Remember: It’s for the Children

, former White House Chief of Staff

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, former White House Chief of Staff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember this the next time teachers cry that they’re “only doing it for the children.”  They’re lying.  Just like any professional, they’re doing it because it brings in a paycheck, and (again, just like any professional) they want to do as little work and have as little responsibility as possible for as much paycheck as possible.

Now, read that again: I said “just like any other professional.”  That is not a statement of condemnation, simply one of fact.  Every professional is looking for the perfect nexus of duties versus pay, keeping the first as small as possible while keeping the other as high as possible.  There’s not even anything wrong with that.  When you use the education of children as a shield, however, there is something very, very wrong with that.

Readers of my personal blog should not at all be surprised that I am less that thrilled with how schools treat our children in the first place.  I believe they treat them as less than human.  So when teachers walk off the job, so that children are still subject to all the ignominy of being public school students, with none of the (meager) benefits, I get very angry.

And what did they walk off the job for?  Well, like the screeching harpies in Wisconsin, they walked off because Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel wants them to pay more of their insurance premium.  He also wants to base part of their evaluation (and, therefore, their continued employment) on the success of their students on a standardized test.

The Teachers’ union says this could cost 6,000 teachers their jobs within two years.  Now, one thing to remember here is the specific proposal exempts the first year’s evaluation.  So, basically, the union is admitting that 6,000 of its teachers suck so badly that they would be fired after just one year of this evaluation counting toward their continued employment.  If the situation is that bad, maybe all the teachers need to be fired, and new ones hired.

And don’t come screaming to me about “standardized tests.”  Like so many other things in so many other areas, standardized tests are the worst way of objectively measuring student performance except for all those other ways we’ve tried.  Either a student knows how to solve a polynomial equation, or he doesn’t.  Either a student knows the difference in a simile and a metaphor, or she doesn’t.  No amount of caterwauling and complaining is going to change that.

Typically, I’ve found that teachers complaining about “standardized tests” are really complaining that their children won’t work.  I can’t help them with that.  Also: it’s irrelevant.  Yes, you read that correctly.  If your children won’t do the work, their normal grades should reflect that.  Thus, it should be no surprise when they fail the standardized test.  Perhaps instead of complaining about evaluations being linked to testing, they could, instead, ask that standardized test scores also be indexed to regular grades.  Or maybe they could suggest an alternative that attempts to address the need for objectivity in evaluations.

They never do, however.  Instead, they simply assert that it cannot be done, that it’s unreasonable to ask, and that anyone who does ask is not “thinking of the children.”  Teachers, if a customer service representative can have an objective, quantitative evaluation of their performance, so can you.   It’s time to accept that you, like every other professional in America, requires some kind of objective evaluation, and that opposing suggestions to that end only supports those 6,000 teachers who obviously shouldn’t be teaching in the first place.

So, following the “blind squirrel” theory of politics, I, for once, agree with Rahm Emmanuel.  This strike is “unnecessary, it’s avoidable, and it’s wrong.”  The teachers unions must be defeated.  Whether in Wisconsin, in Illinois, or even my own Texas, teacher’s unions support some of the strongest among us against some of the weakest.  Teachers can be a very potent voting block, and our children have no voice at all.

But remember, this strike is for the children.

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