Tag Archives: teachers

Everybody Run, Teacher’s Got a Gun

We live in the age of iodiotic ideas followed by even more idiotic ideas. Most of the “solutions” to problems seem to be designed to create even more problems. And they do. Inevitable.

The latest idiotic idea is that we should start arming teachers in our schools. The NRA supports this idea, of course. As the primary gun manufacturing lobby this will mean more sales. More sales means more dollars to legal gun runners. More dollars to legal gun runners means more dollars in the NRA account. So, the idiotic idea at least has an upside for someone.

As I taught school for 33 years I wondered how I would do if I were armed. Nothing big. Just a small sidearm. A six-shooter. At my hip. Ready to go. Bang. Bang. You’re dead.

It would have proven a useful tool in my arsenal of teaching tricks, to be sure. Before I go on you might consider this. A number of studies have placed teaching as the third or fourth most stressful job in industrialized societies. Third or fourth. Behind soldiers. Cops. EMTS/medical folks. Lots of stress. And not so good on the wages for all those professions. So, even more stress.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/be_your_best/page/top-10-stressful-jobs-america-14355387

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/teaching-among-top-three-most-stressed-occupations

Back to my gun.

I can think of some situations in my long career where a gun may have been useful. And remember the old saying: Don’t point a loaded gun at anyone unless you intend to use it. Use it I would.

There was the 7th grader I will call “Billy Bob”. Billy Bob never did his homework. He almost always sauntered into class late. He shot spitballs on a regular basis. Never passed a test or quiz. Sometimes spit on the floor. He was sent to the office so often he earned frequent flyer miles. And he had a smart mouth. “You’re not my father, you can’t make me do nuthin”.  Wonder what I would have done with a loaded gun?

Then there was Akili . The 18 year old in 9th grade. Came to class once in awhile. Never had a book. Never had a pen or pencil. Never would answer a question. I asked the administration what to do with this kid. Why was he even in school? The answer? He had a “right” to an education and it was my job to teach him. Also, he is selling drugs but we can never catch him. So, once in awhile Akili would show up and take up space. Sit and smirk. Eventually Akili disappeared. Word has it he was “offed” by a rival in the drug business. Still, I wonder? If I had a gun would I have beaten his rival to the punch?

Then there is the monthly faculty meeting. Wherein a person who taught for 3 years and then decided he wanted to make real money but had no skills went on to get an “administrative degree”. This degree allowed such a person to be hired as a principal or vice principal of a school. And to supervise people who actually knew something about educating kids.

Now, this person would hold a faculty meeting. Usually the meeting was designed to inform teachers that they were responsible fo passing all the students. Especially those that did no work. I had one administrator tell me I should never give a grade lower than a 60 on any assignment, even if the student did not turn it in. Not hand it in. Give him an automatic 60. Really. That was his policy. Which I ignored, of course.

Also at the faculty meeting the room full of teachers will be told they must attend “teacher workshops”. Now, a teacher workshop is a place where teachers with 20 years experience sit in student desks and listen to a 23 year old who has never been in a classroom explain how to do the job better. How to inspire every student. How to write individual lesson plans . All 150 of them. Every day. Imagine a room full of armed teachers, after correcting 150 essays, most of which were downloaded from the internet, being told how to do their jobs. Locked and loaded. Yes, give me a gun. Please. Let’s get his meeting started.

Of course there is the dreaded  hall duty. Stop a youngster in the hall who seems to be wandering around aimlessly. Might be lost. Might be looking to bust open a locker. Who knows. So, I ask him very politely: Do you have a hall pass? Where do you belong?

He answers: “Who do you think you are? None of your business. Nobody tells me what to do. Cram it asshole”

Yes, give me a loaded gun.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These are isolated cases and I could give you plenty more. They only happen once in awhile. I might be having a great day and then…bam…some kid destroys it. And, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, ” I’m a very gentle man…

even tempered and good-natured,
whom you never hear complain,
who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein.
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
Just a very gentle man.”

http://www.metrolyrics.com/im-an-ordinary-man-lyrics-my-fair-lady.html

But some of my colleagues? Nope. They have neither my unending patient nor ability to digest bullshit, from all quarters, above and below.  Arming any of them would put all of us at risk. Every day.

An idiotic idea. Arming teachers. I can see it now. Take Mrs. Nicklebumpkins 9th grade Algebra class. She just can’t take it anymore. And we all understand why.

Shots ring out. Students running down the hall from her class, screaming in terror…

“Everybody run, teacher’s got a gun”

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Filed under crime, Education, gun control, logic, NRA, Politics, Society, Terror, violence

I’m Entitled…A Deal’s A Deal

Some states, New Jersey and Michigan come to mind, have decided that pensions for teachers and other public employees are too costly. So, they have cut back. Changed the rules. Old people have become too expensive. People retired, thinking they had a deal. Then the rules were changed. After the game was over.

First, a true story. A guy who delivers my firewood also takes down trees. I’ll call him Luke. I asked Luke to look at a massive cherry tree in my yard and he said he could take it down for 50 bucks. That was a good deal. A 30 minute job. Luke came back in his coveralls with his chain saw and well, it wasn’t as easy as we thought. The tree got caught up. He had to take down another maple next to it. Then he cut up the trunk into usable pieces for me. Took about 2 hours.

Now, it comes time to pay Luke. I give him the $50 and try to give him more. No. He won’t take it. I said, look, you took down two trees, cut them up, the job was much bigger than we thought. Take some more money. No. Luke would have none of it. His exact words. “A deal’s a deal”. End of discussion.

I taught in NY schools for over 30 years. Put money into the retirement system. Every check. My wages were so low that, as a professional teacher there were years when my family was eligible for welfare. WIC. A college degree, graduate school, a teaching certificate all lead to welfare subsidy. Which is okay. I knew what I wanted. Worked every summer to make ends meet. But I paid into the retirement system. Every check. Social security. Every check. Medicare. Every check. Just like public employees in Michigan and New Jersey and Wisconsin and Kansas and every other state in the union.

Am I ENTITLED to my retirement check? You bethcha. I paid in and took lower wages for a reason. A deal’s a deal.

I started working at 16. Paid Social Security. Paid Medicare. Paid federal taxes. Paid state taxes.
Now I am retired and I get free money from Uncle Sam. Social security every month. Now I am on Medicare. Am I one of Mitt Romney’s 47% ? ENTITLED? You betcha. I deserve it. A deal’s a deal.

I get more than a little irritated at the “young gun” GOP governors who are trying to balance their budgets by stripping pensions and retirement plans. Cutting taxes on the better off citizens and taking dollars out of the pockets of retirees. They have no clue. They have no understanding of what people in the past gave up to get those guaranteed pensions. They have no shame. They have no integrity.

They are deaf to the basic contract. They do not believe that “A deal’s a deal”.

Maybe I should order them some firewood. And have Luke deliver it. Maybe, just maybe, a little bit of Luke would rub off . But I doubt it.

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Filed under Christie, Debt, economics, Economy, Education, GOP, government, neoconservatives, Republicans, Taxes, tea party

American Schools Part 2: The Great Privatization Scheme

$650,000,000.  Each year. That is what the US spends on public education. A big pile of pennies. A massive gold egg.

As  certain elements of our political system continue to degrade teaching and public education they are keeping one eye firmly focused on this treasure trove of tax dollars. Your dollars. My dollars. Dollars that are going to educate the next generation of citizens.

On one hand they attack teachers and unions and emphasize testing rather than learning. On the other hand they can’t keep their eyes off that big mountain of gold. Ripe for plucking. Privatization.

If you don’t keep the figure of $650,000,000 in mind you will  not get it. Just as the private prison industry has been taking over the housing of criminals, we see a movement in politics to turn over education, and tax dollars, to private companies. What Mitt Romney would call a “transfer of wealth”.

Now, you might think that is a good thing. Public schools can do better. Add to that the ingrained myth that private industry is somehow more efficient that public institutions. And there is no doubt plenty of waste , corruption and failure in some public schools.  So, it may be tempting to turn over the education of kids from highly trained professionals  to for profit companies.

Except it doesn’t work. Well, it depends. If your goal is to simply shift wealth from regulated, licensed, dedicated institutions to unregulated ,  short-term profit scam artists  it does work. If your goal is to  improve schools,  it doesn’t. Of course, the same politicians who are constantly trying to degrade public education, de-fund it and de-unionize  it are the ones who want to turn it over to the private entities. Starve the schools then complain about them.

I took my car to my “government-regulated” mechanic last week and told him to rebuild the engine using only a screwdriver. He said couldn’t do it.  He said he needed better tools to do the job correctly. I told him he was a failure. So, I need to get a new mechanic. I found a guy who said he could do it. He is a “privatized” mechanic. He doesn’t need to follow any stupid government regulations. And he is cheap. Left my car with him last week. I am sure it will be fine. Can’t wait to get it back.

Not a single long-term study has shown any significant increase in student performance in these privately run “schools”. A good example is the Wisconsin “Rocketship” fiasco.  Cut teaching staff. Put kids in front of computers. Emphasize only test scores. And even then test scores did not improve. But “Rocketship”profits did…from $ 2 million to $16 million. Without results. (http://truth-out.org/news/item/23319-scathing-report-finds-rocketship-school-privatization-hurt-poor-kids)

$650,000,000. Each year. Every year. Waiting to be transferred from the taxpayer to the private companies. Like pirates scanning the horizon searching for the Spanish treasure fleet.  The Jolly Roger of the privateers is being raised all over America. And the bullion is your tax dollars.

It’s coming. Every time you hear a politician degrade teaching and schools on one hand you can be sure he is taking something else from the privatization movement with the other hand.

The formula is here: Underfund education. Blame the teachers. Turn it over to privateers.

$650,000,000 each year is too hard to resist.

 

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Filed under Education, Politics, Society