Learning From Experience

Education 101 Spoiler Alert: If you’re one of those folks who believe teachers ought to be rated strictly on the graduation rate of their students please sit back down and ask to have a wooden ruler applied sharply to your knuckles.

 

My granddaughter graduated from Santa Clara University in June. When I asked what she was gonna do next she told me she needed a Master’s degree to pursue her dream. Consequently she’d be spending the next full year back in school. What was the dream? She wanted to teach! Elementary students! Yikes!

 

I hope she isn’t planning on cutting a fat hog in the ass (that’s a bucolic Montana expression, by the way, and one which my wife prefers that I not use in polite company!) from her salary as a teacher. Teachers are woefully underpaid as a profession. They are at the mercy of state governments, politicians and budget wonks who use statistics to play silly buggers with their financial livelihood. Here’s a lovely little example from North Carolina where I currently hang my hat. A shill (that’s a Nevada expression for a person who has no skin in the game and works for the house) asked a political PR flack the question: Why did you cut teacher pay? To which the flack answered truthfully: We did not cut teacher pay. The shill’s rejoinder was: But couldn’t you give the teachers at least a 1% raise? To which the smug PR flack responded: Last year we did give the teachers a 1.2 % raise but this year we had to cover a half million dollar shortfall in Medicaid which came about as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Obamacare. Sounds reasonable except for two things.

 

Deep digging reveals that in 2014 the State of North Carolina refused the Federal Government’s offer to fully fund an expansion of Medicaid for three years. The half million dollars alluded to above would have been given freely (no strings attached!) to North Carolina along with an improved health care scheme that would benefit half a million residents. But that’s not all.

 

Between 2000 and 2010 the average teacher’s salary in North Carolina declined by 15.7%!!! That’s the largest drop for the decade in the entire United States of America. Who says statistics don’t lie.

 

Now I have to admit my granddaughter wants to teach in California where the situation is a little different but teachers there are still at the mercy of politicians and statistics-spouting PR flacks. I hope she drops by from time to time to visit but I wouldn’t recommend that she stick around long enough to apply for a teaching job. Not if she wants to cut a fat hog in the ass!

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