No matter where you go in America, some things remain the same. One is the acute injustice of the “education lobby.” State budget woes have brought educrats out in force. In Oregon, they want to borrow against next year’s budget to avoid this year’s cuts. In Seattle, espresso-cart operators have gone ballistic over a 10-cent-a-cup “latte tax” placed on the fall ballot, with the proceeds, in the millions, going to schools.
The educrats’ universal slogan is “do it for the children.” Invariably, “it” refers to the transfer of money from the taxpayer’s pocketbook to the educrat’s bank account.
When I was a boy, education was simple enough. Schools had a principal, sometimes an assistant principal, a secretary, a janitor or two, and – teachers. Yes, lots of teachers. We also had playgrounds, buildings and school buses. The buses only transported farm kids to school – the rest of us walked in winter and rode our bicycles in spring and fall.
I suppose even back then principals had administrative duties, but in our view their primary responsibility was to inspire good behavior through fear, and it worked splendidly. If you were extraordinarily unlucky, principals also did substitute teaching. The secretary was there to keep the principal in his private office, so the regular office wasn’t quite so frightening during non-disciplinary visits. Janitors tidied up and, of course, teachers taught.
It was a simple arrangement, but extraordinarily successful. You could tell at a glance that the entire enterprise was engaged in teaching – kids went in ignorant and they came out educated. Teachers were respected in the community. “Do it for the children” wasn’t their slogan, it was their life.
Today, the situation is different. Support staff (I call them educrats) are approaching a 1:1 ratio with teachers. Both the product (students rescued from a lifetime of ignorance) and the service (the teaching process) are awful. Kids go in ignorant, they learn political correctness, pseudo-science, hatred of America and sexual perversion before being dumped on the street – uneducated. The bill for all this has skyrocketed and every year, it seems, taxpayers are clubbed over the head with the empty slogan, “do it for the children.”
This would be disastrous enough, but teachers now aspire to educrat status. This is because the pay is so much better and you don’t have to deal with the rude and uneducated kids passed on by a previous teacher who believed that “no child should fail.” Life on the outside is rarely so kind, a lesson schools today delay.
If dangling financial incentives in front of teachers to stop teaching were not enough, educrats seem intent on forcing good teachers out of the system entirely. In Olympia, Washington State’s capital, you could talk with Richard Robertson, a high-school math teacher forced out after 23 years of teaching. While students and parents flooded the meeting in support of him, school-board members went into “executive session” out of public view to craft the axe (“Students, parents decry teacher’s exit,” by Alma D. Sharpe, The Olympian, B1, 8/13/02).
So what is the teachers union concerned about in the midst of all this? They are busy fighting a ballot initiative that would mandate gasoline taxes be spent on transportation improvements (“Teachers’ unions sue to alter initiatives,” by Patrick Condon, The Olympian, A2, 8/13/02).
Public education in America is terminally ill. Educrats are obsessed with money, power and influence. They have forgotten why schools exist. Attempts to measure the level of their failure only serve to increase their bureaucratic fiefdom with funds coming out of the hides of teachers still struggling in the classroom. Educrats are in bed with the most vile and disruptive elements of society in their struggle to grow their bureaucratic empire on the backs of innocent children.
Most of these kids will never recover from their education “experience”: They have instead been condemned to a lifetime of poverty, ignorance and vice – traits they will unwittingly pass onto their children and their children’s children. We will all pay that price ad-infinitum, but educrats will observe the process from the comfort of their state-funded retirements, while they “tisk, tisk” taxpayers for resisting demands for ever-more money to “fix things.”
On the contrary, state budget troubles give legislators the only opportunity they may ever have to reverse public education’s decline. Pay as you go is a wise choice. Cut the education budget like all the rest, but mandate that all reductions come from bureaucratic, not teaching staff. Taxpayers would win twice: One less report filed means one less bureaucrat required to read the “product.” Do it for the children.