Drew, I don't think its the Profession that gets the bashing, its where the monies actually get spent perhaps? That and the way some places throw their weight around. I've raised children and had to drive them to school through the worst weather and road conditions because the school board cut bussing to ensure the mills were passed at the next ballot. We endured 3 months and yes, the ballot passed, but how it was passed will never be forgotten, not here anyway. Imagine the congested traffic in a small town with rather large school because laws had been passed to consolidate several schools, save money and offer better education. The buses did run for sporting events though.
No, I agree with you. Good teachers are hard to find, those are the ones that will endure, they are their because that is what they yearn to do and they should be compensated well for it. I'm a firm believer in rewarding those who do well as I am also a firm believer that if someone is doing a job simply because it is another persons wish, stature, just for the money or its deemed a gravy job etc... that those people shouldn't be working those jobs whether it is teaching or any other job. Profession is strange word which I think is often misused, every job is a profession if the individuals doing them are indeed experts.
When I went to college I was 34 years old, finding a Good math teacher was like finding a Good dentist. Oh sure there were plenty of professors and all having masters and being certified etc etc. but the quality, commitment and desire to teach, especially teaching older students which had lost years in doing amu equations... well let's just say there are miles between them. I went further than I had to in my math because I found a great teacher and couldn't wait to see what problems I could solve. Miles and miles of difference. Just because someone can does not mean they should.
We all do what we can, but hopefully we all end up doing what we love.