August 12, 2005
Dave Eggers, Ninive Clements Calegari and Daniel Moulthrop's book, Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and the Small Salaries of America's Teachers, tells a scary tale (actually, several). The essays paint a public school system that chews up teachers, and a society that allows this to happen. Our government does little to ease the burden of the public school teacher in America, in fact, increased government interaction with school systems (like No Child Left Behind) has managed to make a tough job even tougher. This book didn't open my eyes, I have friends and family who teach and have similar complaints against the education system's treatment of teachers, but the book does make its arguments both against the current system and for reform in a cogent fashion, backing their positions with fact. If you are worried about the US public education system, this book could be eye-opening, and make you appreciate the good teachers (I'm looking at you, Mr. Lotsofco) who stay in the profession despite the poor pay, long hours, and little chance for advancement.
Hopefully my next book will hopefully be a bit more lighthearted, Created In Darkness By Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category.
I'm moving my reader-recommended reading month to September, so if you haven't sent me a suggestion, you still have time. Every LHB reader who suggests something I choose to read in September gets a largehearted prize pack (but don't expect much)...