Life Sentences, Day 140: Do Not Employ

February 16th, 2011

Terms I would like the world to stop employing:

Baby bump.  I mean, come on.  Once, twice, okay.  111,453,875 times, no longer clever.

Babymama.  AAAAARRRRRHGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

Kardashian, Snooki. ‘Nuff said.

Palestinian rage: I know the Palestinians have a lot to be enraged about, but rage seems to be their default reaction to most things, expressed by standing very close to each other, pumping fists in the air, and firing automatic weapons into the air.  Those bullets come down, of course, and when they come down on a woman or child, if he/she gets medical aid at all, it will almost certainly be from Jewish doctors.  Where are all the Palestinian doctors? Where’s the modern Palestinian hospital?  With all the Muslim Arab states furious at the displacement of the Palestinians, where are the billions in oil dollars to fix roads, set up better schools, build a university and a teaching hospital? The Palestinians stand around in the dust expressing rage while the Nobel Committee nominates the 430-somethingth Jew for a Nobel Prize. Perhaps a more creative response is called for.

Tea Party:  They’re primarily ultra-conservatives, of course, but not all, and the Tea-bagger label is too uniform. They’ve rung a bell with a lot of moderate and even liberal voters who have come to believe that debt is out of control and government doesn’t really need to double its scope over our lives every eight years.  It’s the “tea-baggers,” by the way, who just killed the F-35 engine program ($435 billion) . . . in the past, weren’t the liberals the ones who called for defense cuts?  I part company with the ultra-right on a lot of things, but I think that some of what’s being done in Congress by the new Republican arrivals to cut government spending speaks to the idea that the old “left” and “right” labels need reexamination.

The media coverage of this is going to be interesting because the mainstream outlets (which are, let’s face it, politely liberal) will have to deal with the fact that it’s conservatives who have had the guts to vote for this cut, while the right-wing media — especially the clotted-cream-crazy end of the spectrum led by Glenn Beck, the infinitely obnoxious Sean Hannity, and the world’s most nasal rabid dog, Mark Levin — have never seen a military program they didn’t like.  And when they argue (as they will) that it will cost us jobs at a time America can’t afford to lose more — well, $450 billion in federal money to create jobs?  Sounds just a weensy bit like a stimulus program, and we all know those are the leading edge of Communism.

Inappropriate:  Already talked about.

No Child Left Behind:  Leave some behind, already.  Start teaching to the smart kids, the ones we’ll need most as this country fumbles its way into the future, rather than to the slowest kids in the class — often, not the dumbest, but the ones who won’t pay attention.  Bring back the F.   Flunk kids. They can pay attention or stay in fourth grade.  That might even attract the notice of the kids’ parents. Make it easier for teachers to kick disruptive kids out of class and make it easier for schools to expel kids who demonstrate over a substantial period of time behavior so disruptive that it interferes with the education of their classmates. Re-emphasize “academic” tracks for the smartest kids. Bring back recognition of good grades, which has been stopped cold by the misconceived notion that baseless “self esteem” is an important component of the educational experience.

See what happens when you don’t outline?  You start with one thing and end up with something completely else.

Okay, you can all throw your bricks now.

17 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 140: Do Not Employ”

  1. EverettK Says:

    I have to agree with you on all of those except the first two. “Baby bump” just doesn’t bother me, it seems very descriptive and much less objectionable to me than preggers. “Babymama” I just haven’t heard enough to be aware of it, I guess. But the rest, I’m right there with you.

    There’s plenty of bricks around, so I’ll just toss one:

    Critical Ally I am so sick and tired of every American administration since before the time of the dinosaurs (okay, for a couple of hundred years) making alliances with and propping up dictators in other countries with no thought to the lives of the people who live in those countries. If they’re not Amuricuns, they don’t count, and as long as we can secure whatever it is we want (usually resources, sometimes just an ally in propping up some OTHER regime who has something we want), then it’s okay. There should be an article in our constitution that prohibits the government from supporting governments in other countries where basic human freedoms are not allowed and where free and open elections (honest) elections are not held. They don’t have to become “like America,” but we shouldn’t be buddies with countries where people can’t select their own form of government. The recent Arab ‘unrest’ (there’s another fun term for you) is just the latest example of the fruits of this behavior. Yes, it might make things better and easier for ‘America’ in the short term, but it ALWAYS leads to trouble down the road.

  2. Rachel Brady Says:

    Your No Child Left Behind rant was so genius that it was read aloud at the office and applauded.

  3. Robb Royer Says:

    NCLB has, along with the teachers unions completely destroyed the American school system. When you state as a matter of policy that you’re going to re-orient (read distort) the entire educational process solely to the benefit of the dumbest, least interested, most disruptive kid, everybody else gets screwed in the process. I have two kids in school in spite of my severely advanced age (this is what comes of chasing young women around in your 40’s) and if you haven’t been inside a public school in a while, you would be stunned. Kids are sitting around, splayed in every direction, almost 100% of them concentrating solely on some kind of electronic device… texting, Ipods, etc. many wearing earbuds therefore shutting out the teacher completely. Teachers are either howling against the din like Demosthenes or have given up completely; they mumble some make-work assignment and pick up a newspaper.

    I tried putting my 15 year old soon in public school. There was a lot of hype that this one would be different. But when he got there I was told candidly by many of the teachers that freshman year is a kiss-off. They expect a 70% dropout rate and are waiting for that to happen before they get around to any serious teaching, hopefully by the sophomore year, maybe later.

    Meet the Parents night happened to be on the same night for both my son’s public school and my daughter’s private school. The contrast was at once heartbreaking and comical. Traversing from one to the other was like something out of Dante, absolutely surreal.

    Matt made a game effort for a couple of months, then collapsed. His grade in history fell from 104 to 40. He’s now in private school now getting straight A’s so far.

    I don’t want to appear to be bagging on teachers. They, too, are heartbroken and long suffering. But everyone eventually gets devoured by this idiotic system.

    But something happens to a teacher when he or she leaves the classroom and becomes involved with the union. Then it becomes a political game where the union’s position is ‘nobody gets removed or fired.’ There ARE no incompetent teachers and your child be damned we are going to win this.

    If anyone is interested in this issue it’s absolutely imperative you see a movie called Waiting For Superman. I also recommend you go to C-span and read about the battle between Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and the teachers unions.

  4. Larissa Says:

    Amen to leaving them behind. And while we’re at it, let them fall off of the playground onto real dirt and gravel instead of fuming, probably toxic (even though the label says it isn’t) polyglomerate fake asphalt squishy stuff.
    Bah.

    And while I can’t quite jump on board with the “Tea Party” ideas they are an interesting bunch. I’m still so far out in left field though for most of politics and ignorant enough that I can’t really weigh in…so I won’t. (c:

    But yeah, I can’t say a loud enough praise for not teaching to the lowest common denominator. Make the other little buggers step up their game or stay in fourth grade as you say.

    (c:

    As someone who has to deal with the lowest common denominators on a daily basis-I concur! 😀

  5. Laren Bright Says:

    No argument here.

  6. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    No bricks from here. Kids need to step up, and teachers need to do their jobs no matter how upset they are about their situation. I really do believe teachers should be teaching more, and polemicizing less. I know some really good ones who despair but don’t give up. As for your other complaints, I’m not that fond of cutsie expressions, because I really love language, and mourn its degrading. And I always wondered why some of that oil money didn’t go to help the Palestinians. The Middle East is a 5000 year old problem.

  7. Suzanna Says:

    My daughter had the benefit of both private and public education. Both learning environments had their pluses and minuses.

    Some of the brightest and best teachers at our local public high school of 3200 students have already left or are about to leave for jobs at private schools.

    Our educational system has problems on a scale that are much more complex than I can begin to understand or even pretend to be able to fix. But I am able to see that when teachers who are highly trained, gifted, and at the ripe old age of 30 are leaving a system that can’t afford to lose a single one of them, something is obviously wrong.

    I deeply admire any teacher who can stand before a classroom of 30 plus kids day in and day out with the hope that they can reach the top 10%. The few students who are able to absorb what they need to, and to put it indelicately, regurgitate what it is they’re supposed to, on the exact timeline that is mandated by the state are the ones who are succeeding in our current system. Standards, guidelines, curriculum are all mapped out so forget about getting too creative in your teaching approach. And that’s the bright side of the coin.

    It is a thankless impossible job to try to reach the many students who show up completely unprepared, who have economic, nutritional, social, and academic challenges that no one school, or single teacher should be expected to fix. But indeed schools and teachers are expected to deal with all of these underlying issues, and if they don’t they are punished for it.

    What is wrong with this picture???

    At the same time from my years of observing the students who do excel I can say that it is not due to any one teacher or school. These students are primarily the extremely lucky ones. They typically are the beneficiaries of families who can and do invest all the necessary components of making certain that their child fits into a system that is ONE SIZE FITS ALL in its approach.

    Tutors, healthy food, medical care, music lessons, dance lessons, enrichment programs, therapists and on and on. Some of these programs are paid out of pocket, some are hunted down by families who are interested enough to seek them out. The resources provided by families for many of the most achievement oriented students are extraordinary and are hugely important if your child is college bound.

    Even so there is still no guarantee that some of these well provided for students won’t fall deeply between the cracks. I hear almost weekly about students who have every advantage but can’t seem to get off the couch, or step away from their computer screen, who may be addicted to drugs, have eating disorders, or are simply deeply depressed and unmotivated.

    Vocational classes, art classes, music programs that used to give students who are not academically inclined a chance to excel have mostly dried up.

    Many students are indeed flunked and discarded by their teachers and their families, and even though it may seem like they are the ones who are benefiting by this system please reconsider that assessment.

    I say the educational system deserves a big fat F, not the students who are not capable of fitting in to a system that does not allow for any deviation beyond the norm.

  8. Beth Says:

    Unions are the reason that the just graduated niece of the mayor doesn’t replace the teacher with 20 year’s experience and a MA plus 30 extra hours of education.

    I have taught in public and private schools and there is no place like private schools for grade inflation. Parents are spending a lot of money for tuition and in return they expect that their children will be on the honor role; I have never had a public school principal suggest that I “take another look” at the grade spread before I put grades on report cards.

    My daughter had a friend whose mother taught in a private school, The principal of this school called to speak to her because school was starting in two weeks and one of the teachers was not returning. Did my daughter want the job? The nun had never met her. When I explained that my daughter was in law school, the principal asked if I wanted it. No, I didn’t but I agreed to do it until they found someone. Never in my public school experience did I have half a class come to me, as a group, challenging the grade they got on a test. They all said that their mothers said they had the right answers. Being experienced and not being a fool, the test was one that came with the text book. I made a copy of the answer sheet and suggested their mothers might like to take a look.

    Discipline in a private school? Virtually non-existent when it comes to the kids who really should be booted out the door. Every child asked to leave is a lost tuition. More parents than you are likely to realize send their children to private school for the discipline the kids don’t get at home. The days when priests and nuns were in the classroom are long gone. Lay teachers don’t get the respect that the religious did.

    Much of what Susanna wrote is true. On the elementary school level, I don’t know of one teacher who doesn’t have cereal, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, and juice boxes in the closet for the kids who come to school without breakfast. During the winter, those closets have hats and mittens, too. For those hours the kids are with a teacher, the teacher is responsible for the whole child. Now, since teachers are mandated reporters of suspected abuse, that horrifying responsibility has been added to the to do list.

    My school district, horror of horrors, has a tracking system. It begins with the California achievement test that is given in the fourth grade. Students whose percentiles on the various sections of the test and their IQ scores are invited to participate in a one day pull-put program in the fifth grade. Again if they choose, they can attend an accelerated middle-school program that allows them to begin 9th grade ready to take 10th grade courses. The high schools offer standard, honors, and advanced courses in all subjects. Within the advanced courses, there are those who prepare kids for the advanced placement tests that earn them college credit.

    Our system also has a vocational/technical school that offers training in auto mechanics, carpentry, cooking,plumbing and prepares kids to be electricians. They also have programs for students planning to go to nursing school. No matter the program, the students take academic courses in the morning and go to the vo-tech in the afternoon. Students from both high schools can be in this program.

    Each year the high schools graduate students who go to Ivy League colleges, the military academies, and students who will qualify soon after graduation to take the licensing exams in any of the trades in which they trained.

    Are these heaven on earth? Good Lord, no. They are public schools and as such have to take all comers. But students can be suspended in the building or out, depending on the infraction. Detention room duty is one of the easiest. They actually have to do school work and the discipline is tough and enforced.

    We don’t have young teachers leaving; the problem is getting science teachers to come because the salaries aren’t competitive.

    Teachers don’t discard their students. But there is nothing a teacher can do to help a student who does not come to school. If students fail, it is because the parents are not as involved as they need to be. Teachers do not fail students. No matter how hard they try to convince their parents that they had no idea they were failing, that’s a desperate try at deflecting parental wrath. The grade book is the bible; it records test scores, homework that was past in, extra credit work, class participation, and attendance. A teacher has to be able to back up every grade.

    Without question American education has problems but they will not be solved until parents stop blaming teachers and look to their own involvement in their children’s educational development.

  9. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Everybody, and thanks for jumping right in.

    Everett, what I hate about “babymama,” which is used to refer to the unmarried mothers of swaggering jerks’ babies, is that it implies that it’s the swaggering jerk who matters and the “babymama” is just the vagina/ovaries system that was lucky enough to be picked out of the crowd. Actually, the whole mindset makes me ABSOLUTELY CRAZY because, as we know, one of the things that’s wrong with the schools is that they’re full of kids from fractional, impoverished one-parent “families” who don’t or can’t get involved on any level in their kids’ education. The idea of a “babymama” — someone who sits at home with the illegitimate kid while Mr. Cool hangs with the bros — is one perspective on that ongoing American tragedy.

    And I agree 100% on “Critical Ally.” So many of them are failed states propped up by our money and governed by people whose primary interest is pocketing our money. Still, if Egypt goes fundamentalist Islamic, I will expect the president (the one I voted for) to step down for being the least effective foreign-policy leader since Jimmy Carter.

    Rachel — Glad you all enjoyed it. It’s been a disastrous policy and, of course, it’s not one that was formulated by teachers. Teachers get blamed for things over which they have no control, but teachers’ unions are dreadful organizations.

    Robb — When you realize that 40-50 years ago, the United States had one of the best public education systems in the world and we now routinely rank in the lower 50% in terms of what skills our “graduates” possess, it’s a tragedy of potentially global proportions. And the liberals and conservatives are equally guilty. I’m going to rant about this at greater length for tomorrow, I think, but what you have now is a failed system that’s been absolutely destroyed by a perfect storm of political, ideological, pedagogical, social, and economic factors, and it’s turned into a self-defensive armored camp, with the teachers’ unions in the lead. Heartbreaking is right. So glad you got your kids somewhere where they actually have a chance to learn.

    Riss, thanks for the agreement, and I agree back at you: let the little buggers fall on dirt (or sand, remember sand?) instead of spending a fortune on fancy carcinogenics when the money could have been spent on — oh, I don’t know. Textbooks?

    Lil, the Palestinians have had a really raw deal, and their Arab brothers have made cynical use of it to define their instinctive anti-Israel stance. But they don’t seem to put their petrodollars where their mouths are, nor, to be fair, do the Palestinians seem to have any map to the future other than destroying Israel and living in its ruins so that eventually the entire area is a slum. Anybody want to estimate how long those amazing Israeli hospitals would remain functional after a Palestinian takeover?

    Suzanna, I think teachers are 90% of what’s right about American public education and about 40% of what’s wrong, and that 40% comes primarily from the influence of their unions. The entire stance is is flawed: resist any kind of reform that will have any negative effect whatsoever on even the very worst teachers. Stick with idiotic ideas like “Last hired first fired” because teachers with seniority are in leadership positions in the unions. Somebody really needs to drive a truck over Randi Weingarten, if only to shake things up.

    The public education system is failing but it’s not beyond repair. It’ll just take courage and vision and the willingness to gut the old hard-liners who resist any change whatsoever because it threatens their pensions.

  10. Bonnie Says:

    Well, first to add to the list: my current pet peeves are these weird Madison Avenue redundancies: fire-grilled, oven-baked, and perhaps the worst: hand-crafted.

    As for schools, I really liked the Austrian school system when I was living there. There was a realistic division at about the onset of adolescence among folks who were more capable of becoming hairdressers, waiters, or plumbers and those who had university degrees in their future. School AND apprenticeships helped to give kids who were not suited to academia a solid grounding in their future career. The only thing I disliked about the system was that it was too hard for someone who had ended up on the wrong path (late bloomers, etc.) to switch over, should such a thing be necessary.

    And now, completely off topic, I’m a bit stunned today because a member of my biggest web client (an attorney association), a 65-year-old family law attorney (who apart from everything else was in a wheelchair), was shot and killed yesterday, along with her client. The client’s husband, who was the shooter, then holed out at home and shot himself. He was 71.

    I’m not joking when I tell people who are innocently trying to help a friend or relative through a divorce that these folks should generally be treated as though they are temporarily insane. Though I’m not aware of any studies, anecdotally I think family law attorneys are assaulted/battered/killed more frequently than any other kind, and in Sacramento, before we got our shiny new family law/probate court, the 3rd floor of the main courthouse had its only weapons-check stations on the third floor: criminal and family courtrooms. We are all here partly because we enjoy reading mysteries and take lots of fictional dead bodies in our stride. But if you really stop and think how truly fucked up you must be emotionally to deliberately set out to shoot someone dead–including someone you’ve been living with for decades, with whom you have children and maybe even grandchildren…it just clogs up my brain.

    I’m not a religious person, but I’m thinking hard, maybe even sending vibes, to Judy Soley, her widower, her daughter, and really everyone in the Fresno community who has to deal with such a tragic and unnecessary “solution” to someone’s mental anguish.

  11. Bonnie Says:

    Ah, and unions.

    I think unions are like tonsils. They’re supposed to protect you from the bad guys, but at some time they go over to the dark side.

    Ideologically it really goes against the grain to blame unions, which at one time were lifesavers for the working poor who had NO bargaining power. But I know they’ve become either mob-infested or like every other kind of bureaucracy, expanding into malignant heads on tiny bodies. Laughably, too, as more and more jobs are outsourced to places with wages our teens would reject as weekly allowances, they are becoming as obsolete as an appendix.

    Sorry about the body parts. Must be my mood.

    In any event, I hear a lot of talk, especially from political candidates while campaigning, paying lip service to schools and teachers. In real life, no one seems to give a crap, they don’t have money to throw at lobbyists, and the average voter is suspicious of intellectual achievement anyway.

    One of the most tired, overused chestnuts of campaigning politicians is that America should be run more like a business. But that’s exactly what’s wrong with it the way it works now. People who run corporations don’t even have 4 years to please the stockholders; they have to try to please them EVERY QUARTER! Good luck delaying gratification for the greater long-term good.

  12. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Oh God, Bonnie-how awful. Every once in a while, life reflects what we read, and it is shocking. Not so neat with all the loose ends tied up, is it. So sorry.

  13. Larissa Says:

    Bonnie-When my mom was going through the divorce with my dad our Family Practice Attorney was in a wheelchair due to one of her former clients going crazy on her after the divorce was finalized.

    The fact that she still practiced was a sign of some level of devotion, obstinance or life-calling that I both envied and still don’t fully understand.

    Send those vibes! They can make a difference. (c:

    Also, perhaps, proof that no matter what we do to insulate our children from things, you can’t counteract or plan for crazy.

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Beth, I agree with almost everything you say. I will say that there are good public schools and good private schools, and bad instance of both, too. Sounds like your experience was with a bad one.

    Unions were a powerful force in the bad old days, but they’ve turned into corporations themselves — as corrupt and dishonest as any big company. They exist at this point (in my opinion) in part to protect the salaries and benefits of their leadership, and they do that by appealing to the fears of their membership. ANY reform is a threat to teachers, as far as Randi Weingarten is concerned.

    Here’s the bottom line, as far as I’m ocncerned. The unions have opposed virtually every single attempt to establish a rubric to measure teacher effectiveness, but it’s a purely negative position. Not ONCE have they proposed an acceptable plan to accomplish something that needs to be done — find a way to weed out the clueless, the talentless, the terminally burned out. This reaches Kafkaesque proportions in New York, where hundreds of teachers who have been removed from the classroom sit in “rubber rooms” where they’re sealed off from students and effectively doing nothing as they collect full pay.

    New York, like other states, like the nation, is in the hole financially. Here in California 40% of our entire state budget goes to education K-14 education, and the system has been in free fall for decades. Now we’re being told that reform and cost-cutting are impossible in a budget item that claims forty cents out of every tax dollar? I don’t think so.

    No, I’m not even close to blaming teachers for everything that’s wrong in the schools. Terrible administration, lack of clarity about the mission, weathervane policies influenced by changing presidential administrations and departments of education, social issues in the communities schools serve, parents who are uneducated themselves and/or barely involved in their children’s lives, enormous numbers (here in the West, anyway) of undocumented immigrant kids who speak no English and are often pulled out of one school and then dropped into another just as they start to find their footing, and the general governmental tendency to bloat every single thing it touches, and to bloat it from the top down — all these factors and a dozen more have screwed up our schools. I WILL write more about this in the next day or so.

    Bonnie — What a tragedy. It never occurred to me, I’m ashamed to say, that family practice was probably the most dangerous kind of law — I fell for the image of the crusading prosecutor, fearlessly taking on the deadliest members of society. All sympathy to your friend and client and her family. It’s also interesting to think about the ages of the divorcing couple, whom many would probably suppose to be beyond the age of raw passion and at least somewhat wiser from long living.

  15. Bonnie Says:

    You’d think. This was not a first marriage, it is being revealed, and he had pistol-whipped a prior wife. The current wife had filed restraining orders against him at various times, too. He’s cited as saying he was afraid he would “lose everything” but had already raised over $900,000 from a loan he took out after forging the wife’s signature on a deed to their home, so that home, if it had been awarded to her, would already have been upside down. Fictional villain, real-life villain: there’s a pattern of blaming others for results of own bad acts. Perhaps a segué from the “god forbid you should hurt the child’s self-esteem by any form of criticism” anti-today’s teacher rant, but given he was 71, I doubt he had that kind of education.

    One of J.D. Robb’s most chilling stories (and this is a spoiler so don’t keep reading if you haven’t but might want to read) is based on a father’s revenge for “losing” his wife and children in a divorce–he was of course entirely justified in terrorizing and abusing them. See Survivor in Death. My own former boss, when I first practiced family law, said he spent a couple of years ensuring the wall was at his back whenever he was in a public place because his client’s husband (a former Marine and apparently a very scary guy) threatened to kill him.

  16. Beth Says:

    Tim, how to you create a rubric when the variables change constantly? A standard level class on the high school level can have students for whom English is a second language, kids who are in and out of Department of Youth Services care, kids who are homeless, kids whose parents are junkies, and kids for who the standard level is a realistic placement in terms of ability?

    How do you have a statewide guideline that addresses teacher effectiveness when there are standard, honors, and advanced classes in all the subjects.

    Oddly, the teachers who work with kids who are mentally handicapped, kids with Down’s Syndrome or kids with brain injuries, of kids with personality disorders have the easier jobs because the kids are never judged in relation to the other kids in the class. I’ve had experience in these settings and they are fun because every day someone has a victory.

  17. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Beth, I didn’t say it was easy, but that’s not the same thing as its being impossible. I’m less worried about teachers here than I am about kids getting crappy educations. The teaching unions are all about teachers and give virtually no thought to kids. A union official was recently quoted as saying, after a meeting with Dept of Ed people, “We don’t usually consider the student impact of our policy decisions.”

    As someone who’s not sufficiently arrogant to think he can solve the problem single-handed, I think one way to approach it is to test the individual student against his prior performance. Whether the student is challenged or high-achievement, how much is he learning this year as opposed to last year? This basic approach was recently suggested to a chorus of outraged howls from the unions.

    So, let me back up. Teachers are on the short end of the stick. They’ve been beaten down, treated like pack animals, had conflicting and often insane teaching strategies and priorities forced down their throats, been drowned in minutia like the collection of reams of meaningless date, had to cope with kids who come from uneducated, dysfunctional or fractional families, stuck with classes in which as many as half the students don’t speak English – and on and on and on. I wasn’t just spouting when I said that teachers were 90% or what was right about public education.

    But they’re not sacrosanct, either. And their unions, which (if they were doing their jobs) would be using their collective clout and lobbying dollars to fight some of the problems above) reflexively protect even the worst teachers. A situation like New York’s is just insane. Here in California, we have more than 1000 teachers who have been removed from the classroom and whose total job is to phone in at 7 AM to learn they’re not needed. In exchange for that they receive their full salaries and (like their rubber-room colleagues in New York) qualify for their full pension. On the public’s back.

    There’s a workable rubrik out there. It may not be perfect, but things are so far from perfect already that it would be suicidal not to try to make something work. We owe it to kids, and we also owe it to good teachers, to find models that work better while we also address some of the other problems. Good teachers deserve a better workplace and deserve not to inherit kids who have been allowed to vegetate or even go backwards in classrooms run by burnouts and incompetents.

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