Sunday, April 10, 2005

Many thoughts for the weekend.

-First of all, my wife gets her Spring Break starting now. I would like to thank the Ukiah Unified School District(that would be mine) for giving us 9 straight weeks and not spacing out the vacations with reasonable breaks. I would also like to thank the teachers who approved the calendar, for some reason.

-No word on the house yet. Our agent called and said she would call the second we heard something. By Monday evening hopefully.

-My weekend was spent cooking for the week and watching massive amounts of television. Nothing calms massive amounts of stress like the tube. I can't tell you much, except that their are "family issues" that are causing lots of stress. It's a bummer. So, I watched a few Giants games, the Kings-Lakers games (screw you Kobe!), and lots of shows about cooking and gardening. Don't ask why. I think the house has something to do with it. I didn't do much grading, but I did do a lot of planning for the next 5 weeks. What was cooked? Here is a little menu for the dishes cooked up for the week:
-Collard Greens mixed with sauted prosciutto, peppers, garlic and artichoke hearts
-Chicken wrapped in bacon topped with thyme, garlic, onions and olive oil
-Chicken thighs cooked in olive oil with garlic, rosemary, basil, onion
-broccoli and cauliflower mixed with ranch dressing (lots), bacon bits, olives and green onion.
-Lots of sliced strawberry's for munching

-So it is popping up everywhere today. This is George Will's article in the Washington Post that promotes giving 65% of all educational spending directly to the classroom. A small summary:

The idea, which will face its first referendum in Arizona, is to require that 65 percent of every school district's education operational budget be spent on classroom instruction. On, that is, teachers and pupils, not bureaucracy.

Nationally, 61.5 percent of education operational budgets reach the classrooms. Why make a fuss about 3.5 percent? Because it amounts to $13 billion. Only four states (Utah, Tennessee, New York, Maine) spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in classrooms. Fifteen states spend less than 60 percent. The worst jurisdiction -- Washington, D.C., of course -- spends less than 50 percent.

By the way, according to Darren, California only spends about 61.7%.

After looking at the proposal, the only thing I can find wrong with it is that it classifies "Teacher Training & Curriculum" as an "outside the classroom" expense, and is therefore exempt. Sure, this would mean that I could be paid more. But it also means that Workshops, conferences, Institutes and most of all, textbooks, are not covered by the proposal. Districts could use that to their advantage. But all-in-all, I like the idea. District administration is vital to running a school at the local level. But I really don't see a whole lot that the County Schools does for us, with the exception of Special Education. But that is sparse and tangled in bureaucracy. I like the 65% idea. As for curriculum, hell, I buy most of it myself anyway. That, and I steal :)

-Speaking of George Will, I consider most of his columns as great to excellent. He is a classic conservative that doesn't play into the mid-1990's, neo-con agenda. Liberals often write him off because he isn't afraid to voice his opinion bluntly. But read his Washington Post articles and his "Last Word" columns in Newsweek and you'll find a man that has risen above the partisan frey in hopes to make this country better. It is worth a glance, at the very least. If you are a baseball fan, also look into "Bunts" and "Men At Work", two books that are a must for the true Major Leaguer.

-Finally, a word on Governor Arnold removing his support for a proposition that released the State from funding State employee pensions. I relates to a post I found on Darren's blog. I didn't have a problem with Arnold becoming Governor from the beginning. I had no illusions that he was basically a puppet that was ran by people in the background. But I figured that his fiscal conservatism and social liberalism would fit this state well and give it a Ronald Reagan "Morning in America" type of push. Then came his attack on Indian Gaming (a cancer in this state), his smart push for the 2004 initiatives (slamming a bad 3 strikes removal law), and most of all, supporting a much needed Stem Cell research bond measure that made California the proving ground for stem cell research. It seemed to be working.
Then it seemed like his handlers let him go a little too much. He opened his mouth and attacked Democrats, Nurses and Teachers as the problem with the budget in this state. The Democratic legislature needs to be controlled, I grant you that. They spend more money on pork projects than can be believed. However, that is not what the Governor addressed. Instead he went after some of the states hardest workers. Teachers and nurses are paid nothing compared to the output of work they perform, and Arnold attacks them? You think tenure and teacher pay is the problem? You think a requirement that the state pay for education is the problem? No the problem is simpler than that.
Californians want more services, yet want them for free.
Face it citizens of California, the problem is you. You are apathetic and you are greedy. You want the best of all worlds; hospitals, schools, public safety, roads......but you don't want to pay the money required to run them successfully. Californian's, here is your chance! Vote out the legislature and vote in members that will run the government efficiently! Then accept the burden of running this state that you take, take and take from, but give little back in return! Go for it!

But of course, it won't happen. We are too fat and happy to act. Of course, if any of those measures regarding teachers should pass, then maybe educators should act. How about a state wide strike? That way parents can get out of education what they put into it. Meaning nothing. Actually, it might be good for parents. They might actually have to "parent" their child.

Dammit, now I'm bitter. I'm in one of those moods where I want to tell everyone in the world that they are damn lucky that I love their kids and I love what I do. Why are they lucky?
Because sometimes that is all that's keeping a damn good teacher going.
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