Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'll Take the Distraction

It being Sunday, Spot's off for the day. Couldn't handle the stress of all the budget talks at home and in the hallways at school, so we furloughed him.

And here we are, all 'fired up!' Today's New York Times and yesterday's too are talking about the other love of my job in the teaching profession. Whenever the outside world starts talking about money though, I start to wriggle in my seat. What are they talking about? They don't know either.

My loyalty to President Obama is unflinching. I do believe that he, at least, is setting some great priorities for a country that does not seem to get it one iota. My own town has cut seven teachers and must now cut an arbitrary one million dollars more (41 teachers got pink slips last Wednesday), just because our finance board...all members non-educator axe-grinders, says so. Well, one of those members has said so since he stepped into that position some seven years ago. He captivates audiences with his brash comments and loves every minute of it. That is what I call irresponsible leadership. Our town has a surplus of 15 million dollars. It does have expenses too, and may be populated with numbers of people who are losing jobs out there. I get that. But we don't know who, or how many...there is no formula for that. Likewise there is no formula for cutting education. They see our schools as the fatted calf within their cash reserves...and have for years. We rank in the top 20 towns in our state for wealth and in the bottom 20 for per pupil expenditures. We have great kids, coming from upper middle class families, but there's a range. We have portable homes and then we have our fully landscaped, pool included mansions on the hill. 

Let's offer up the teachers...everyone can think of one that they hated in their educational career...oh please, let it be her/him. 

Michele Rhee says, let's pay'm more...if they're good. In our town, that'd translate to a public outcry! $130K for a mere teacher! God. No way! Our superintendent's salary of $140K was made public just a week ago, and people had a caniption! BUT, does she not run a corporation?

America needs to get real and get a magic formula. We need to put up or shut up. Sorry Spot, cover your eyes if you see this. We will never be the leader of the free world again, if our kids can not read, write and compute. Our kids in the cities are SUFFERING. But now...we are taking apart the suburban schools too, and despite the transfusion of green...the bleeding will never stop. Once you lose it, you lose it forever. There's no going back here.

Everyone is talking about financial mindsets lately. We're being asked to go out there and buy, buy, buy again. Infuse that green river of cash with our individual dollars. How 'bout we skip the shopping and put it into education? Oh...and by the way, we've been told that all of the federal dollars can only be spent on special education. (We've seen two admin. positions created out of those IDEA funds. I may be wrong, but I've not seen any 'troop increases' on the front line, where it's really needed.) In my building that translates into about sixty special ed. students out of 900 students in all. I don't get it. Bring on the formulas Arne. Teachers need to know the when we're packing up our classrooms and going off to that plush waitressing job, at least we know there was a plan.

And Mr. Bailey? I'll take the distraction. Students lives, and their future welfare,  are all at stake.

See ya tomorrow, Spot! Hope you're ready to rock and roll! Lots to learn about China these days, ya know.

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