Here's an important question: What sector of public employees recently received a 71 percent approval rating from its core constituents? If you said elected officials, well, you are wrong.
The answer is teachers. On the recent PDK/Gallup poll of the Public's Attitudes toward the Public Schools, nearly three out of every four Americans said that they have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach in the public schools.
But rather than celebrating this exemplary review, too many Democratic and Republican policymakers and business interests are selling rhetoric and policies that blame and punish teachers for the shortcomings of our education system. This is similar to blaming a swim coach for not teaching kids to swim when none of the pools have water.
Unfortunately, the teachers are easy targets these days. Many schools have become test factories that demoralize students and single out teachers for low scores. Teachers don't shirk this responsibility even if accountability-based models diminish their abilities to instruct. And let's not forget that more students are coming from high-poverty families, arrive to school hungry or are learning to speak and write in English.