Let’s Get Stoopid

It might be the phenomenon known as ‘the loud minority.’

It might be Fox News.

It might just be the fact that I work in a restaurant, where people routinely leave their brains at home before coming out to eat.

But to me it seems like the country is getting dumber and dumber. According to a cracked.com article I read we as a society are actually getting smarter and not dumber, but I live in Georgia so I see a different side to that argument.

Georgia has one of the worst education systems in the country. It’s a fact. Every time I hear about a new cutback they’re making I hang my head and sigh. It makes me sad. Personally I don’t think that cutting back on education to help balance the fiscal budget is going to keep us on top of the global food chain. Hell, I like food. I don’t want to have to fight off a couple of billion highly educated, hungry Chinese people for a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger.

And before we go any further with this let me say that I am married to a teacher so I am admittedly very biased on this subject. I know first hand the time a teacher spends preparing to teach your kids their ABCs, both before class and often times way, way after the bell has rung. I know the sacrifices that teachers make in their personal lives and the stress they deal with. People if you have any doubts about this then please feel free to research the requirements placed on teachers. The amount of rules and regulations they have to wade through will blow your mind more than your first Ween concert. Add to all this the constant (and real) fear that parents who place the burden of raising their kids on the school system becoming displeased with their child’s performance and taking their frustrations out on teachers by using threats and verbal abuse. It’s almost like in the Great Restaurant of Life teachers are the servers, parents are the irate customers, and the kids are the food. If you don’t like your food or if it took to long to come out then of course you have every right to berate your server and stiff them.

Metaphorically.

But what’s not a metaphor is the very real controversy being stirred up with the teacher’s unions in Wisconsin. I won’t discuss the pros and cons of unions or the collective bargaining process or the difference between public and private employees.

These ideas don’t hold a lot of meaning for me. I make $2.13 an hour. Most of my brothers and sisters in the business make $2.13 and hour. As long as that is the case (and it will be the case as long as the lobbying arm of the National Restaurant Association has its way, which will pretty much be for fucking ever because people who make less than one third the minimum wage per hour don’t have a lot of lobbying money sitting around) the ideas of unions and collective bargaining won’t be much more than ideas. Yes, there are unions out there but they are not exactly the AFL/CIO either.

My beef with this hullabaloo is these people in the media that are whipping out their dicks and pissing all over teachers in general. I might not have all the facts straight (but when did that stop anybody from having a say) but according to my understanding the governor of the cheese state wanted to find some money in his budget and saw that gasp teachers were making a decent wage. Teachers that had to go to school to get their jobs. Then keep going back for more training and certification. Then handle a lot of responsibility and regulation to keep those jobs. So instead of finding that money elsewhere somebody thought it would be a good idea to target those fat cat teachers. Those people shouldn’t live middle class lifestyles, he thought, with their fancy health insurance and 401k and their  holiday sweaters and dry erase marker stains on their shirts. Only politicians should have those things. Except the sweaters and the dry erase stains.

Teaching has a nickname. It’s called The Noble Profession. In days of old (or in foreign countries today) an education was one of the most valued and sought-after acquisitions in life, right behind a metric shit ton of money and a discreet mistress. Not everybody could even gain access to it and those that taught were afforded the level of respect that such an important position deserved. Today in America we don’t seem to prize it as much. And we don’t seem to prize those that teach like we should. That’s why when I hear talking heads (the sphincter wrinkles on TV, not the band from the 80s) complaining about some teachers making upwards of 50k per year I think ‘Really? That’s worth complaining about? Why aren’t they making 100k+? Wouldn’t that have a really positive effect on the education system and on future generations of Americans? Wouldn’t that money be better spent building a better future for America rather than destroying the present of other countries? Or bailing out the real fat cats?

Even though much ado has been made about the rare incompetent and lazy teacher who just phones it in, most teachers are extremely dedicated to their jobs. They have to be to put up with all the crap they put up with on a daily basis. If you don’t believe me then I urge you to get up at 3:30 with Mrs. Bear and the rest of the teachers out there and go along with them for a typical day in the classroom. You won’t come away from that without feeling, without knowing that they earn every penny they make and much, much more.

Give credit where extra credit is due, people, and as always . . .

Dignity and Respect

Me, The JerBear

(and I promise you my next post will be filled with partying and inebriation and music and fun and hell maybe even something about working in a restaurant but I have to put on my militant hat every once in a while:)

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Let’s Get Stoopid

  1. I work at a fairly upscale restaurant and hear people vomit out these highly uneducated comments all the time. Some of my favorites:
    -On Egypt “We are really the only power player in the region and need to get our troops in there.”
    -After explaining why steelhead is a trout, “Just more of that junk science. Like global warming or autism.”
    Although my favorite still has to be a financial planner talking to some elderly clients who said, “I think you are right, landlines are poised to make a comeback.” The daytime hosts/esses all know now that it is not safe to put that guy in my section.

    • Landlines are totally on the way back in! I’ve got three myself.

      And yeah one more war wouldn’t hurt anybody.Might make gas a little cheaper.

      You hear some stoopid shit Tipsy.

      The other day I waited on this chick who looked at our drink menu and asked me what the difference between the ‘Hot Shake’ and ‘Cold Shake’ was. I had half a clue as to what she was talking about but couldn’t quite wrap my mind around someone not knowing the difference between hot and cold anything. I pointed down at the menu and said ‘Oh . . . Sake! We serve hot and cold sake.’

  2. You will get no argument from me on this Jer – and I would think no one else.

    I have the utmost respect and love for the people that teach [taught] all of our children. Their dedication and love of what they do shines through and I see it come out of my children on an almost daily basis. They are woefully underpaid and under appreciated by a large part of society and many parents.

    I will say the thing that p*sses me off the most are those that suffer [teachers and students] because some parents don’t raise their children and then send them off to school to be “raised” by the school system. Woe be one of MY kids that doesn’t behave at school or show their teachers respect. They can bring me a D – things happen, but don’t bring me a note [or heaven forbid] a phone call telling me you acted up in class. They know better. I wish other kids and their parents understood the importance of behavior on obtaining a valuable education. Teachers jobs would be so much better.

    Please extend our fondest thanks to Mrs. Bear. We appreciate and thank her for her hard work. We know.

  3. Amen to those above, Jer Bear, I can’t believe these issues are getting to the level they are. In these tough times someone’s looking to slash money and they’re doing it in all the wrong ways.

    And of course, thanks to Mrs Bear =) 3:30? Whew, I’m not even getting home from work till 4:30!

    • In her school district they have voted to go down to 4 day school weeks to save money. It boggles my mind that in a state full of farmers and hayseeds nobody is familiar with the expression ‘Don’t eat the seed corn’, which is what’s happening by undermining the education of the next generation. Instead of saving money in the long term we are going to be a lot poorer.

      And as for the 3:30 thing, to be fair I’d say an hour and a half of that morning time is dedicated to taking care of Baby Bear but it’s still pretty damn early if you ask me.

  4. We all have to live with the kids that come out of the public education system to be (hopefully) functioning adults in society. More than a little respect is due to the men and women that spend more time with some of these kids than their own parents will.

  5. Dude, I’ve been enjoying your internet column (ok, blog) ever since I found out about it from a mention from Fuck My Table. Anyway, what a great post! I like teachers. I fucking hate republican politicians.

    • Thanks Joe! I try to stay out of politics as a general rule, though honestly the GOP seems to be a little nutty these days. As a comedian you want to stay away from being pro democrat or pro republican because you automatically alienate 50% of your audience that way.

      But I think it’s safe to say I am 100% PRO education all the way.

  6. Historically Crazy

    My parents are both teachers in Conservative Alberta, Canada (Admittedly, we’re less conservative than Americans, but hear me out) For 10 years, we had a premier (similar to a governor) in power who made continual cuts to education and healthcare, while pumping money into oil…. and wondered why teachers were going on strike. Education should be one of the last things you look at cutting. Judging by some Americans I have met on my travels and from work at a tourist site at home, there is A LOT for young Americans to gain from a decent education. That’s not to say Americans are stupid, just that the sample I have encountered wasn’t the brightest out there.
    100 years ago, in most towns in Western Canada (and likely Western US too as well as 150 years ago in the East) the school teacher was most likely the oldest girl who hadn’t yet been married and “finished” school the year before. Our abilities to teach and educate have increased greatly, why do we insist on ignoring these oppourtunities?

  7. I started working in food service when I was in high school. In my mid-20s I went to college so I could be a teacher. I completed the program, saw all the bullshit teachers have to do in order to be disrespected by parents and administrators, said ‘Fuck it’ and went back to waiting tables.

    Get this: At one of my teaching job interviews, a principal said to me, “Wow, your resume and portfolio are very impressive and your GPA is outstanding. We like smart people, but, uh…can you coach anything?”

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