Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I didn’t not get involved in California’s “State of Emergency”

Last week was protest week for the California Teacher’s Association.  Around the state and at the Capital Building, protests sprang up to protest the absolutely absurd budget cuts that are coming our way if the California Legislature does not get its head out of its ass and vote to extend state taxes.  I did not attend a rally, create a blog post, or hardly even talk about the week’s activities.  Here’s why.

1.  AP testing, Comparative Government Final, teaching Seniors about investing and credit, spending entire prep on the phone with parents of potential Senior failures, preparing Economics finals, teaching Modern U.S. History in depth with APUSH, and basically, you know. working.  Who has time to drive down to Sacramento and get thrown in jail?

2.  Some of the protestors are crazy.  Yes, even Cindy Sheehan has brought her circus to Sacramento and don’t wish to be lumped into a group that includes people calling for the abolishment of capitalism and the rise of anarchy. 

3.  Part of me really, a very small part of me, wants to see this happen.  I want to see what happens when districts are forced into cutting 20 days off the school year.  I want to see how parents are going to react to the need for more child care, for less services for kids to get into college, and for the overall bad temperament of the teachers that will have taken a further 10% pay cut.  That would mean an overall 20% pay cut on my household, and that’s after a pay cut I just took this year.  No matter what you might think, teachers are human.  We’re asked to do more for less and spend our own money to teach your kids.  Eventually, teachers are going to get very resentful.

In the end, people in California (and around the country) are going to have to answer a simple question; how much are you willing to pay for the services you want?  Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Economist, and nearly every Sunday morning politico have stated that Californians have a habit of wanting exemplary government services at no financial cost.  In Education, that creates 35 students per classroom, 500 students per counselor, and an overall atmosphere that has many constantly looking over their shoulder.  You could say “deal with it”.  And I can say “Ok, but I’ll have a lot more concern about paying my mortgage than trying to get your kid to pass the Advanced Placement test.”

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