Thursday, March 18, 2010

School's Out

I mentioned this once before, but I’ll mention it again just to serve as a small disclaimer. I do not follow politics, nor do I follow the news. I find both to be overbearingly dreadful. As I stated, no one really trusts the government, so I just assume that whatever they are saying is a pack of lies. The news is so fraught with peril and chaos that I’d rather not watch it because it paints an unrealistic view of the world. I am not so naïve as to believe that the world is all puppies and rainbows. Far from it. I witness some real brilliance and Christian behavior working retail. Did my sarcasm come across on that last sentence? I know horrible things happen every day in every part of the world. Probably at a higher percentage rate than it should be. For every one atrocity that occurs, there are at least a handful of positive occurrences. In a single one-hour news program, the audience is bombarded by images of death, mayhem, war, violence, drugs, scandal, poisoned toys, defective cars, and pandemic scares. Amidst all of that they might squeeze in ten seconds (probably less) of a happy side. Usually called “The lighter side of the news” or some such BS. This generally features some animal doing something mildy cute. So, I have no use for the news or politics. Can you guess my thoughts on CNN, CSPAN, Fox News, and the like? Give me The Daily Show and Colbert Report any day.

That was a longer disclaimer than I planned. My rant has nothing to do the news we receive as much as it has to do with something I read about in the paper. The ONLY reason I read this little clipping was because my hometown was featured in the headline.
No, it was not a serial killer truck driver, or someone beating their kids with a hammer (not this time at least). My old high school just let go 27 people due to lack of state funding. Our Governor, in his wisdom (it seems the state of Illinois is going through a rough patch with Governors the past…what? century?) decided that the best place to make cuts to make up for a large deficit in funding was education. All politicians say how the schools are so important, but then when cuts need to me made, that’s where they occur. How about we cut politician salaries? Nope, can’t do that. Let’s just give the students a marginal education and send them out into the world where they might get stuck with a marginal career.

As a part of this slice and dice, all first year teachers were let go, as well as the principal. Pretty much any non-tenured faculty were let go. Stipends for extra-curricular (like sports) were eliminated. This means that anyone who coaches a sport will be doing it for free. Understandably, these coaches are mad and will probably refuse to coach. So, essentially, sports are gone. My problem with this is that the kids are being punished. I am NOT a sports fan. Ask anyone who went to school with me. I do know that some kids enjoy sports. Now, the biggest issue I have with this is that everyone is looking at the loss of money for coaching and not what would be best for the kids. Refusing to volunteer time so the kids can play some basketball sends the wrong message. That tells the kids that money is what is important, not you or what you enjoy. I always thought that extra-curriculars should be ran by teachers that enjoyed it (I know, sponsoring something is a requirement in most schools, so some teachers just pick something to get it over with.) Now that they are not getting paid to coach, it will be evident who did it for enjoyment, and who did it for the stipend. What I want to say to these tenured teachers who still have jobs, but lost their stipend is this: Be thankful you still have a job!! I bet any one of those first year or non-tenured teachers would gladly coach for free if it meant keeping their job. So, quit your bitching, be glad you are still gainfully employed, and do the right thing: let the kids have their sports and other extra-curricular activities. No doubt most of them are pissed and heart broken about losing some their favorite teachers and at the prospect of losing a past time they enjoy. The cuts will be hard on the schools, and on the administrators, and on the teachers, and the tax payers (this is where I come in) but it should not be hard on the students. They deserve to have the best education, and their experience during their formative years should be as fulfilling as possible. Are they going to but school dances next? What about lunch and breakfast? How much can be taken away before someone gets really mad?

To all of you students let me remind you that you have a Constitutional Right to the freedom of assembly. Don’t be afraid to let your voices be heard, just do so in a peaceful, non-vulgar way. Host a sit in or something. Be warned, you will get crap for it, and probably earn the ire of your teachers, but they need to know how you feel about all of this. How many of you went to the school board meeting? Did you say anything? Have you written to your senator, representative, or the Governor? Let me be clear – I am not saying to riot, or vandalize anything. I do not condone that. Find a peaceful, eloquent, calm way in which to express your opinion. The less it hurts anyone, the better.

I am not even living in this district, and I am upset by it based on principle. By all rights, I should be teaching at a high school but I am not (again, politics I have no use for). I guess it is a good thing that I haven’t landed a teaching job yet because I would now be unemployed. I am bothered by it because I know people who are affected by this more than I am. It is for them that I go on this tirade. That, and to vent and get it off my chest.

As usual, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Last Quote: Trick ‘r Treat

Today’s Quote: “What are you people? On dope?”

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