Synopses & Reviews
A startling call to action for improving the working lives of public school teachers.
Dave Eggers, acclaimed author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, son and brother of teachers, co-founder of writing centers in New York and San Francisco, and passionate education advocate, joins forces with teacher Nínive Clements Calegari and journalist Daniel Moulthrop to examine a national scandal that affects us all. Many teachers today must work two or more jobs to survive; they can't afford to buy homes or raise families. Why are they paid so poorly? How is this related to student achievement? And how can we find ways to treat them like the professionals they are?
Teachers Have It Easy examines how bad policy intersects with teachers' lives. Interweaving teachers' voices from across the country with hard-hitting facts and figures, the book is a clear-eyed view of the harsh realities of public school teaching, without any chicken-soup-for-the-soul success stories. With a look at the problems of recruitment and retention, the myths of short workdays and endless summer vacations, the realities of the work week, and shocking examples of how society views America's teachers, Teachers Have It Easy explores why salary reform may be the best way to improve public education and examines how innovative compensation plans can transform schools.
"This book provides a punchy, thoughtful look at the issues surrounding teacher salaries in the public school system. And while it is openly biased on the subject-the authors see salary reform as the best way to ameliorate many of the problems facing America's public schools-this bias never compromises its even-handed consideration of the current debate. In part, this is because the authors wisely ground the book in the words and experiences of teachers themselves. The stories of high ideals and hard work compromised by the brutal conditions facing teachers speak for themselves, allowing the authors to make their points by interspersing short passages that highlight the key issues raised by the vignettes. Whether or not one agrees with their solutions, their characterization of the problem is spot-on. Perhaps more valuable, however, is their detailed discussion of actual school reform initiatives. Unlike most of the problems treated here-low pay and little respect for teachers or resource shortages in public schools-these incentives will not be familiar to most readers. Each of them take different approaches to the problems facing public schools and have had varying degrees of success, but all of them illustrate the gains that can be made when committed educators and policymakers work together with shared goals and community support. It's no accident that the book winds up with this informative consideration of solutions (nor that it provides a rich bibliography for further reading as well as contact lists of reform-minded school districts, teacher recruitment agencies and a variety of educational organizations) because in the end it is less a complaint than a call to action, one that will appeal to a wide body of readers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Pulitzer Prize finalist and "McSweeney's" editor Dave Eggers presents a startling call to action for improving the working lives of public school teachers.
Do teachers really have it easy?
Teaching would be the greatest job in the world-if money didn't matter.
I told the girl I was dating I wouldn't mind teaching and she said, 'Don't waste your talent on that.'
The schizophrenia is an issue: are you a professional or are you not?
I actually had to get a note from my doctor saying I needed to be excused to use the restroom during the day.
I threw in the towel and decided, it's a noble profession but I don't have time to be noble right now.
About the Author
Pulitzer Prize finalist and McSweeney's editor Dave Eggers is the founder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit tutoring and writing lab in San Francisco with a new center in Brooklyn. Teacher Nínive Clements Calegari is the founding executive director of 826 Valencia. Daniel Moulthrop is completing a master's in journalism at the University of California-Berkeley. All live in the San Francisco Bay area.