I wish I could find an electronic copy of an editorial I found not too long ago in a local paper. It made an excellent and succinct point about how teachers unions are bringing about mass idiocy in our educational systems and, as a result, our populations.
I'm sure there's many factors contributing to our declining educational systems, but I don't think anyone can deny that attempting to standardize teaching and "level the playing field" as it were may not be as great of an idea as it sounds in theory. For many, math can be a hard subject. All arguments about relative difficulties and complexities aside, maths and sciences are at least not as accessible as, say, literature, history, or art. So it would stand to reason, that with less people gaining a firm and passionate grasp on a subject, there would be less available who are qualified to not only teach it, but teach it well.
Now, with teacher's unions gaining the same benefits for all teachers, where a history teacher and a calculus teacher of the same level of skill and experience receive the same compensation for their troubles, how much motivation does the truly talented mathmetician have to teach in highschool when various industries will pay him ridiculously more to work for them instead? How many history teachers would get offered $100K plus by the private sector?
So with supply and demand being what they are and all teachers NOT being created equal, why are they being paid the same? This only results in lesser qualified and lesser motivated math and science teachers in highschool resulting in less motivated and less educated students who have less chance of going into post-secondary math and science. Less post-secondary math and science students means a smaller number of talented mathmeticians and scientists graduating. This means a smaller number of potential future highschool teachers who are talented and educated enough to guide and motivate students in those fields. The cycle repeats.
I can't see the current educational crisis improving at all if these unions continue to insist that a history major has the same value as a good mathematician. I'm pretty sure we would have never made it to the moon if all we did was research the details of the war of 1812.