By the way, I found out that - because I have a blog and I attach my really real name to the things I say - I cannot teach in Georgia without fear of losing my job arbitrarily. Maybe this is only an Island City thing, but I'm onna raise some serious stink about it iffin' it is true. (I'm going to file that one under the the left getting shafted by political correctness.)
So back to the Coastal life: we have a problem in Glynn County, and it has to do with our schools. I know. Get your shocked faces on. We're actually discussing the results of the whole situation on the Glynn County Democratic Party website. It has to do with the color of teachers in our schools. Folks on our side have been called 'segregationists' because we would like to see more minority teachers in the schools. It doesn't look like it, but it has become a pretty big issue here on the Coast.
I'll give ya some background as to why:
It appears that there is a dearth of minority teachers in our school system. The numbers I have been presented say that only 15% of our school teachers are non-white of origin. Now, this percentage is abysmally low for almost any county in South Georgia. (As a side note, I also wonder about the percentage of male teachers to female teachers, as equally important.)
A part of this that isn't talked about much is that we have a shortage of teachers, period. This particular double edged sword really makes this debate kind of unique. It allows Glynn County to recruit and hire teachers based on percentage goals without having to worry about strict adherence to quotas. (Which, to my knowledge, we have never done.)
The other edge to that sword is that not enough teachers opt to come here and teach. I don't know why this is the case - maybe it has something to do with the big black cloud of being on probation from SACS for the last few years, or maybe the big, smelly factory that sits in the middle of town, or maybe it has something to do with kids like me going to school here back in the day. I don't know. The teachers we do have are (for the most part) really, really good, but we need more of them.
Now, in an effort to catch two squirrels with one bird feeder, the Glynn County School Board decided to hire some international teachers, (called the Visiting International Faculty, or VIF) so we'd have enough teachers, period. Several are from Jamaica and one is from Canada. I know several of them, and they are qualified and stand up folks. With the hiring of these cats, we got to import some needed quality teachers and we got to import some teachers not of the caucasian persuasion.
Sounds pretty win - win to me.
There were some growing pains, to be sure, usually involving grading (Jamaica and the US are on completely differnt systems) but those got worked out. Crisis averted, our hard working Board pressed onward, trying to get back neat things for our schools like SACS accreditation and school roofs that didn't leak.
But noooo, here comes Hackery and Jackassery, represented in this case by the two Hyper Republicans on the Glynn County School Board. I was at one of the School Board meetings where this stuff came up. I guess that these two thought they should make the VIF a big fat issue of divisiveness in Glynn County for no particular reason.
First of all, there was the cost. But when someone did some simple multiplication and found out the total cost was comparable to hiring 15 qualified domestic teachers, that one kind of goes away on its own.
Second, there was the idea that the contract had been done improperly. This confused some members of the School System (the non-elected education administration professionals) because usually, if you find some problems in the contract, you fix them - and quietly. But Hackery and Jackassery weren't interested in fixing a problem as much as they were in creating an issue out of a non-issue.
The third one was discussed most 'eloquently' when our new Superintendent recommended we keep the VIF with pretty high support from the non-elected education professionals. Said Hackery: "Something's not working right in our system that we cannot find and hire good (domestic) teachers ... This is a serious problem."
I wonder if he'd like pictures of exhibits A & B?