Public School Teaching Crisis

Teaching

Teaching ate me alive – Salon.com

Wrong profession? Lost perspective? Just another whiny, self-absorbed wool-gatherer? Guilty as charged. Hey, I’m a card-carrying, fellow-traveling union member! But I do have one suggestion for civilians. As a public school teacher, I considered myself a public servant, like cops, firemen, food service workers and other “heroes” who are willing to do difficult, thankless, vital jobs for very little pay and not much more than the scorn of their fellow citizens. Thus, the door of my classroom was always open to parents, administrators, politicians, journalists and passers-by. But I waited in vain for company, for visitors were scarce. All the jibber jabber about public education these days seems to be based solely on idle speculation, memories of a Golden Age and the bilge that the LA Times publishes in lieu of objective journalism. So please stop by a classroom sometime. You might be surprised. And you’re paying for it.

There’s a good reason that American slaves were forbidden to learn to read: Literacy is freedom. Free, high quality, accessible, equitable education is the bedrock of a free society. That’s not just Tea Party flag-waving; it’s the Incontestable Eternal Truth. Sadly, in the final analysis, historical and political forces are at work that leave us, the teachers and students, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. People, people, people! Can’t you see that The Man wants us ignorant? Unite, my friends! We have nothing to lose but our …  ohferchrissakenevermind!

But remember, if you’re there when the last dog reaches the last hill: Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for

Teaching ate me alive – Salon.com

The teaching profession is an endangered species. A learned and difficult profession is under attack with the apparent intent of reducing its pay to something akin to a hamburger flipper. The ideas of the “reformers” seem to consist not of putting money into public schools but removing teacher  protections. Teachers are now portrayed in popular movies and “reformer” financed documentaries as evil or incompetent obstacles to educational success. Teaching is an institution laboring under the ridiculous burden of No Child Left Behind, a barrage of often bizarre state mandated rules and governed by administrators who at times seem to be focused on driving out every vestige of independence and enthusiasm. We destroy the teaching profession at our peril. It is an institution that has served this country well.

Make no mistake. The public school teaching crisis will have real casualties not just among the faculty. Without teacher opposition, school boards will have much more power to create rules and policies without interference.* They are the main line of defense against the threat of privatization, a pet project of a good number of billionaires and largely a failure at improving test scores.** But the simplest and clearest danger is that many teachers will leave the profession. After all, in a nation that believes “you get what you pay for,” many have decided teaching is worth but little.

James Pilant

*Don’t take my word that school boards do strange things. Run  a simple search, school board controversy, and then have fun wading through the entries.

 

**     http://www.shankerinstitute.org/publications/charterreview/

Policy Brief: The Evidence on Charter Schools and Test Scores

December 2011

(This is a brief excerpt from the much larger report which I recommend you download and read yourself.)

This discussion on charter school evidence will focus almost entirely on test-based outcomes. Testing
data provide an incomplete picture of student and school performance, while other outcomes, such as
graduation rates, parental satisfaction and future earnings, are no less important. This review focuses on
testing results because they are the outcome used in most charter studies, whereas analyses positing
alternative measures are more scarce.
That said, there is a considerable body of evidence that corroborates CREDO’s findings. For instance, a
2009 RAND Corporation analysis of charter schools in five major cities and three states found that, in
every location, charter effects were either negative or not discernibly different from regular public
1 Effect sizes can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, some researchers argue that even very small testing gains are
associated with substantial increases in economic growth (e.g., Hanushek and Woessman, 2007). In addition, achievement is
cumulative, which means that single-year effects can understate the total impact of schools.
| 3
schools’ (Zimmer et al., 2009). As one might expect, charters tended to get better results the more years
they had been in operation.
Similarly, a 2010 report by researchers from Mathematica Policy Research presented the findings from a
randomized controlled trial of 36 charter middle schools in 15 states (Gleason et al., 2010). They found
that the vast majority of students in these charters did no better and no worse than their counterparts in
regular public schools in terms of both math and reading scores, as well as virtually all the 35 other
outcomes studied. There was, however, important underlying variation – e.g., results were more positive
for students who stayed in the charters for multiple years, and those who started out with lower scores (as
mentioned above, CREDO reached the same conclusions).
A number of state-specific studies buttress the conclusion of wide variation in charter effects.
A paper published in 2006 found slightly negative effects of charters in North Carolina (Bifulco and
Ladd, 2006); CREDO’s results for North Carolina were mixed, but essentially uncovered no difference
large enough to be educationally meaningful (CREDO, 2009).
Booker et al. (2004) found a positive charter impact in Texas after 2-3 years of attendance, but the effect
sizes were very small. Gronberg and Jansen (2005) reached the same conclusion for elementary and
middle but not high schools, while CREDO (2009) found small negative effects overall.
A published analysis of charters in Florida showed negative effects during these schools’ first five years
of attendance, followed by comparable (with regular public schools) performance thereafter. The reading
impact was discernibly higher, but the difference was modest (Sass, 2006). It’s also worth noting that
CREDO’s (2009) Florida analysis found a small positive effect on charter students after three years of
attendance, while a 2005 RAND report on California charters revealed no substantial difference in overall
performance (Zimmer and Buddin, 2005; also see Zimmer, et al., 2003).
Lastly, a 2006 study using Idaho data showed moderate positive charter effects (Ballou, et al., 2006),
while students attending Arizona charters for 2-3 years had small relative gains, according to a 2001
Goldwater Institute analysis (Solmon, et al., 2001; note that, once again, CREDO found the opposite).
Finally, most recently, Mathematica and CRPE released a report presenting a large, thorough analysis of
charter management organizations, or CMOs (Furgeson, et al., 2011). In order to be included in the study,
CMOs had to be well-established and run multiple schools, which meant that the schools that were
included are probably better than the average charter in terms of management and resources. The overall
results (middle schools only) were disappointing – even after three years of attendance, there was no
significant difference between CMO and comparable regular public school students’ performance in
math, reading, science, or social studies. Some CMOs’ schools did quite well, but most were no different
or worse in terms of their impact.
In an attempt to “summarize” the findings of these and a few other single-city studies not discussed
above, the latest meta-analysis from the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) concluded that
charter and regular public school effects were no different in middle school reading and high school
reading and math (Betts and Tang, 2011). There were statistically discernible positive impacts in middle
school math and elementary school math and reading, but the effect sizes were very modest. The primary
conclusion, once again, was that “charters under-perform traditional public schools in some locations,
grades, and subjects, and out-perform traditional public schools in other locations, grades, and subjects.”
This lines up with prior reviews of the literature (e.g., Hill, et al., 2006).

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Is Stepping on Teachers Becoming a National Pastime?

Arizona Bill Would Restrict Teachers’ Speech – Proposed legislation would punish those who violate FCC standards

Arizona doesn’t want its teachers cussing in class—and new proposed legislation would actually make it illegal to do so. GOP state lawmakers are behind Senate Bill 1467, which would require public school teachers to adhere to the FCC’s TV and radio standards. That means certain limits on obscene, indecent, or profane language, the Arizona Republic reports. One teacher notes that the bill applies to teachers’ language not just in the classroom, but even if they are with a colleague.

Arizona Bill Would Restrict Teachers’ Speech – Proposed legislation would punish those who violate FCC standards

About one hundred years ago there were three groups of professionals, the opinion makers, in small towns all over the United States. They were  lawyers, doctors and teachers. Doctors and lawyers have retained their status. Teachers are barely one step above a sixteen year old with a MacJob. How did this come about?

There are a lot of reasons. I suspect the increasing demonization of teachers as the destroyers of educational excellence is a key factor. The strange idea that motivated teachers can overcome massive income inequality to produce high test scores in all populations. The teachers’ inability to produce this utopia of educational success results in constant attacks and ridicule. It takes its toll after a while. Further, teachers are divided in their political loyalties making their backing in a political campaign of questionable value. I estimate teachers’ union endorsement to be worth no more than sixty percent of their votes. Teacher fragmentation has been devastating to their political influence for decades. I remember listening in class to my teachers attacking unions and evolution. I grew up in Oklahoma. Defying teacher unions and refusing to even ask for an endorsement became standard politics long ago.

I don’t get it. Teachers by education and position ought to be opinion leaders but have apparently given up the job to do some version of independent politics on an every man for himself basis. Benjamin Franklin once told his fellow revolutionaries, “We must all hang together or else we shall hang separately.” The teacher unions are dying fragmented and ineffective.

Unless this fragmentation ends, there is only one end to the story, the minimum wage.

James Pilant

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Is Giving to the Democrats Pointless?

What Occupy taught the unions – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

Unions are in a death spiral. Private sector unionism has all but vanished, accounting for a measly  6.9 percent of the workforce. Public sector workers are being hammered by government cutbacks and hostile media that blame teachers, nurses and firefighters for budget crises. To counter this trend organized labor banked on creating more hospitable organizing conditions by contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party the last two election cycles. In return Obama abandoned the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made union campaigns marginally easier, failed to push for an increase in the minimum wage, and installed an education secretary who attacks teachers and public education.

What Occupy taught the unions – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

You support the Democratic Party. You organize. You get your friends to vote. And then after speaking many fine words most eloquently, they forget you. They ignore you. They insult you. corporate-profits-and-compensation 2000 2011

Those are the friends of the 99%? Those are the friends of the Middle Class? These are the people you can depend on to defend public school, control bank fees and rein in the disastrous casino capitalism that has wrought havoc on the world’s economy?

The current belief of Progressives and Liberals is to vote for the lesser of two evils. May I point out that the lesser of two evils is still evil and you are making a deal with the devil, a devil who delights in betraying your interests.

Consider your options.

James Pilant

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Public Employee Hero (Number 9) Medal of Valor Awards announced; two officers from Roanoke honored (via Rate My Cop)

From a press release from Rate My Cop

Officer Dwight W. Ayers

The night of January 9, 2007, Officer Dwight W. Ayers arrested an individual on an outstanding Emergency Custody Order and took him to the Carillion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. After several hours the individual was turned over to the hospital security personnel to await evaluation. As he was preparing to depart the hospital, Officer Ayers observed the individual escape custody and run past him. Officer Ayers chased the individual through the hospital and outside on hospital grounds.

The individual jumped into the Roanoke River and swam approximately 5-6 feet toward the center of the river where he held on to a downed tree. Officer Ayers stayed on the bank and gave numerous commands for the individual to return to the ban, all of which were ignored. Officer Ayers then entered the river. The current was swift due to recent heavy rains, the air temperature was in the mid-30s with wind gusts of up to 25 mph, and the water was lethally cold. Officer Ayers waded and swam to the individual and grabbed him around the upper torso. The two began to struggle, ending up in the center of the river were the water was approximately 8 feet deep. The swift current forced both men under the surface. Although Officer Ayers initially had a secure hold on the individual, the current made it impossible for Officer Ayers to maintain his grip on the individual.

Officer Ayers was able to make his way back to the surface and fought the swift current to stay afloat. He continued to sink under water for an undetermined amount of time as he floated uncontrollably down the river. When he surfaced, he grabbed a fallen tree branch to prevent his drowning. At roughly the same time, the individual’s body snagged onto an unknown object, was pulled back under water, and then drifted away.

Before grabbing the tree branch, Officer Ayers had traveled approximately 175 yards from where he entered the river. He was helped from the water and immediately taken to the emergency room and treated for hypothermia. The doctor who attended to Officer Ayers indicated that his core body temperature had dropped to 89 degrees and he said that if he had remained in the water any longer he would have succumbed to hypothermia. Officer Ayers was in the water for approximately fifteen minutes.

Unfortunately, the individual who Officer Ayers attempted to save drowned. His body was located several days after the rescue attempt. However, without disregard for his safety and well being, and in an effort to preserve the life of another, Officer Ayers clearly distinguished himself from his peers in taking these heroic actions.

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 8) Cop who saved shoppers from shooter: I am not a hero (via CNN.com)

From CNN.com

A police officer (Ogden City Police Officer Hammond) hailed for helping stop a rampaging shooter who killed five people in a Salt Lake City mall said he simply did what his fellow officers would have done.

“I felt that, whether I’m in my own city or not, if I have the ability to protect more people or prevent loss of lives, I have an obligation,” Officer Ken Hammond told reporters.

“I was in a situation that I was carrying my gun, and I felt that I had to do something. I couldn’t let any more take place.”

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 7) Hero Social Worker Could Lose His Job (via The Huffington Post)

From the Huffington Post

In March, Chicago Public Schools social worker Dan Coyne gave one of his kidneys to a beloved grocery store cashier who was incredibly ill. The amazing act of generosity garnered national attention, and Coyne is slated to be honored as a humanitarian at a luncheon for Chicago Public Schools social workers on Thursday–but after that, he might be fired.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Coyne, who has been praised as a hero and a generally fantastic employee, received a letter last week from the Chicago Board of Education saying he had violated the district’s controversial residency requirement.

The violation? He lives in Evanston.

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 6) In twist of fate, Fire Department emergency responder rescues coworker’s family without realizing it (via New York Daily News)

From the New York Daily News

A Fire Department EMS supervisor knocked down the door of a burning Queens home Monday and rescued a woman and her two young daughters.

It was not until Lt. Paul Yunek got the family to safety that he learned they are relatives of one of his co-workers.

Yunek was on patrol in Laurelton about 10:15 a.m. when he turned onto 220th St. and saw flames spewing out of the top of a three-story home.

He called for backup and then bolted to the front door, pounding on it with his fist.

When no one answered, he kicked it down – normally a job for firefighters, not EMS workers.

Once inside, he saw a woman standing in the doorway, stunned.

“She didn’t know her house was on fire. There was no smoke on the ground floor,” Yunek said of the woman, who turned out to be the sister of Queens EMT Rachealle Paul. “She said her children were inside.”

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 5) Mansfield fireman, hailed as hero, losing job (via IndeOnline)

From IndeOnline

An Ohio firefighter being praised for his quick action in a shopping mall shooting is about to lose his job due to budget cuts.

Firefighter Ryan Landin from Mansfield in north central Ohio was on a Valentine’s weekend date at Easton Town Center in Columbus on Saturday when police say a 15-year-old boy was shot in the head by his brother. Columbus fire crews say they arrived on the scene to find Landin looking composed with his medic gloves on, trying to control the teen’s bleeding.

The 26-year-old Landin tells the News Journal of Mansfield he was relying on his training not to panic.

He’s one of six Mansfield firefighters and paramedics and four police officers who will be laid off Friday.

The wounded teen died Wednesday.

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 4) Wisconsin High School Hostage Principal’s 911 Call: ‘Tell Them to Hurry’ (via ABC News)

From ABC News

Sam Hengel, 15, brandished two guns he brought from his home on Monday afternoon during the sixth period Western Civilization class at Marinette High School and took teacher Valerie Burd, a 10-year teaching veteran, along with his 24 other classmates hostage, police said.

Burd stayed on the phone with police who called the classroom while Hengel refused to talk and directed arriving students to the safety of the library.

Police responded to the call but did not confront Hengel until they heard gunshots in the classroom Monday night. When they entered, Hengel turned the gun on himself. He died Tuesday morning of a single self-inflicted gunshot. None of the other students were harmed.

After receiving praise from school officials and authorities for her control in such a situation, Burd spoke out for the first time late Tuesday to share credit with the kids.

“The kids were great,” Valerie Burd told reporters. “I’m glad they just made it out safe.”

“My goal during this incident was to keep Sam and the other students as calm as possible and get them all out safely,” Burd said in a statement. “The students responded in an exceptionally calm manner and kept him engaged in conversation throughout the entire time.”

Lambie (the principal) said Tuesday, “She saved the lives of many students by her calm demeanor.”

“I made her aware of how proud I was of her,” Lambie said. “Her leadership in that classroom was the calming attitude that the students needed to get them out of there safely.”

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant

Public Employee Hero (Number 3) Hero teacher didn’t have time to think (via SFGate)

From San Francisco Chronicle

In the moments after a young man detonated two pipe bombs at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, English language development teacher Kennet Santana didn’t have time to think about what he should do.

As students crouched for cover in their classrooms, Santana, 34, moved toward the explosions shortly after 8 a.m. Monday. In the hallway outside the library, he saw a boy wearing a tactical vest with what turned out to be eight other pipe bombs.

Santana thought at first the youth was a student trying to run from whatever was happening. But when he noticed a pipe bomb sticking out of one of the boy’s pockets, he realized that the youth was a threat – and that he had to stop him.

Without hesitation, Santana tackled the boy in a bear hug, pinned his arms to his sides, flipped him to the ground and stayed on top of him while yelling at other teachers to call for help.

Struggling to control his emotions at a news conference Tuesday, Santana brushed off any suggestions that he had acted valiantly in stopping the suspect, a 17-year-old former Hillsdale student who police say was also armed with a chain saw in a violin case and a sword with a 2-foot blade.

“There’s one hero in my family, and he’s in Iraq right now,” Santana said, referring to his brother, who is in the military.

(Below is identical from the first in the series of “Public Employee Hero” posts.)

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant