Why are teachers so underpaid and underappreciated when they are considered the builders of society?

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Why are teachers so underpaid and underappreciated when they are considered the builders of society?

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As a university Adjunct Professor, I get the end product of a teacher’s twelve years of work. Most of their students do not have even mediocre vocabulary skills, nor can they determine meaning from context. They are ignorant of geography, and cannot find Europe on a map. I stopped giving essay exams because fully half of my students had never seen a ‘blue book’, nor taken an essay exam before my class. These students cannot even construct a coherent sentence. Based upon these results, it is no wonder. BTW, starting salaries for public school teachers are usually higher than that of Assistant Professors; additionally, teachers get a four to six year jump in earnings years because they are not required to have any sort of advanced degree, nor are they burdened by the additional considerable debt incurred by pursuing a Doctorate.