James Flanigan was right to point out how much illiteracy costs us. As a teacher, I want that message to get out loud and clear. Another message I want to get out, however, is that teachers don't deserve all the blame for this problem.
Students' attitudes toward learning are nurtured more in the home than in the school. Give me students who have learned to take school seriously and I can do a more effective job of educating your child.
Anyone with a job to do does it better if he or she is paid decently and treated with respect. Also, more respect for teachers--from parents, administrators and the public--will lead to better job performance.
Like other working people, teachers do their jobs more effectively if they have decent supplies and working conditions. Rooms that heat up to 80 degrees are not the best environments for teaching and learning. Neither are large classes.
Improving education is expensive, but, as Flanigan points out, supporting large numbers of dropouts is more expensive than supporting education.
Supporting the efforts of teachers is good business.