I disagree with your reader who believes it is incumbent on the public to treat teachers as if they have worth.
First, teachers must treat themselves as if they have worth. As long as they choose to be compensated like piece workers (a negotiated schedule in a labor contract), they’ll be treated like piece workers. If they choose to be held accountable, they’ll be treated like professionals.
Currently, a teacher’s pay is completely independent of their performance. It’s found on the pages of a labor contract. Great teacher, lousy teacher. Mathematics or arts and crafts. Seattle or Twisp. Doesn’t matter.
Imagine what would happen if teachers agreed to be held accountable. If they could accept more pay to work in less desirable locations. If teachers of mathematics or other subjects where a shortage exists could accept more compensation. If we could give great teachers a raise and let the lousy ones go.
Who’s to judge performance in the class room you ask? Anyone who’s been to a PTA meeting knows the answer: parents. We don’t need to make thinks complicated. Collectively, parents can judge a teacher’s performance to three significant digits.
If teachers want to be treated like professionals, they need to stop acting like piece workers and agree to be held accountable. They can’t have it both ways.