"In any business or government service, continued investment can only be justified by results," retired Oklahoma National Guard brigadier general Ed Wheeler writes in the Tulsa World. "Conventional wisdom concedes that public school teachers are not paid enough for what is expected from them. Yet the same public that sympathizes with those teachers, never seem to ask what is reasonable to expect for their investments."
Mr. Wheeler is a former U.S. history, American federal government, and cultural geography instructor at Tulsa Community College. He has also taught at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, and the U.S. Army War College. He continues:
As an adjunct instructor, I taught college for 13 years. Of almost 2,000 students who came from dozens of states and school districts, I was stunned by one undeniable fact: The overwhelming majority of freshman students who arrived in my classes less than three months after graduating from high school were abysmally ignorant and unprepared for college work.
Many of them couldn’t spell, formulate a coherent sentence or create a simple math equation in their heads. When required to write a simple assignment, their grasp of grammar was elementary at best. They didn’t know the difference between an adjective and a noun. Too many didn’t know the difference between plural and possessive words, and they felt I was unfair by pointing out that there, they’re and their had entirely different meanings, even though their electronic crutches used them interchangeably. They often lacked the skills to take notes during lectures and class discussions, a condition that will inevitably worsen since cursive is no longer being taught in many elementary schools. Their grasp of geography was parochial at best. The overwhelming majority could not identify the 50 states of the union on a map. It is impossible to teach anyone about the Battle of Gettysburg if they don’t know where Pennsylvania is, or anything about our government when they can’t even name the vice president.