I should have ridden my bike today. Jesus, it’s nice out there. Exactly what August should be, I think, cool enough in the morning to remind you that Fall is on the way, but warm enough in the afternoon to call it Summer. I suppose that means that kids will be back in school soon. If they aren’t already. Hell, I don’t know what a school year looks like anymore.
I’ll need to find out soon enough, with the girl child nearing kindergarten. Here come the questions, then: Should we just keep her in the schools in our district? Should we send her to a private school? What about a Catholic school? We’re not Catholic (used to be, whatever that means), but neither of us are particularly angry about religion or God in that way that is so fashionable to be. The way that produced a tweet I saw yesterday that said something like this:
“Hi religion, while you were out praying I was busy landing on Mars. Your pal, Science.”
How clever. Because God’s too dumb to build a space ship. Or is afraid of space exploration outing Him as a fraud. You never see this:
“Hi science. While you were out cloning sheep, I was busy – wait, that was me, too. Your pal, God.”
Call it my Bachmann/Vidal moment: The insufferable smugness of atheists keeps pushing me closer to religion.
But schools. What the hell is a Charter School? The faithful forum frolickers on the old West Seattle Blog are yelling at each other over this one, too. Apparently a charter school somewhere is mandating pregnancy tests for chicks who seem like they might be pregnant. If they are pregnant, they are turned out, and given home schooling options. This sort of thing rankles a fella, smacks of unconstitutionality and a bit of haughty elitism, and I am not in favor. From what I understand, charter schools are funded by taxpayer money, so my question is how they get to set up private school-type rules like this. I will have to find out.
In any event, per internet guidelines, it is used as a condemnation of all charter schools everywhere.
I don’t join these discussions often, and when I do I tend to get completely ignored. Presumably because I maintain my signature level-headedness and don’t bring enough bombast to the table. I don’t often issue fightin’ words. Nobody likes that. I slithered into this one, made my tired old case that no matter what type of school, the problem of poor education is one of people. Bad students are created at home, and bad teachers don’t get made good by a higher paycheck. Nor will a good teacher be made bad by a lower paycheck. I don’t see my position on that changing until someone shows me the magic number. The one that never seems to be produced by people who argue endlessly about some people having too much money and other people having not enough money. The break-over number. What does a teacher’s salary have to be to make him a good teacher? How much money does a school need in order to churn out better students? At what point does someone arguing for more money in education say “OK, you have what you need. Show me some results or you’re gone.”
The cynic in me says there is no such number because most people who argue for things like more money are really just arguing their case about how wonderful a bunch of people they are. They will feel benevolent and compassionate for as long as they keep saying they are willing to pay higher taxes to get more money into the school system. Fine.
The realist in me says there is no such number because paychecks are not training aids. Paychecks are not pre-emptive. Paychecks are rewards. The dolphin in the tank doesn’t get his mackerel before he jumps through the flaming hoop. You don’t give your dog a biscuit and then tell him to sit. Do that enough times and even a dog’s going to know he doesn’t have to sit anymore. So please, make sure to let me know when companies start calling people and demanding to ship out a paycheck for maybe doing some work later on.