Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Friday, 15 February 2013

Let's Privatize Everything and Get It Over With !

The paper is recently full of the news about the US Post Office ending Saturday delivery due to ever increasing deficits. The crux of the problem is explained as the dramatic increase in electronic communications usurping the first class letter business of the 
USPO. Much of this is, of course
true, but there is another major factor accelerating the Post Office's demise. That factor is a law passed by the Congress relating to the postal employee pension fund. It requires the prefunding of the pension seventy five years out over a ten year period. This is monumental financial challenge and most probably an unattainable and unnecessary one at that.
    Now, you might say "Why do you care. You're writing about education, not the Post Office?"
    Well, call me cynical (I don't know why you would), but I think the whole thing relates strongly to public education. I view the current bureaucratic, educational "reform" movement in this country to be a guise for the attempts at privatization. The demands placed on the Post Office are another manifestation of the same kind of mentality, that is, demean, destroy, and "reform" public agencies and services and then eventually privatize them.  
   I guess you might ask, "Why would politicians be interested in privatizing public institutions and services?" My answer would be:
   "How many lobbyists for Fedex, UPS, DHL, etc. do you think there are in Washington?"

   "How much money in campaign contributions is doled out by these people?"
"How many cushy, high paying jobs are waiting for them when they leave office?"
   "How many free, 'working' vacation trips are taken by our public officials on the corporation's dime?"
   And the same kind of questions are appropriate for those companies and public officials, both state and federal, seeking to privatize the public school system. I've included some excerpts below from an article relating to the Post Office situation and America's future if the rush to privatization continues unchecked. I also show a rate schedule for Fedex delivery. The rate is for a one pound package, the least weight they will carry.  
 It aint cheap! I wonder what the price for sending a letter via private carrier will be once the Post Office's termination is complete?
   I'm pretty sure it won't be forty six cents !

Thursday, 7 February 2013

"Your mother wears army boots"

    "Your mother wears army boots" - that's what we used to say in my school days. 
   Based on the article below I supposed that the school should have been held liable for not punishing us in the severest fashion for our obvious "bullying".
    Now, before I begin my short rant, let me say that I never appreciated nor condoned anyone being "picked on". I never allowed it in my class or in the teams which I coached. Most often all it took was a stern - "I want you to leave him alone" - and the harassment would immediately stop.
I certainly am not in favor of "bullying" of any child or as a matter of fact, any adult either.
   But, my questions are:
What is the definition of "bullying"?
Is the occasionally childhood teasing really "bullying"?
Is a teacher's criticism of a student's poor performance "bullying"?
Is a teacher's insistence that a child do his homework "bullying"?
If a coach tells a player that he should have done better is that "bullying"
How about a parent nagging a child to take out the garbage?
   I think, like many things in America that are designed to improve society, the "Bullying Law" is being taken to unreasonable extremes.
   As I read the article it says "the incident" which implies that it occurred once. Does that comprise "bullying" or  is it just occasional, childish name calling?
   Additionally, it says "A.C. (the accused) is not a chronic troublemaker". I think that might suggest that he is not a "bully" but merely acting as children often do and without any malice.
   I also noted that the parent demanded $50,000 for "emotional damages" plus legal fees from the school. It seems that when there is the smell of money in the air, lawyers flock to a situation like bees to honey. Could that be the case here or is there legitimate indignation on the part of the parents who really think their child has been "bullied"?
   And lastly, if we care to take the "Bullying Law" to the extreme, as I think may have been done here, then how about this:
If a teacher is harassed and interrupted (and possibly insulted) while trying to teach a class is that "bullying" by the students.
Does the teacher have the right to press charges against those disruptive students?
Can the teacher sue for "emotional damages"?
Must the administration report the incident to the state?
   Let me reemphasize, I am not defending bullying, but I certainly think a rational approach to the situation and a reasonable definition of "bullying"  is required. If not, we soon may see almost every child (and possibly adult) in every school in the land being accused of "bullying" based  on every inane, occasional comment.;