Fight for Your Right to Screw over Incredibly Important People


On Wisconsin

1.    It would not have broken my heart to see Governor Scott Walker go down in flames.

2.    However, I don’t really think it is a good idea to hold recall elections for public officials just because they are screaming assholes implementing extremely damaging policies.

3.    Because if we get into that habit, there may not be any public officials left.


On Teachers’ Unions

1.    The main thing I learned from Scott Walker, et al, is that Americans as a group have extended their general contempt for education and intellectualism into intense contempt for teachers.

2.    Americans both complain that the quality of teachers is poor and that teachers make too much money/benefits. And they think they can improve the quality of teachers by reducing their pay and benefits. This is the exact opposite of what they think about other important people, like CEOs.

3.    Teaching is a dead-end job. You go from being a young, inexperienced teacher to an older, experienced teacher, but your job description doesn’t change. There is no opportunity for advancement.

4.    With no possibility of promotion, teachers still must continually upgrade their skills to retain their certification.

5.    Teaching is a low-paying job compared with other professions requiring similar levels of education and training.

6.    Teaching would pay even less without the collective bargaining power of the union.


On Teachers

1.    My kids have attended both private school and public school. They have had both good and bad teachers in both settings.

2.    Private school teachers are not unionized and therefore can be fired at any time. Nevertheless, the worst teacher my kids had in private school was an old timer who had been there, unfired, for decades.

3.    However, the private school did fire a teacher who was creative, exciting, and beloved by students and parents.


On School this Year

1.    Little Bit has had a very good 5th grade year, with a teacher who offered ample opportunity to go “above and beyond” requirements to earn exemplary grades. This set-up made my daughter feel encouraged and rewarded for her efforts.

2.    Tigger’s freshman year of high school went all right, I guess, where all right = she earned decent grades with very little effort and had a great time hanging out with her friends.

3.    There are only two more weeks of school, and summer craziness is bound to drive any lingering thoughts about applying to a PhD program right out of my head.

4.    June in Seattle, right now, = 55 degrees and raining. Just thought I’d throw in a sympathy plea.



18 thoughts on “Fight for Your Right to Screw over Incredibly Important People

  1. we don’t have a teacher’s union here…I think our teachers are comparatively paid. But otherwise, yes to all the other things. I’ve long wondered why we don’t have a better arrangement for teachers, where there is more of a seniority/management track. It seems like you could do a lot better than paying teachers based on test scores, if you were trying to attract excellent people and retain them. You could structure schools and districts to provide advancement opportunities, if you wanted.

  2. June in Montana = 56 degrees and raining.  I understand.My kids have been fortunate to have teachers for the last two years who are young, energetic, creative and inspired.  Before that there was one terrible year when my boy had a teacher who was on the verge of retiring, she was a nightmare but could not apparently be fired.  He tried to break the bones in his hand so he would not have to go to school.  Schools would be so much better if there were a good way to reward excellent teachers.

  3. My daughter teaches for the Akron School System in Ohio.  She has a masters in deaf education..I’m guessing with her student loans and her 6 years of schooling that she is making the big bucks…don’t you.  Sad…isn’t it.

  4. In addition to a lack of respect for education, I think that those folks in the private sector whose benefits have taken a beating are being pissy and want to take someone else down with them, rather than concentrating on improving everyone’s lot. We’re a nation of two year olds throwing temper tantrums.

  5. @ordinarybutloud – Maybe, but nobody *really* wants to institute a system in which teachers get to advance or get rewarded for performance, because that would cost money. What we really want is for free education to be literally free and not have to pay those lazy greedy teachers a nickel..@lilies_of_snow – Also, good schools are not really the goal. Keeping the masses ignorant and poor but not poor enough to riot is the goal.@Ninasusan – I was once a special education teacher, too. And of course, after the six years of school, there’s ongoing schooling requirements throughout your career, usually on your own dime.@PrimevalWench – True, and true.

  6. @transvestite_rabbit – Do you think that will change, since we are lagging behind so many other places right now in technological competence?  If our country is going to be competitive, then we have to have well educated kids.Although… yeah, probably not.  But I keep hoping.

  7. My dad taught in the NYC school system for 30+ years. The only thing that gets him more riled up than hearing someone speak ill of teachers’ unions is hearing someone speak well of George W. Bush. Ha!

  8. I disagree that there is any kind of intentional attempt to keep the masses stupid (re: your comment to lilies). I also disagree that taxpayers don’t want to pay teachers. A lot of the money in education never gets to the teachers, where it should be going. A lot of it gets diverted in unproductive directions.

  9. I have to agree with Jodi about keeping the education of the masses low.  I do not believe there is even interest in encouraging our populace to become competitive in math and science.  College is financially out of reach for most people.  My daughter is now of college age, and we have found that interest rates for student loans have doubled, the interest starts accruing immediately (not deferred until 6 months after graduation as it was in my day), and tuition rates at colleges are increasing at double digit rates.  She will be attending an 18 month certificate program in massage therapy to increase her wage-earning potential, and then we’ll see in a couple of years.  Since the early 20th century the stated purpose of public k-12 education has been to prepare the populace for being useful in the workplace, nothing more. Even Horace Greeley stated this. If there was truly interest in educating the populace to become academically competitive, quality, compulsory education through college would be provided free. In Utah we have one of the best teacher’s colleges in the country, and it is providing a steady stream of teachers to….Central California.  I think I read that Utah has the lowest per-pupil-expenditure numbers in the country.  We too have had great teachers and abysmal teachers, but I have sympathized with all of them over the imbalance between what they put into their jobs, and what they receive back.

  10. Teachers get lucrative step increases each year and they get lucrative salary increases for additional units studied and for advanced degrees.Teaching is about teaching not about climbing a corporate ladder.

  11. @lilies_of_snow – We have to have well educated rich kids. @turningreen – Your dad is my kind of people.@ordinarybutloud – Really? All the screaming in Wisconsin was about how over-compensated and over-benefited the teachers are. There has been no screaming about general waste in the education budget. In a culture that doesn’t value education, the people who attempt to deliver it are also not valued.

  12. @leenaree – I agree that  a serious commitment to an educated population would include making college available to all.@PrisonerxOfxLove – “Lucrative” is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. And teaching is certainly not about climbing the corporate ladder. Sadly, American culture holds corporate ladder climbers in high esteem and public servants in contempt.

  13. 1. June in the PacNW is sucking so far, weather-wise.2. Maybe instead of rich people paying more taxes, we could just have them pay public school teachers directly. Like an adopt-a-teacher program, only the more money you have, the more teachers you have to adopt. I’m just thinking out loud here.

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