To the Times of Ti:
I think the reasons given for respect for teachers in your opinion piece is self serving to teachers. All respect given to individuals is either earned by them or forced, such as in the military.
It can also be forced by peer pressure with the penalty of being marginalized by ridicule if that respect is not given. I remember teachers from my childhood but only 10 percent of them made an impression that was lasting and favorable because those few teachers inspired interest and curiosity on my part through a quality curriculum and personal enthusiasm. As a result they had my respect, and they were remembered.
The quality of education in my youth was far superior to what it is today because then there was not the level of government involvement that we have today. The state I lived in then had little involvement in education. State control of schools as well as curriculum has crippled education. Removal of discipline from the classroom has forced some of our best teachers to quit.
The teachers union, which at times is needed, has done more harm than good, as is true with most unions. In my community teachers make more money than most other working people, so the union hasn't failed in that respect.
There are many reasons I will not put teachers on a pedestal above other citizens. I think it only fair to see them as equals.They are citizens just like the rest of us, both good and bad.
As far as state funding goes I would like to see the state get out of the education business. The only interest the state has in education is to see to it that students learn nothing that might make them savvy voters. Otherwise the status quo of corruption, bribery and lying in politics might come to an end. Because we live in a system where democracy has failed, and we feel powerless to change things, we tend to use a lot of denial when discussing anything government, and education in New York is government, and its control is subtle and unyealding.
The politicians of our state will never underestimate the value of an uninformed public. Teachers are a part of that shortcoming, as are we all.