And opinions like these are the reasons we see legislatures with no teaching experience making policies that leave teachers banging their heads against the wall about the stupidity of the decisions. Personally I'm a teacher and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in my field. I've had a great deal of success with my students, so I feel qualified to respond to this. Teachers are definitely qualified to make decisions in the classroom about what they teach! More so than most of the people that are in charge of making those decisions.
The best teachers I've seen are the ones that take the time to develop their own Hypothesis about problems in their classroom and have gone on to try new ways to teach. Sure they have some failures, especially as young teachers, but they learn from them and adapt new strategies. That is if they stick around long enough to improve. The biggest problem with education right now is keeping teachers long enough to develop into master teachers. With the average length of career for teachers being about five years... well there are plenty of problems out there.
The pay is addressed all of the time, it's not great. Supposedly there's a three month vacation every year, but if I have two weeks personally I'm having a long break! Between professional development and other expectations, that summer doesn't really exist for anyone but the students. But, most teachers know the pay isn't great going into it. They do it because they have a passion for teaching.
Too many of them see the passion ebb away though thanks to the fact that they are expected to work miracles with students that have no support networks at home. Then they are expected to hold students to a high standard - and then have their jobs threatened when they do so! The levels of paperwork make the Office Space reports seem quick and painless, and they have to keep track of that with each student. Other than in elementary school most teachers are expected to keep track of 100+ students/day with probably at least 20% of those students having modifications that require separate lesson plans for them.
It's all a recipe for burn out! The fear of being held accountable for the students that care doesn't scare most teachers. It's the students that have no support network at home and most likely will not succeed no matter what is done that scares these teachers.