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Year 2 Day 43- Fallen back to earth

by admin on October 20th, 2004

The captain was on the East Coast for the past week…sorry.

I was going to post yesterday, but it took me all day to re-organize myself from my 3-day absence. Having three different substitutes is never good. They all ran things differently, put things in different spots, and just basically messed things up. I don’t fault them entirely, because, they’re bored, but still. People just assume that because my desk is cluttered that it’s disorganized. They somehow feel they’re doing me a favor by cleaning, and organizing.

Here’s a news flash… .YOU MESS IT UP.

I can’t find anything. Kids turned in work while I was gone I still can’t find, because some substitute put it somewhere esafe’.

I enjoyed my time on the east coast, it was nice. You haven’t totally lived until you’ve spent a week hanging out with a bunch of Scottish people. I found myself utterly confused by the accent. I fault that to living where I do. There are zero Scots here. A few times the accent worked to my disadvantage.

iEyyee Seddwa a Zhambooooeeeeeh?i

iUhm, Huh?i (It was loud in the room, so I couldn’t really hear him.)

iEhhhhhhhYEee Seeeeeedeahhhh Waaaahn a Zhammmbooooooooeeeeh?i He said louder.

iOK I guess.i (I felt that was a good non committal answer. Honestly, I thought he’d asked me how my flight was.)

The next thing I know a double shot of dark alcohol shows up. I didn’t want to be rude, after all I agreed to have whatever it was in the glass. more than A few times I found myself chugging liquid fire, just because I had said OK to a question I hadn’t even understood.

The whole reason I went back east was to photograph a wedding for my friend.

Part of me being there allowed me to meet a lot of her family members, current and future. One of which was a teacher. I had an interesting exchange with him.

First off let me just say the guy wore TWO collared shirts, one on top of the other. I think he broke some fashion rule, somewhere. I’m not 100%, but I think so. Our conversation went like this;

iSo you’re a teacher… i He says, iwhat subjects.i

iI teach a little of everything actually, right now Art, Economics and Government. My degree is in Art and Photography though.i

iSo you have a photography class?i

iNo. We don’t have the equipment.i

iYou should write up a proposal… .you’ll get it.i

iNo, I wouldn’t.i

iJust keep writing it, you’ll get it. That’s what I do.i

iI don’t think you GET it. I could have the President of the United States write the friggin proposal, and I still wouldn’t get it.i

iJust keep at it, you’ll get it.i

This guy was dense.

I found out he makes about 100K a year teaching at a private school on Long Island in one of the wealthiest school districts in the US. That guy should come to my school for one day, let the kids abuse him to tears, watch the admin. deny his requests, then he MIGHT have an idea how I irolli on a daily basis.

I spent the rest of my time avoiding him like he was ill. There’s nothing worse than someone who has no idea about a particular subject acting like they do. It’s like a rich person telling you what it’s like to be poor. Give me a break. Unless you deal with something on a daily basis, you have nothing to base your opinions on. This guy just assumed every teacher in the world had access to billions of dollars for programs.

I STILL can’t get over that he makes 100K a year. I make less this year than I did last year.

It’s funny but a lot of people have this misconception about teachers. They think it’s this glamorous job full of benefits. When people asked me what I did for a living, and I told them I got a lot of;

iOH great, that must be just a great job, so rewarding… i
iSuper, I bet you just love it?i
iThat’s great… i
iI could never do that… i

People hold teachers with this certain sense of reverence that is totally obnoxious. If people have such high respect for educators, and education, why don’t they support them more? Why don’t they vote for school bonds? Why don’t more people outside of education push for higher salaries for teachers? It seems what people say and how they act are totally conflicting.

iOh I reeeeallly think teachers deserve more. They need to be paid more definitely! What? It’s going to raise my taxes $4 a year? F*** those A-h*oles, greedy bastards… they get 3 months off, what more do they want?i

People also think we love our job, float around on happy little clouds, content with the lives we’ve helped mold.

Not so.

Definitely not so.

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6 Comments
  1. 1. I work with a guy who wore two collared (polo) shirts – one on top of the other – last week. Maybe it’s a new trend, and we’re fortunate enough to be witnessing the birth of it.

    2. Of course teachers need to be paid more. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that 90% of all money appropriated for education is absorbed by the huge layer of administrators and bureaucrats above you before it ever reaches your paycheck (or your classroom, for that matter).

    Imagine trying to water a houseplant through a giant foot-thick sponge. You pour more than enough in, but only a small fraction actually trickles out through the bottom. The plant gets barely enough water to stay alive, so it doesn’t die completely – but it’s clearly not healthy, or able to flourish as it should.
    The problem is that the more water you pour in, the thicker the sponge becomes – so that no matter what, the plant ends up getting only what it needs to keep it from dying.

    Believe it or not, many observant taxpayers understand that this is exactly how our public education system works – and why it has utterly gone to crap. It no longer exists for the betterment of you peoples’ minds, but rather now functions more like a monopolistic corporation bent on exploiting its workers and making a bigger profit.
    We spend more than any other country on education, yet somehow our teachers are underpaid — and often have to spend their own money on pencils and desk supplies for their students. The administrators get fatter every year, while the students suffer and the teachers scrape by. The system is rigged to stay this way, so the situation gets worse every year.

    People tend to look into this stuff when it involves relinquishing part of their income to pay higher taxes. That’s why it’s getting harder and harder to convince people to cough up even more tax money to fund the latest school bond measure or whatever. The people who don’t examine this issue just look at the illiterate retards graduating from high school and wonder why the all the billions of dollars we spend on education each year are apparently wasted.

    Both people – the informed AND the uninformed – are reluctant to agree to funding another bond measure or tax increase to pump more money into the system. We’ve been putting more and more money into education regularly for the past 30 years… so where are the results?

    Sorry for the rant… Just take a look at where the other 90% of this money goes; it’s not that difficult to figure out. It’s easy to complain that people don’t care about teachers, but the fact is that that’s not true. People are just frustrated, mainly because no matter HOW much we pay, the teachers and students will ultimately always get screwed under this system. The sponge is too big, and needs more money to function every year.

    This is why the whole ‘school vouchers’ movement had to be crushed at all costs. It would essentially dismantle this system, and the sponge would starve to death. A much larger percentage of taxpayers’ money would go to paying teachers and covering classroom costs in a far more direct manner, bypassing the 500 other people with ambiguous administrative jobs who currently take their “share” of it.

    School choice would have killed the sponge.
    That’s why the sponge had to kill school choice.

    Okay, I’m done.

  2. Captain permalink

    Thanks for your reply. I’m not sure if you realize this but teachers and administrators are totally unrelated. They aren’t a part of our union. We get paid by the same people, but that’s it. Vouchers don’t do anything to to benefit us as teachers really. It takes away public education as we know it…then everyone gets a voucher for their kids to attend school, pay for school. This seems in theory like it would be a good idea. I would get a certain ‘voucher’ good to pay my child’s tuition. The laws don’t really say anything about how much good schools could charge. I still migh be forced to pay for the ‘minimum’ so to speak. It really wouldn’t be much different than it is now, the private schools would still be charging, and with the increase in people wanting to attend them, they would raise their prices thus preventing the same people from attending them that want to now. Your old ‘public’ schools would charge the minimum in order to keep attendance the same, money would have to be budgeted for everything out of a specific amount of money…Administrators would still be necssary to run the school, handle discipline issues, budgets, etc. Some higher level of organization would be necessary for movement between grade levels, otherwise schools would have kids comingin from all over, certain schools would overload, others would cease to exist. People could start up a school for whatever they wanted under most Voucher programs. I could open a school for satan’s student’s and if I could get the necessary requirements, which are minimal, I could open the school, and operate.

    It wasn’t the Administrators who were against voucher’s it was the teachers. If they actually helped to put more money in our pockets, you think we wouldn’t support it?

    The reason the US is so screwed up, has a lot to do with family values being so messed up, we’re forced to spend more money on tons of ‘recovery’ programs that a lot of other countries don’t need, or don’t need to this extent. We also cover a lot more material in less time, so kids don’t get it the first time, and we need more programs. Yes some of the money get sucked in by the ‘sponge’ at the top, no doubt, but a lot of it goes other places.

    People don’t realize howm uch a school costs.
    We have 1 administrator here, and he might make 80K a year. The real money goes into things like
    Textbooks, technology, school updates–which are HUGE amounts of money, supplies of all kinds are expensive. These in addition to the increasing number of reitired baby boomer teachers whose retirement is being paid. The state, and federal system requirments for students and teachers raise, and that always requires more money to fund these programs. These requirements wouldn’t change if a ‘voucher’ measure were in place.

    If an 150 million dollar bond passes, in a district, with 15 schools that would break down to 10 million a school. School need constant upgrades, and structural repairs, because it’s cheaper than building a new school This requires several estimates, bids, proposals, etc. The final costs might be about 7 or 8 million, and that’s for something like a roof. (I’m estimating low) Rewiring everything for current technology is about as much. Textbooks for “regular” schools, need replacing about every 4 years, and that could be 500K easy, for a school. Upgrading computers, technology, trainings, support staff and everything in order to meet state requirments might be another 400K for a school. You can see that the money is pretty much spent before ANY of it reaches the kids directly, or the teachers.

    These types of issues have nothing to do with the sponge persay, they have to do with Government Requirements. ALl these issues require outside sources to complete them, so in essence, the government helps promote outside enterprise by the stuff it requires out schools.

    Trust me I’m not a huge fan of the adminstration at any level, but they’re not really to blame here, and nothing a “voucher” would do would change this.

    I’m not saying people don’t like teachers, or support them, I’m saying they have no idea what REALLY goes on.

    You mentioned observent taxpayers, but honestly how many taxpayers spend anytime in a school setting as something other than a student? How could you or they possibly know? From what the Newspaper tells you? We all know how unbiased they are. The media is only going to show you what it feels relevant, a few feel good stories here and there, low test scores stories, etc. Media will never tell people how much stuff costs.

    Think about private schools, they get all the money, becuase of outside funding by private people/business, tuitions etc. If everyone were a private school so to speak, and we all had tuition charges, or voucher money…think about this let’s say the average money a student gets a year for education is $5,000 I think ADA money is 4500 a student. A school could open with as few as 10 kids…but let’s say one opens with 200 Students. That would give them 1 million dollar budget. For 200 kids, you would need 10 teachers at least. Let’s say the average salary was 40K, that’s 400,000K right there,Plus specialists for Special Ed, a school psycologist…those two would be another 100K…there’s half your budget, without any benefits being paid, which would be about another 100K. Text books for every subject a high school of 200 kids would need, would run you about 200K minimum. Rent and Utilities would be about 75K a year EASY, or more. You’d need someone to run the office, and to help with all the bookeeeping…so that might be another 100K…and poof the money is spent. You haven’t address any OTHER school supplies, like pens and pencils, paper, copy machines, etc. No insurance.

    Hopefully you’re getting the idea.

  3. Captain permalink

    Also keep in mind, that just because a person got a voucher doesn’t mean they could attend that school, having school choice means the schools have a choice too…it would in a sense be privatized education…kids like I teach wouldn’t be in school. Nobody would want the kids here…if they had a choice…people would be stocking up on good athletes, good artists, science students, whatever their school promoted leaving these other kids at even more poorly funded schools….

  4. Captain permalink

    You might be able to find some statistics on how good private schools fare compared to public schools but think about this…
    Public schools can select who they want to attend their school. They test kids prior to entrance, they call them placement tests, but they’re really approval tests. If the kids are smart enough, or good enough athletes, then they’ll be admitted. Kids who are discipline problems or not very bright are not admitted. You don’t see some of these schools for troubled kids proclaiming their superiority in test scores, they’re PRIVATE schools too. Most of these private schools will also say things about how good their special education programs are, and it may be true…but Special Education kids aren’t tested for State Standards. PLUS State test can be forgone with a note from your parent. Kids who are great athletes at big Private Schools who might not be great test takers, all they need is a note from mom or dad saying “my son is expemt from testing by my request.” and poof! Theire free from State testing.

  5. Paco permalink

    One thing Captain, you have never been to a private school… some of the things you are saying aren’t quite true. I agree with Eduardo on this one, choice is always good, bring free enterprise into the mix, and good schools will get even better, and crappy schools will either get better or die. (rightfully so… why should a crappy school stay open and have more kids just flunk out?)

    It works that way with everything else, good airlines stay is business, good dentists have more patients, good brokers have more clients, etc…

    Teachers should be in the same boat. Teach well and they will be rewarded with more money, and better schools.

    Just my two cents… and that’s about all it worth too!

  6. The Gambler permalink

    I went to a private school….look how I ended up!

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