good" suburban school) included a majority of fossilized creatures who had taught my classmates' parents–and, who knows, probably grandparents–and provided young minds with all the inspiration of dryer lint, I'm pretty sure seniority alone isn't worth much as a qualification.

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