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Today we are faced with a rising tide of legislation designed for one purpose, to test the learning of our children in schools and the efficacy of our teachers in teaching them. We often think of this as something new. Teachers, a comedy made in the early 80's, features a school under attack. It has teachers who care about their students, some who don't care about their students and almost every other type in between including those who are just trying to stay alive. The students are not really any better. Some want to learn, some don't and some are also just trying to stay alive. The school is also under attack from the outside. It seems that they are being sued for giving a diploma to a student that is functionally illiterate.
Teachers stars Nick Nolte as Alex Jurel, one of the teachers that cares about his students and is willing to put himself on the line for them. There is a history teacher (Richard Mulligan) that I really wish I had in high school. He makes history come alive. He literally brings history to life. His students love him and they are passing their tests. The problem is that he is not really a teacher; he's a mental patient that just happened to pass a house and answered a phone call made to a substitute teacher while he was showering. He takes the job and shows up to teach. Ralph Macchio plays the tough punk with a heart of gold underneath. Judd Hirsch is the beleaguered principle Roger Rubell who leans heavily on Alex in trying to keep the school in line. He's also being questioned by a lawyer who is representing the illiterate former student. Having been made in the 80's, the clothing styles are out of date but the issues are still relevant today and almost every kind of teacher stereotype is represented. One I find most remarkable is Ditto Stiles. I had a teacher exactly like him when I was in high school.