Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm pretty sure I was in no way out of line; actually I think I pissed this girl off simply because I did such a good job of advancing my position. Ah well, you decide. Here's the status update to which I had to reply, posted by former facebook friend Esther:

Ok, here is my opinion on the teachers strike in Chicago. Let them strike. Replace them with people who want to work and make a difference. Asking for a 30% pay raise in a time when your district is running at a deficit of over 600 million dollars is just ludacris!!!! I am sure there are plenty of unemployed people out there in the city of Chicago who are capable and willing to work.

And here's the debate, totally unedited:

Ronald My understanding is that it's a lot more about class size than it is about pay. Indeed, this is why so many Chicago parents support the strike. It's also about having quality teachers in the classroom, and about making sure they actually have careers that will keep them in the business for years to come, unlike the charter school solution that pays crap wages and burns people out quickly. The money's out there for this. The problem is that we see quality education as a luxury to cut rather than the vital necessity it actually is.

Donelle Ronald my mom was a teacher for 25+ years. When she saw the news tonight, she said "I would never have walked out of a classroom to strike because it's the kids that lose."

Ronald I taught, myself, for six years, and will probably return to it when I'm done trying to be a professional actor: the kids also lose when you go higher than a teacher/student ratio of fourteen to one. They also lose when you charter-ize schools, which drop stringent teacher qualifications, and which overwork their teachers and drive them out of the field resulting in the loss of experienced veterans and institutional memory. Right now the public discourse on education is being driven by psychopaths who want to turn the whole thing over to the private sector in order to cash in on the "schooling" business. They offer fake "solutions" that result only in taking taxpayer money to line their corrupt pockets, and children be damned. If the teachers don't stand up to this corporate stealth campaign, who will?

Rick Watch waiting for superman. Nuff Said

Esther I've watched waiting for supean several times

Gerri "The money's out there for this." What part of $600MM deficit is unclear? Whether higher pay or smaller class size, they both cost money. And if the money isn't there then it isn't there. And in this economy, in a district that is already in a massive deficit position, you've got to have rocks in your head to be striking. That will only damage the students' education and the district's financial position further. In a perfect world we would pay teachers a higher salary so we could attract better people to the profession and classes would be smaller. But we don't live in a perfect world. If you really want to improve the classroom put teachers back in control of the classroom, give principals the ability to discipline and even expel students if necessary, and expect parents to actually take responsibility for the kids' education and behavior. On a side note,on the news this morning they talked about some of the complaints being large class size and a lack of air conditioning in some of the schools. But you know what? I don't recall ever taking a class with less than 25 or 30 students in it and the elementary school I went to (before moving to Texas) didn't have air conditioning. And yet, neither of those things preventing me from getting a decent education.

Rick We've steadily increased education spending every year for the last 40 years and we are still falling behind other nations. We don't need more money. We need a better system.

Ronald Gerri, businesses are positively awash in capital right now. Indeed, profits, overall, are way, way up--this is why tax cuts for the rich as a job creation measure are stupid; they're sitting on piles of money at the moment, so more money for them won't expand business. What part of tax the people who actually have the money don't you get? The money is definitely there. There's not a magic shield around concentrations of wealth that makes taxing them impossible. It's only the attitude that says "oh, well it's THEIR money, so we can't do that." What a silly joke. If there's no money it's only because the ruling establishment refuses to go get it.

Also, it's been known for many years that there is a direct correlation between class size and learning. Your own personal education experience isn't really much of a factor as far as this goes. And your suggestion that we "put teachers back in control of the classroom" puzzles me. What does this mean? Are you telling me that all Chicago's educational problems are due to unruly students? Where have you heard that Chicago teachers have lost "control of the classroom"? I'm assuming this is just a slogan without any real meaning because you don't explain.

"expect parents to actually take responsibility for the kids' education and behavior."

Why don't we just have home schooling for everybody, the ultimate parental responsibility? You've got a point here in that teachers are expected to deal with all the issues associated with poverty, issues that make education far more than problematic, issues that teachers at cushy suburban schools like KHS never have to confront. So yeah, we should change society so that teachers are no longer blamed for poverty issues beyond their control. But you probably think there's not any money for this, either.

Ronald Also, Rick, Waiting for Superman is simply a pro-corporate schooling propaganda hit piece:

"When I first watched this movie, I was overcome by the blatant and categorical blame placed on the teachers. I kept wondering, when will they talk about other explanations for 'failing schools?' When will they talk about students with special needs or with IEPs, English language learners, students living in poverty, students from broken homes, students whose parents are uninvolved with their education, overcrowded classrooms, and excessively high student absentee rates? When will they talk about the cultural shift that this country has seen in recent decades through which the value placed on education has seemingly diminished? When will they talk about these other widespread, systemic issues that undoubtedly impact how students perform on a multitude of levels?

I kept wondering, when will they talk about the good teachers?"


Stefanie Ronald, you state that "business are positively awash in capital right now. Indeed, profits, overall, are way up." You blast Gerri for not explaining a comment but yet you don't back up yours either. Where is this information that profits are way up. Speaking from a business owners stand point I can tell you that profits are NOT up, I fact are WAY down, across the board. I have rental properties that are only getting 70% of what they did just 2years ago. And Please, define "rich" for me. Because if you took the income of everyone that made over a million dollars it would run the government for about 29 days. If you take out the amount they are already paying in taxes then you reduce that number to a mere 18 days since they average about 24.4% in annual taxes. You can google that information easily. How much did your pay in taxes last year? Or were you on the receiving end of my taxes?

Now let's talk about class size. I agree smaller classes are better. That is why my oldest goes to a, oh dare I say it for fear of your tongue lashing, CHARTER SCHOOL! For whatever reason, you have had a bad experience with Charter Schools and think they are all are created equal, but in fact, that is the beauty of them, they are not cookie cutter copies of each other. Class size is a HUGH issue and it would be nice if we lived in a perfect world where every child had one on one instruction. But alas, we do not. You would like class sizes of 14. Have you ever looked at a school budget? It takes an average of 14 students, just to pay the teacher. NO building, NO books, NO A/C, NO computers JUST THE TEACHER! And they don't get paid near enough! So I'm afraid you ideal class size is doomed from the start. You told one person their experience did not count, because it did not support your argument for 14 students, well add mine to the mix and I'm sure many others that received a very good education with 20 or more in the class.

Ronald Profits up, wages down, from a pro-business source two months ago:


Also, if I sounded like I was blasting Gerri, forgive me. I was simply taking on the tone she seemed to be using: "What part of $600MM deficit is unclear?" Such a question could be perceived as patronizing, but it doesn't really bother me. I just figured that's how we're talking to each other.
Just as I was typing one more comment, I was "unfriended." I found out when I clicked the button to post it. Here's my last comment, which, unfortunately, is only being seen here:
Ronald "it would be nice if we lived in a perfect world where every child had one on one instruction." Why does any progressive or liberal suggestion always have to be tantamount to utopia? No, this isn't a "perfect world" thing. The money exists to lower class sizes and raise teacher pay. Easily. Your business may be down, but corporate America, as per the Business Insider article, is filthy rich. Tax them. Easy. Actually, economists estimate that we can go as high as 70 or 80 percent in taxing the filthy rich before it has a malevolent effect on the economy. We're currently down in the twenties or thirties, for the actual rate, and much lower when you factor in loopholes and shelters. No magic shield, just a government system that is beholden to corporate campaign money, which means a legal shield. Just do away with the legal shield and everything's paid for.

Unable to post comment. Try Again.
"Unable to post comment. Try again." Hmph. I asked Esther via private messaging why she did this. Her response was something to the effect of "You're wrong; I'm a teacher; people didn't like your tone." I asked her what was wrong with my tone, but she hasn't responded. This talk-to-conservatives experiment is frustrating sometimes.