Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Teachers are dumb

Nadene ******* wrote:
As many of you may be aware, the Marion Center Area School District teachers are entering their second week of job action, and they have been without a contract for over a year. The negotiation meeting that was held yesterday was non-productive and marked only the second time that members of the school board had been present for negotiation
meetings. The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for Monday evening at 5:00 p.m., followed by an open school board meeting at 7 p.m. the MCAEA is seeking assistance from residents of the Marion Center Area School District in contacting board members and in attending the open school board meeting to encourage resolution to the negotiation
issues, thereby allowing the teachers to return to the classroom. I hope you will join me in lending support in these efforts.--

Nadene A. ********, Ph.D., LPC, ACS
Associate Professor
Department of Counseling

My Reply:
It's great to see educators holding the education of children hostage so they can get more money/benefits. I'd support any school board resolution firing all of these teachers (like President Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers), and replacing them with College juniors working on their education degrees who need to complete their student teaching requirement. Heck, I'd fire you all just for going on strike, then I would declare the school a non-union shop and hire new teachers, pay them based initially on their education and experience (for the first few years) and then adjust salaries based on their student's test scores (SAT/ACT), college placement/acceptance rates, and national standardized tests. If they need someone to come in and teach these children, I'll be more than happy to cross any picket line. I may have to hold classes during my lunch break, in the evenings and weekends, but I'll do it. Teachers should understand the second- and third- order effects of a walkout, namely, that student learning is put at risk so they can line their pockets.

Unions were a great idea during the industrial revolution, but their current existence serves to cripple the ability of modern industry to compete with other nations, while employees get larger and larger salaries and benefits from doing relatively unskilled labor. The end result is an over-priced, shoddily-made product, massive industry
lay-offs, and a crippled economy.
I am not saying that teachers are unskilled labor. Indeed, I view teaching as one of the noblest professions. I simply compare them to teamsters, the UAW, and other unions because they all use the same tactics. If unions did what they were designed to do, like lookout for the interests of the employee, we wouldn't see things like mine collapses, because unions would prevent work in hazardous conditions and ensure the safety standards are met. We also wouldn't need OSHA, because unions would look out for safety from everyday hazards. Instead, unions seldom do anything other than carp about money and benefits. If you want more money, great. Go out and get a job that pays more. If nowhere else pays more, do what the rest of us do and increase your education level, or change careers. You could even take on a second job, something that is growing in popularity among the people that you have educated.

It's called capitalism and free market economy. Maybe one of the social studies teachers could explain it to you this December when you're still in the picket line. A simple outside observation (and I actually did major in education before deciding I wanted to graduate in four years and going with a straight history degree) is the high school's most often simply prepare kids to enter the unskilled job market. They are poorly prepared for higher education, often they write and express themselves at the eighth grade or lower-level, and they are less and less motivated to learn and perform.
It's not just the teacher's job. Parents need to be involved too. If your kid comes home from school and you ask him, "what did you do today?" and then he begins to tell you, you just kind of zone out and don't pay any attention, eventually he'll get the point that you don't really care. Then when you ask him the same question, his reply most often will become "nothing." Even then, you will accept that because it will keep him from telling you something you really don't give a crap about. If you don't care about what he does in school, he won't care about what he does in school. Eventually, he'll stop caring about learning. At this point, the battle is generally lost. School becomes something he goes to because he must; he won't like it other than the fact that it's a social event. If he's a popular kid, and school be just groovy because he gets the hang out with all of his buddies and friends. If he's an unpopular kid, school become a real drag and he'll look for any way he can to get out of it. If he's a really unpopular kid, you may notice that he starts wearing all black gets weird body piercing starts wearing eye makeup and talking about how much life sucks and death is cool. He will claim to be a "nonconformist", and just like all of his friends, he will act and behave just like all of the other nonconformists.
Okay, I'm getting way off topic. A teacher going on strike is ridiculous. It's no different than any other social service going on strike. It doesn't matter whether it's the garbage collectors, highway workers, teachers, or nurses in the hospital. All of these people provide a valuable and necessary social service. If we as their customers are not providing them with adequate means to live thrive and survive, they have the option of leaving their field of work and getting another job elsewhere. If their major complaint is that they are working without a contract, well that happens. They are not being forced to work. Teaching is a calling. If it's done for the money, the person doing it is pretty stupid. Teachers generally just do not get paid very well. This is also understood even by the freshman college student looking to get a degree in education. If you're working without a contract it means that your union has failed you, not the people who employ you. Your union should been working at least a year out, maybe even more to determine the terms of your contract and getting it signed. Your contract should always run out at the beginning of the summer session. That way, you can negotiate throughout the summer, and it won't affect anybody except the knuckleheads stuck in summer school if you walk out. (By the way, the only effect that would have on the knuckleheads is that they would have more time to work pumping gas.).


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