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lower education
american public education jumps the shark and bottoms out
by dan gonzalez

The week of November 6th was a bad week for public education. Before I elaborate, let me assure you that I am a dedicated fan of both public education and of teachers in general, having been one myself, but I have to say that the events of this week cast a noticeable shroud on public education.

Two major blows against public education happened in early November, although they appear unrelated.

On one hand, partisan unions spent $30,000,000 to ensure that Ohio Senate Bill #5 was repealed. They spent this against $7,000,000 that the proponents spent. That should seem to be remarkable disparity in political spending, particularly amongst those who are fond of accusing others of 'government for hire" and "crony capitalism", but whatever. This vote seems, at first glance, to be a good thing, until you realize how much the unions will profit while junior members are unceremoniously laid off because Ohio is literally and demonstrably broke. This is a very good example of the young paying for the continued sins of their elders.

The second major blow is the Penn State Child Rape Scandal, in which an alleged pedophile allegedly used his position at Penn State to permit seemingly unfettered access to prepubescent boys so he could sexually abuse them, sometimes in the locker room, while the leaders of that supposed "public" institution took no discernible legal action, and possibly turned their heads to protect the program. (I say possibly because it is too much to fathom that they really did that intentionally, but it is increasingly difficult to imagine a scenario in which they didn't, given all the facts that are now coming out).

So, let me get this straight. I have to pretend I've learned higher knowledge in high school by a bunch of burned-out, tenure-sedated and who-gives-a-fuck teachers, so I can then go to some state university that covers up child rape to preserve the reputation of it's almighty Division I College football program?

Is that really the position we have put the modern American student in? If so, no wonder we are producing kids that routinely get shellacked by students from India and China on standard achievement tests!

All I can say about the dreaded private-sector, all of those greedy corporate pigs that Occupy [Insert Random Word Here] stands against is this:

If those corporate pigs get wasted on their job, much less sodomize 10-year-olds in the company fitness center, they get fired instantaneously, and they are not provided severance or legal council.

You have to ask yourself, why can't any government or union-backed body fire horrible teachers, horrible people, just plain horrible individuals? Because they all get an unpaid, union-negotiated administrative leave, when you or I, as private citizens, would be out, in the cold, on our asses. AS WELL WE SHOULD BE!

Let me state this again. In our country, We can't fire child rapists without giving them 'paid leave' and 'legal benefits'. Regardless of what they taught or didn't teach our kids. But we legally demand that the people who actually give a shit about morals and responsibility pay enough taxes so that morally defunct deadbeats have their day in court.

I'm sorry, I've got better things to do with my money, namely putting my kids through the college of their choice and not starting their journey with crippling debt. Don't call me selfish or greedy, just call me practical.

But that's not gonna happen. Taxes and inflation will suck out everything I've saved, and my only choice will be to take a loan out from Obama (or whoever runs the govt student-loan racket next) and then pay it back on their terms.

Meanwhile, America is doomed to continue failing with the public education system we currently have, which cares more about politics than the individual struggle any given kid goes through just to graduate, much less 'be enlightened'.

I am personally very sad to have said all this, being a former "true believer", but I am just being honest. In my 45 years on this great planet, in this, the best of all countries, I had never been as truly demoralized as I became during that horrible week.


Maybe it's you, maybe it's Dan. Things aren't quite the way they should be. And now it seems Dan's peace of mind has come up for the bidding, and those that he respects and trusts must all have been just kidding. Dan's little world has lost control, but still it keeps on spinnin'...

more about dan gonzalez


a jackass by any other name
count me out of that race
by dan gonzalez
topic: news
published: 3.24.04

monsters in the process
meet the new swine, same as the old swine
by dan gonzalez
topic: news
published: 6.15.05


steve peha
11.30.11 @ 9:03a

I agree, Dan, that there has been some bad news recently involving schools. However, there is nothing that requires school districts to collectively bargain with teachers' unions. Any district that wants to can simply hire and fire people just like other organizations do -- one at a time with individual contracts.

This doesn't happen, however, because we refuse to support the HR infrastructure required to handle the workload of managing hundreds or thousands of individual hires.

With regard to the Penn State situation, it is deplorable. But it hardly compares to the sins of the Catholic church. Because we've all gone to school, however, I think it's natural for many of us to find fault with the way things are run. But as national institutions go, school is one of the best we have.

katherine (aka clevertitania)
11.30.11 @ 11:24a

What I find odd is that popular reaction to problems with public school staffing is to cut budgets and privatize schooling. Except the countries kicking our asses in education aren't doing so by privatizing of their schools - they do it by pouring more money into their public education.

I also think it's important to point out - SB 5 bore frustrating similarities to the Wisconsin bill that caused mass riots. It was passed in March, overrode 30 years of functional legislation and - much like other recent attempts to suddenly ban ALL public employee (not just teachers) bargaining rights - was rushed through with little debate in the guise of saving the struggling economy.

The states' being broke has nothing to do with paying teachers - it has to do with fewer jobs & less tax revenue.

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