National outrage has been provoked about the pay packet of a Primary school head teacher, Mark Elms from Deptford, South London.
Surprisingly the biggest cry of disdain has been from a union, whose role is to protect its member’s wages and improve their working lives.
There’s a great scene in the US political drama The West Wing in which a lead character Sam Seaborne makes his argument about how the education system should be funded:
“Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes; we need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces.
The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That’s my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.”
Imagine our country had that kind of attitude toward educating our young? Almost every problem a person faces in life can be defined by how well educated they are, and how they experienced the education system. What becomes of young people that drop out of school should by now be obvious and beyond the need for description. Education matters.
Education should be on par with national defense, because essentially it is a defense of the future of this country, and against falling behind in a competitive globalised economy.
To read about the outcry about Mr Elms over his pay packet is disheartening. The teacher deserves praise for the remarkable job he has done in one of the poorest parts of London.
He deserves praise for attempting to live the ideal described above, an ideal that education should be central to our society; we should value it the way we value our young, and value the future of our country.
By Leon Green