Friday, June 12, 2009

A Damn Shame

I know too many good teachers at the end of this school year thinking along these same lines.

I don't know how much it has to do these happeneings, or the fact that several RSD schools around town had almost their entire staffs surplused, or if the grant money for charters has started to run out, or any number of chaotic issues that plauge this city's education structure; but I do know that this much instability, year in and year out, does nothing to help educate children nor develop a professional, energetic and dedicated middle class.



patsbrother said...

Yeah, it sucks. But if they don't have the money, they don't have the money.

However, besides basic commiseration, there is one question I wanted to ask:

Do you really think we employ teachers and other school officials to "develop a professional, energetic and dedicated middle class"?

Did you mean to say something else?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Yes, if they don't have the money, they don't have the money. But they know long in advance if they have it or not, or if it is going to dry up. That's what we call a "budget." People who behave like professionals understand it and do not fear talking about it.

Telling your employees they'll have a job next year (so they don't look for new employment) and then cutting them loose at the last minute with no warning is just a dick move.

develop a professional, energetic and dedicated middle class

Yes, this is exactly why we hire teachers - to educate individuals who can then become productive members of society. That the employment of teachers actually creates professional middle class jobs makes it a two-fer.

patsbrother said...

As a bit of constructive criticism, you might want to be more explicit in your posts (or link to sites that are more explicit) about the issues you're raising in your posts. (Here, the board's disturbing employee's short-term settled expectations.) Earlier, for all I knew you were concerned merely by the fact of the firings.


I also want to make two points about your answer to my question.

First, substantively I take issue with the idea that the existence of a permanent government job can be part of the very justification for that job. This is exactly what your original statement appears to say, and I believe you when you say this wasn't an error. We merely disagree.

Second, for the record, I believe this is exclusively what you meant by "develop a professional, energetic, and dedicated middle class." I do not believe you originally intended this phrase to include the purpose of "educating individuals who can then become productive members of society." If this were the case, "educate children" would have been superfluous and "nor" would have been nonsensical. (You don't use "nor" to separate an idea from itself.) Further, this spin on it tortures the plain meaning of the phrase itself.

I go into this because you like the idea of being a source of information and you like the idea of being invovled in politics. I would caution you against reinterpreting prior statements to mean something they didn't mean before. As a consumer of news, I strongly dislike it when politicians or talking heads engage in this activity. I'm telling you this in the hopes that you WILL go farther in the blogosphere or politics, but that you won't lose people over something so small.

Such reinterpretation is even more unnecessary where, as here, it's clear you're sticking by the assertion with which someone disagrees rather than trying to disavow that assertion. You obviously want to employ teachers in order to provide teachers with jobs. Fine. Cool. Stick with that. You don't need to reinterpret your statement to justify it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

There is no need to reinterpret a statement when both meanings that can be construed from it are exactly what I meant. As I writer, I can be efficient in my words as well as opinionated without having to do the lawyerly thing of covering every possible base of meaning. I can also assume prior knowledge in the fact that I've bee writing about education since before I moved to New Orleans. It is one of the "themes" of the blog,
as our conversations on my style of writing have also seemed to become.

And when you talk about making an investment, you can look at the short term benefits as well as the long term benefits, without being ideologically inconsistent.

patsbrother said...

So you really expect me to believe you meant the ways things are run "does nothing to help educate children nor [educate individuals]"?

I kinda thought kids were people, too.