Don and I chat a lot about the problems with education and most certainly one of them is that a lot of teachers aren't teaching. When I say that aren't teaching, I don't mean they aren't teaching the curriculum (although that is a problem too), I mean that don't begin the process of actually using their skills to teach kids things.
One example of that is the proliferation of movies in the classroom. I went to high school just after VCRs were available and at the worst, I saw three movies in any given class. In the world of DVDs/VCRs/TVs/projectors in most classrooms, some teachers have used that as an opportunity to show many more movies to students.
Don't get me wrong, a movie can be extraordinarily useful in a curriculum. I certainly use them. However, showing movies a majority of the time in a class or worse, without critical reflection or discussion (which can come in a lot of forms), they are little more than educational fast food.
This article struck me as an example. This poor kid was shown An Inconvenient Truth FOUR times in different classes this year. Now, of course, people like Drudge (who I stole this link from, so I guess thanks to him) think the problem is that this movies with all of it's "liberal science" is being pushed down student's throats. The truth is, the more offensive part of this is that any movie was shown in four different classes, where there was only a link in maybe one.
I don't think it is hyperbole to say that we are fighting for the soul of education right now. Great teachers are leaving the classroom in droves and those quality professionals that remain face an extraordinary challenge to actually teach students. But more than the lack of funds, more than overpacked classrooms, more than falling apart buildings, we have to make sure that the relationship between students and teachers is a productive one. Anything else? Meaningless unless we prioritize TEACHING first.