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.
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:)