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Letters to the Editor...
A Reply to Mr. Sowell

This letter is in response to an article by
Mr. Thomas Sowell, A Reply to Teachers which
appeared in the June issue of Jewish World
Review, http://www.jewishworldreview.com.

Isn't Freedom of Speech a wonderful thing?
It gives everyone the right to be a critic -
even when they don't know what they are
talking about.

Mr. Sowell says he has "been in" schools
across the country. I'm sure he has been in
hundreds - giving motivational speeches,
doing "research" observations, discussing
how to teach with administrators. I have
"been in" lots of car dealerships and car
repair shops. Does this mean I have the
expertise to tell the presidents of GM,
Ford, Chrysler, etc. how to manufacture
cars?

I haven't read the book Mr. Sowell refers to
when he cites his statistics that teachers
come from the bottom third/half of college
graduates. However he seems to contradict
himself by going on to say that there is no
correlation between taking education courses
and being a good teacher.

He also states that paying teachers more
money will not draw the best candidates for
teaching. So are we to assume that
industries which offer $40,000+ starting
salaries to recent college graduates are not
doing this to attract the best candidates?
This kind of logic makes me think that
companies who want the best qualified
candidates will attract them by offering
minimum wage.

Stating that private schools do a better job
with less money being paid to teachers is a
pretty lame argument. Most people who are
paying thousands of dollars a year to pay
purchase an item are going to do everything
possible to insure that they get their
money's worth by watching the process,
inspecting how things are done and testing
to insure quality. However, if you give them
the same item for free - absolutely no
investment of any kind - they are going to
assume it's of a
cheaper quality and put little time and
effort into assuring it's worth their while.

Mr. Sowell seems content to be part of the
problem with public education. He writes in
generalities - something I do not accept
from my students. He offers no solution to
the problems faced by public education. He
places the blame on teachers without ever
attempting to do the job or, clearly,
attempting to understand the sociological
factors involved in dealing not just with
students but also their families.

He's just one more educated elitist with an
axe to grind. It's really amazing to think
that he, too, was educated by that "bottom
half" of college graduates. I wonder how he
accounts for his position and success?

L. Pratt, Public School Teacher
jclp@swbell.net

L. Pratt, jclp@swbell.net,
6/20/00

This month's letters:

  • Responding to a Positive Press, 6/27/00, by Mae in Texas.
  • Create your own newspaper that is positive!!!, 6/20/00, by A thought!.
  • A Reply to Mr. Sowell, 6/20/00, by L. Pratt.
  • Why are Teachers Negative about Clutural Exchanges?, 6/16/00, by Dr. Barbara Y. Wills.
  • The Untold Secret -- TAAS Problems, 6/05/00, by Donna Garner, Texas (Ex-Public School Teacher).
  • How About a Positive Press?, 6/03/00, by Jan Fisher.

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