Dear Matt Damon: You're Wrong

Posted: Aug 04, 2011 3:00 PM

By now, you may be familiar with a video from the Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C. The video features Matt Damon, making assertions about teachers and public schools, all of which are meant to support the point that we should feed teachers unions more money:

~tenure doesn't make anyone lazy

~job security doesn't affect performance

~teachers are willing to take a 'bad' (Damon uses a different word) salary and long hours because they love to teach that much

And now for some facts:

~ according to the Department of Education website, public school teachers make more than their private counterparts, even before the pensions and the benefits

~ shorter work days mean that their compensation per hour is actually higher than average

Let's not get in to the debate about incentives when doing a job poorly is protected or the meaning of 'paternalistic'.

Bob Bowdon, director of the documentary The Cartel, tells Townhall:

Matt Damon explains to us that "A teacher wants to teach. Why else would you take a s**** salary and really long hours and do that job?"

"Wouldn't it be much better to become a Hollywood actor and instead make millions of dollars per movie? When people choose teaching over being movie stars, it proves their love for the craft of educating kids, doesn't it?"

Okay, I made up that last part, but it certainly seems implied in Damon's thinking.

Doesn't he know there are both good and bad teachers? Doesn't he know that while some are underpaid, others have been doing a poor job for years but can't be fired because of tenure? Does he care about the children stuck with the lousy teachers?

He's certainly right that some people love teaching. And many are dedicated.

But when Matt Damon perpetuates the myth that teachers are all competent, he mocks the movement to make teachers more accountable and lends his celebrity to celebrate a bloated bureaucratic monopoly that's demonstrably failed millions of American children