A Most Important Problem of America:
Proper Payment of Our Teachers
by MAJ. GEN. LEONARD WOOD, United States Army
(Palatka Daily News October 20, 1919 pg 4)
COMMENTARY: Maj. Gen Leonard Wood was a General, a Doctor and the Army Chief of Staff. Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri is named for him. He was a "Rough Rider" and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The words to this article below are transcribed above the image. If you read it, it expresses points of view that are as relevant today as they were almost 100 years ago when Major General Leonard Wood wrote this article. Regardless of your personal point of view, I hope you enjoy the General's foresight.
The Article Below States:
"One of the most important problems confronting our people is the proper payment of teachers and professors in our public schools and colleges. Today these men and women, to whom we turn our children over to be educated and who incidentally have the greatest influence in forming their characters, are receiving salaries below that of many unskilled laborers. Many of the professors of great universities are receiving salaries below that of the skilled workman.
The teaching profession is entitled to and needs the best brains of the country, and must have them if we are to build and maintain a sound nation. There is no body of men or women in this land whose services are more important. They are the principal builders of our Ship of State. At present the Ship is being built by underpaid, and consequently dissatisfied, workmen. Many of the more skilled are leaving the profession; this is a dangerous situation. Many are staying because they have the missionary spirit, but they know that they are not receiving just or proper recognition and that the position of the teacher has been degraded. We must pay the teachers and professors enough to bring to the progession the best brains in the country.
If we want a right-thinking public, we must bring our children under the best minds of the nation during their school and formative period. At present we are neglecting this in most reckless fashion. Those who teach our youth are fighting the noiseless battle, upon the success of which rests the stability of our institutions.
We must stand for a government under the Constitution. Every step from the Constitution is to step toward anarchy. We want neither an autocracy of wealth nor an autocracy of labor, but true democracy of both -- a spirit of co-operation and mutual helpfulness. Labor and capital are interlocking and interdependent. Those who destroy one destroy the other.
We must stand for one Flag, and that is the Flag you men and your fathers carried in battle. We must smash the red flag and those who carry it, support it and follow it. It is an emblem of disorder and lawlessness and is against everything this government stands for.
We want one language in the grade public schools, and that is the language of the Declaration of Independence. We can have but one loyalty; that is loyalty to the American people. There can be no divided allegiance. The only kind of American we want is the 100 per cent American.
We must work for national solidarity and try to build up a strong pure American spirit, helpful and generous to a world in trouble but distinctively American. We must avoid loose-fibered internationalism as we would avoid death, for it means national death.