Teachers are at the heart of every school

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Recently, the president of Michigan’s ultra-conservative Hillsdale College at a private education conference in Tennessee made this statement: “Education. It’s easy. You don’t have to know anything (to teach)….You don’t have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it.”
He also said: “Teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country.”
This man, Dr. Larry Arnn, is an education advisor to Gov. Bill Lee. The governor has partnered with Arnn to open around 52 charter schools across Tennessee. Wonder where he is going to get the teachers for these schools? Off the street? As he said, basically anybody can do it.
Do you remember who your favorite teacher was in school? Everybody has one.
Was it the one who opened your mind and expanded your thinking to unimagined realms?
The one who made the classroom so much fun you didn’t realize you were learning?
The one who encouraged you on days when you thought the impossible?
Or was it the one who had a hug for you on the day you were at your lowest?
We need to have a better understanding and appreciation of what teachers do.
They teach not only academics, but also thinking skills. They teach children to learn to figure things out on their on, solve problems and become life-long learners. They also teach social skills.
Teachers are at the heart of every school. There are many characteristics of a good teacher — courage, creativity, caring, passion for the job, high expectations of both themselves and their students, and the willingness to go the extra mile to help a child learn.
Strong and effective teachers are educators. What they pass on to their students forms a lasting impression that goes well beyond the 180 days or so they share with them in a classroom one year of their lives.
Teachers wear many hats — mentor, coach, counselor, listening ear, and so much more. They shape and mold the minds of our young people and prepare them for their future.
The most important thing in education is employing teachers who want to teach.
Back to Larry Arnn. We hope Tennessee legislators took note of Mr. Arnn’s message at the education conference. Our teachers are not dumb and they are educated at some of the finest colleges in the country. His statement is a throw-back to such colleges at East Tennessee State University and Milligan University, where many local teachers studied and earned their degrees.
And, to our governor, who sat silently at the table and never said a word in defense of Tennessee teachers, shame on you. Instead, he defended Arnn, saying he was talking about leftists in education.
Education is not a right or left issue. Neither is it a Republican or Democrat issue. It is an issue that affects all of us, and should be treated that way.
Our governor seems to be a bit timid when it comes to some issues…He needs to quit defending the remarks of Larry Arnn, who is seeking to further the growth of Hillsdale College, and quite frankly is not interested in Tennessee students at all. There are plenty of educated people in Tennessee who could advise the governor, if he chose to look.
Quite frankly, both Arnn and the governor insulted generations of teachers who have made a difference for countless students. We have successful leaders today in our state because teachers made a difference in their lives.
If our public schools are lacking, we need to invest more into making them better, rather than investing in Dr. Larry Arnn and his Hillsdale College charter schools.

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