Not going to go into details but the staff meeting at my school today bummed me out. If you’ve read some of the more political posts on my blog you know that I don’t blame my administrators, nor the superintendent, nor our school board.
No, I am going to take Metallica’s advice, kinda. I’m going to save all my hate for those that deserve it: the politicians that sold us out and the corporations that own us.
I’m tired and sad because, as a teacher, I know we are wasting time. We aren’t wasting time like, as in, hey, stop wasting my time, bro, with your silliness. We are wasting time as in years, formative years, in children’s lives. We are wasting their time to get educated, to get prepared to contribute to the world and realize their potential. We are wasting years of their lives. But, then again, I learned some time ago that education isn’t really for the kids. Education, as an industry, largely exists to employ text book writers and publishers, people who make smart boards and other “Ed Tech”, administrators, and, yes, teachers. If you doubt me, sit in a board meeting, read the minutes. Go to a school and spend a little time there. You can tell what’s important to a business by how they spend their money and what they use to make decisions.
For example, when I directed plays, I had to examine the text to find the theme. I would then use the theme to help me achieve the “purpose” of the play. My decisions for paint, costumes, acting choices, casting and so on all had to be tested against whether they helped me achieve that purpose, whether they contributed to the theme.
My experience is that most of the time people in education will do what is right for kids. That makes sense, right? But, you have probably noted the “most of the time” in that statement. That’s a problem. See, because the sentence really should read that people in education always do what’s right for kids. That’s who is being educated.
But, many times, if it is not convenient, or expedient, we do what is right for adults.
I will be the first to tell you, no one gets anywhere without a teacher. You can’t learn if someone doesn’t teach you. If you think about it, this is maybe the most true statement I have written. Even if the teacher is the ground and you learn that climbing trees is dangerous, you still need the ground to be your teacher. The nice thing about a school is that you can learn most things there without risking broken bones or even slight injures.
So, you can’t run a school without teachers. And, teachers need support. We need good administrators to organize and coach. We need them to see the big picture and steer the staff in the right direction. We need support from clerks, secretaries, bookkeepers, receptionists, custodians and food services. And, yes, we need counselors in those schools.
I’m tired and sad because today California found out that some tax extensions will not be sent to the voters. Without those tax extensions, the “worst case scenario” that our board of education prepared for is now the reality. So, basically, our district cancelled the entire counseling program. No more school counselors. I’m tired and sad because I can’t believe I live in a country, in a state, in a county, in a city where this is acceptable. That we will take away vital services for our children because it is expedient. That we accept this because we don’t want to pay taxes.
No, I take that back. We allow corporations like General Electric to not pay taxes. No, no that’s still not right. We allow corporations to post record profits and we still give them a 3.2 BILLION DOLLAR TAX CREDIT!
Unbelievable, right? The New York Times article says it’s true. If that doesn’t absolutely frost your melon, then let it sink in that the chairman of GE, Immelt, is who Obama just tapped to be the Chair of the Presidents Council on Jobs and Competitiveness
Nice. I can add a new emotion. Angry.
So, the students of my district are going without so many things, already and now we can’t have ANY counselors. I guess we have as many counselors as GE paid taxes. None. No, instead, we gave our money to them. Could that have anything to do with General Electric making a lot of stuff that we use to fight wars? Nah. And, Obama, the president I voted for, appoints this guy to work on creating jobs and making us competitive? Immelt needs to return that tax money and resign. Obama needs to go on TV and apologize for either an appalling lack of information or an even more appalling sense of humor.
I’m tired and sad and angry because I live in a country, in a state, in a county, in a city where this is okay, where we will accept it. Or worse, we will watch GE and the politicians squirm and someone will get their hand slapped and the news cycle will move on.
Or finally, what’s left of the people, the middle class and the working class will stand up for themselves and make all of them pay for betraying our trust. We have to think past insipid and vapid sound bytes and look for people that will actually do what leaders do. Leaders make followers better, not worse. Leaders protect their greatest resource, their followers.
I’m tired and sad and angry. I’m tired of being lied to. I’m sad that the people that run our government and our corporations have zero respect for us, and I’m angry that I have do something about it. But, I’m going to write letters, and blogs and tweets. I’m gong to talk to people. I’m going to knock on doors with my union brothers and sisters and educate the people. I’m going to vote and I’m going to keep voting until we finally get decent people in office to do what they’re supposed to.
Are you tired and sad and angry, too? Are you with me? Comment, share, speak up, tweet and let’s take our country back from the corporations.