Thomas Jefferson: America's Champion of Education

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One of America's champions of education and a clear proponent of the principles of democracy, Thomas Jefferson, thought that until America had universal education it could never endure universal suffrage. Ignorant individuals have no basis in understanding democracy, and are not capable of self-government. However, with the application of education, he believed that the masses could rise to the occasion of good citizenry (Van De Mille). In the United States, free public education is mandated from kindergarten to 12th grade, and education is offered from pre-school to graduate school. Yet the system is in crisis in many ways, among which, recruitment and retention of qualified teachers to lead the necessary changes that will allow students to actualize and become intelligent global citizens. Teachers today face a number of challenges that contribute to a lack of job satisfaction, leaving schools for other professions that are more lucrative, low comparative compensation, and poor working conditions: Low comparative compensation In 1960, Senator John Kennedy remarked that we are a nation that pays its sanitation workers more than its teachers. He realized that without adequate compensation the country could not hope to provide enough well-trained teachers. "We are not attracting bring young men and women into teaching because the salaries which we pay our teachers are shamefully low" (Kennedy). Over 50 years later this situation has not substantially improved. It is not

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