Sunday, June 10, 2001

Pioritize This!

It has been nearly an entire school year and still here we are. I noticed
a gap in my "weekly" rants, not that I did not have anything to rant about
it just seems that lately there is too much to rant about. And how do you
single out one particular item. We are a Special Education school within
the metropolitan Milwaukee school district. And once again good intentions
fall along the wayside like so many baby diapers and beer cans. Our school
administrator counseled with me on the fact that she believes we need to
"lower the bar" where hiring teachers is concerned. The problem is that we
cannot get Special Ed teachers to work at our school because of the low pay.
Call it what you will but the simple truth is that in order to hire a teacher
and retain them for the year is by paying them. And are Special Ed teachers
better than other teachers? You bet! Only because they have had some exposure
to recent advances in education. (Also because of their schooling they are
now much deeper in debt.)

So what? Right. So What. Special Ed teachers need to earn a wee bit more
because of their educational debts (just think if all education was in fact
free we would not have this problem.) All this means is that when we offer
$23,000 annually to a Special Ed certified teacher they nine out of nine
times decline our offer. Since we are shorthanded we have to find someone,
so we move to regular teachers, who nine out of ten times decline, and so
on and so forth until a warm (or semi warm) body can be found.

OK sure rethink the budget and pay our teachers more. Simple plan, yes?

Too. Simple.

We have decided to "lower the bar" (exact words) and we hire anyone regardless
of their lack of education and they work under the licenses of those of us
who do have them. Pretty smart eh? Yes, budget-wise.

I mentioned in one of those admin meetings I'm not really welcome to that
perhaps we could look into the local teacher colleges and get student teachers
in Special Ed to come to work for us through apprenticeships, "OJT" experience,
etc. (Fortunately and even moreso surprisingly we are actually pursuing this

But enough of this and onto the Milwaukee Bucks who just lost their chance
for the Eastern conference championship. While it was fun to watch and complain
about the NBA conspiracy what was truelly devastating was that one of our
star players, Ray Allen, at 24 has a multi-million annual salary. He drives
a personalized Bentley, and is not want for anything much less cash. We pay
for Mr. Allen's "lifestyle" through our taxes, revenues from games, etc …

Of course at our schools we hold craft and bake sales, volunteer time, to
get some of the things we need, much less want. And with the monies leftover
from taxes and revenues (which are being cut back more an more each year)
we cannot find enough to pay the salary of our teachers, much less a point
guard jumper.