Friday, February 18, 2011

"Our Children Are Stupid! It's Their Teacher's Fault! Let's Cut Their Pay!"

"I'm attacking the leadership of the [teacher's] union because
they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
-Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie

Part of the reason I love Mr. Christie's quote is because it can be applied to almost anything BUT teachers.  Here's the deal- soon to be educator or not, I have no clue what goes on in the teacher's union. Having said that, I can't imagine it's as bad as the republicans are making it out to be.  Here are a few different ways we could apply the above quote:

1) "I'm attacking the [cast of Jersey Shore] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
2) "I'm attacking the [multitudes of fat underneath my chin] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
3) "I'm attacking the [self-righteous idiots of my own political party] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
4) "I'm attacking the [owners of Krispie Kream, not because they cut me off for eating one-hundred donuts in a row, but] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
5) "I'm attacking the [ladies in the front row with my libido-killing smile] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."
6) "I'm attacking the [babies of New Jersey] because they're greedy, they're selfish and they're self-interested."

Is there a point to the rewording of Mr. Christie's... words?  No.  It was just incredibly fun to do.  I should make a party game out of it...

I just don't understand this argument.  Why, out of all the other jobs in the country, would anyone want to go after teachers?  There are actors that make millions off of a ninety minute movie.  What about them?  Teachers have to, in most districts, pay for their own materials out of pocket.  They have to deal with anywhere between 5-30 kids.  They spend hundreds of hours planning a single day's lesson (that's not an exaggeration, by the way), only to get through half of it due to constant interruptions.  And at the end of the day, they have to go home and grade, plan the next day out, spend what little time they can with their own families, and then lay down for a minimal amount of sleep.  Oh, yeah, and they make between $28,000-$45,000 a year depending on a ridiculous number of variables.  Just to give you all a good idea of how little money that actually is, I've been at college for three years, and I already owe twice the amount a teacher makes.

Teachers, police officers, firefighters... they all give back to the community in the greatest of ways.  Why in the fuck would you want to take money away from them?  They are already relatively undesirable jobs for most people.  Not many Americans want to get shot at, run into a burning building, or spend 40 hours a week teaching 180 kids math that they'll never use.

So I propose we look at how much the following people are making, and see if we can fill in this financial gap a bit:

1) Anyone in the movie or music business.  Most of them don't even go to school to get where they are, and even less of them contribute to anything but our entertainment.  I'm sorry, but Kirsten Stewart should not be making more money than teachers or policemen just because she's a subpar actress with one emotion.

2) Professional athletes.  Why the hell should football players get paid millions of dollars to run around on a field and tackle each other?  It's mindless, it's hardly entertaining, and it requires absolutely no intellectual thought.  In fact, it practically caters to the most basic parts of the human brain.  Congratulations, you can sprint, pack on two-hundred pounds of fatty muscle, and catch a ball.  Oh, wait, every person on the planet could do that if they wanted to.

My... my God.  See how easily she caught that ball?  Where's 
my checkbook!?  She needs millions in order to keep doing it!

3) Politicians.  Not much needs to be said here.  These guys are doing a public service that they volunteered to do, and got voted into office for.  There is no reason they should have the best healthcare, body guards, and federal pay combined with the under-the-table money they get from lobbyists to support personal interests.  As a matter of fact, if we were to cut their salary in half, take away a few of their guards, and give them the same healthcare teachers, policemen, and firemen got, we'd probably balance the fucking budget.

4) Justin Beiber.  Take all of that kid's goddamn money away.  I'm sorry, but when you make a movie about yourself and your life- in 3D no less- and you're under 18 years old, then you must have an ego the size of the sun.

5) All of the pricks that are making money off of the failing banks.  You know, those sleezy little fuckers over at AIG and Goldman Sachs.  None of them should have a penny to their name, particularly after we bailed them out, then watched them pay their top executives giant bonuses.

I'm not saying we cut the above individual's pay (the non-federal earners, anyway).  I'm saying we simply take a percentage of their income and put it into the educational system.  Why shouldn't we?  Because it's "socialist"?  So is social security and medicare.

But really, I don't think I will ever understand this argument.  Perhaps Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Scott Walker, can explain it better.  Unlike Mr. Christie who is attacking the teachers union, Mr. Walker wants to "gut" it.  Finally, someone who-

...Wait, what the fuck?

According to CNN, Governor Walker is "...pushing a plan to gut almost all union rights for teachers.  He wants to monitor how much money they earn and make them pay a greater share of pension and health care costs, all while limiting their ability to bargain collectively."  Awesome.  As I wrote that, hundreds of Wisconsin teachers said, "Fuck that noise," and quit.  Just for a giggle, I'll add that the state Democrats of Wisconsin literally fled the capital so that there weren't enough members for a vote.  In other words, once the Democrats do show up, the above quote will become, in some degree, law.

It's a little sad when you physically look like you've never
been to school.  Is that why you're angry at teachers, Scott Walker?  
Because you're stupid?

Ohio Republican governor, John Kasich, is attempting to do the same thing as his asshat colleague is doing to the teachers in his own state.

New York's Independent mayor wants to cut almost 5,000 teachers from their jobs, while the governor of New York wants to pull $1.5 BILLION from school altogether.

Why are teachers becoming scapegoats?  Are they really to blame for the rise in stupid people?  No.  As a parent, it's your responsibility to raise your kids to appreciate a good education, to do their homework, and to pursue knowledge.  Letting them sit in front of the television for hours on end is not the way to go about that.  Stop blaming your shitty parenting on teachers, grow some hair on your private parts, and admit that maybe, just maybe, you raised a vegetable.
"Good job, honey.  Susie is allergic to wheat, the peanut butter you put on
her toast, and the milk that you poured for her.  It's okay that you don't
pay attention to your own daughter... we'll just blame the school system."

Am I saying that all teachers are saints?  Absolutely not- I'm sure we all remember one or two that were just plain terrible at their job.  But the majority of teachers are not awful.  And they don't deserve to be treated this way.  The sheer amount of hoops they have to pass through just to be able to student teach is extremely overwhelming.  Trust me when I say that it's not the teachers who are doing their job wrong, it's the parents.  How about instead of blaming them from the dark recesses of your home, you sit down with your child's educator and talk to them about how they teach, what they teach, etc.  Take some interest in your kid's life, for fuck's sake.

And please, if you think you can do better, be my guest.  There's a reason we are slowly falling behind the rest of the world in terms of educating our young ones- it's because we keep taking benefits and money away from the teachers, and replacing them with people who have no idea how to teach, and that are also willing to accept a shitty salary for a difficult job.

One more thing.  If you're going to come at me with the whole "but they get paid Summer vacations" argument, allow me to stop you right there.  Teachers are usually in school for a few weeks after students, and a few weeks before.  They are also usually working on their lesson plans for the next school year while their families are out having fun and enjoying the lovely weather.  Or, like some educators I know, they are working a full time, Summer-only job that is probably paying minimum wage.  So yes, they do get paid over the Summer break.  My guess is it's so they don't decide to run off and leave a school sans teachers.

Click here for the CNN article.

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