By Cynthia McCabe
Want to get Jon Stewart fired up? Tell him that teachers are overpaid or have easy jobs.
On The Daily Show Thursday night, Stewart interviewed education expert Diane Ravitch and the comedian/newsman pointed out that educators on the front lines have become easy targets for political opportunists.
That is the thing that has been the most mindblowing for me… to see people blaming the avarice of teachers. Or the idea that ‘Hey, they only work nine months a year.’ God forbid you do the job of a teacher for a year. It will blow your mind at how hard (it is.)
“Those people have no idea,” Stewart, whose mother is an educator, said of critics. “And yet that’s the conversation.”
For those beleagured by the attacks on educators’ rights and work ethic, support that came this week by way of Stewart, his Comedy Central colleague Stephen Colbert and actor Matt Damon in a CNN interview provided heartening moments.
Last week, Colbert put his trademark satire on The Colbert Report to work, jokingly railing at “those freeloaders with their cushy state jobs, like snow plow operators, prison guards and teachers. Oh, they’re always driving around lording their ’93 Nissan Sentras over everybody.”
“I love to see Stewart and Colbert standing up for teachers, because they are in a unique position to point out that the reforms being suggested by (Wisconsin Gov. Scott) Walker and others are nothing BUT laughable,” Idaho elementary education student Nancy Kapcia Jones wrote on NEA’s Speak Up for Education & Kids Facebook wall.
In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan this week, Damon expressed his frustration at the current climate.
“The idea that we’re testing kids and we’re tying teachers’ salaries to how kids are performing on tests, that kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher order,” said Damon, the father of four children. “We’re training them, not teaching them.”
Here’s the Jon Stewart clip with Ravitch:
And here’s Stephen Colbert, talking about the fight for the middle class and workers’ rights:
Matt Damon talks testing on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight: