Monday, January 25, 2010

More for Less

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Are you overpaid and under-worked? When you go home at night, do you say to yourself, "Gee, I could have done so much more today besides play video games! And this paycheck -- it's just so fat! Hmmm?

Me neither.

Today the new Republican governor of New Jersey posted his wish list for educational spending in the Garden State. It happens that at this moment in life I am earning a starting salary as a school teacher.

The governor wants to freeze my salary.

He wants me to work five years before achieving tenure, not three.

Once I get tenure (if I or anyone could), he wants to make it easier to dump me.

Does any of this sound familiar? "Work harder for less." It's the mantra of the age, our precious legacy from the vile Ronald Reagan.

Why can politicians make such demands? Because anyone who has a job is desperate to keep it. Who am I kidding? If my salary got frozen, could I quit? If it took me five years to get tenure, would I quit?

I. Can't. Quit.

Where does it end, this attempt to freeze, downsize, maximize individual performance? Are we drifting back into the days of Dickens? I think we are.

Lincoln freed the slaves, but Republicans have been trying to reverse that mandate for 30 years. May the bored gods show them no pity.

PS - Correction. The first Star Wars movie was released in 1977. We at "The Gods Are Bored" pride ourselves on encyclopedic perfection when it comes to fact.  FACT: The rich man is dancing, and the poor man's paying the band.


Souris Optique said...

They've been systematically undermining the education system for years. It's part of the plan.
I'm sorry.

LJ said...

At risk of offending, and I hope I don't, I think that a lot of states are doing this, and I'm actually in favor of it.

Nothing personal, but with my experiences with the public school system, I think the reason they're trying to do things like this is due to the glut of people who are only in the job for a secure paycheck(small as it may be), and the job security. There are just SO many teachers that are not in it for the right reasons. Dare I say, a whole lot of them just don't care about the students.

I really hate what it would do for the good teachers out there, and even though I don't know you personally, I think you're one of the good ones just from your writings.

Sadly, the PS system and decreased standards of teaching is why I now home school. I'm not really behind the salary freeze so much as the tenure thing. I think it should be fairly easy to get rid of the bad elements, so we can focus attention on the good teachers, like you.

Just an opinion, I really hope I did not offend.

Hecate said...


You offended me. I was a public school teacher for years and i suggest that you walk a mile in those shoes before your criticize.

Funny how the banksters get instant tenure and are too big to fail, but teachers have to prove themselves over and over.

No, it's not funny.


anyone that messes with teachers paycheck should get nutted.

LJ said...

Hecate, if that's the case, I'm truly sorry. But, that is my opinion, you have no idea what I've been through with teachers who just don't care. I have no idea if you're one of them or not. But, my opinion stands.

Lavanah said...

I am offended, too, and I have never been a teacher, I do have 2 children who have gone through the public school system here in New Jersey, and while I haven't LIKED every teacher I've come across, I do have a great deal of respect for anyone who does the job. As for the question of tenure-the reason for it is EXACTLY so teachers jobs are not held at the whim of political opinion.

Maeve said...

I don't have insight on happenings in other places, so my comment relates simply to the place I am at. But I figure things are likely to be similar across the nation, so I thought I'd post in case it's helpful for someone else to read.

I'm going to take a leap of faith and vote for the school mill levy this year if they put it on the ballot. The last time I voted for a levy was a decade ago. Then, as now, they were making a big stink in our local media about the millions of dollars the budget for next year would be short. All the things to be cut. How awful it would be for the kids. Yadda yadda yadda. And when the levy passed (because people here really do care about kids and education) did they buy the books and things they said were needed but had no funding for? No. They hired a couple of administrators with 6-figure salaries.

As a result, people here are mistrustful about what we're told and how the money is actually handled.

But I don't see a solution for our current situation / predicament which I feel is better or more fair than a levy for our local district. Ask teachers to not take a pay raise? Ask elementary kids to switch to a "cluster school" arrangement with the majority of them having to be bused and all of them crammed into classrooms to the legal limits of capacity? Ask the kids to do without 20 teachers and the courses they would have taught? (They're talking of not filling positions that are vacated.) Ask the kids in arts and athletics to have their activity cut entirely? (some people are just kinetic) Ask teachers to continue giving up prep periods to fill in for other teachers instead of having substitutes?

The list of horrible alternatives just goes on & on.

If the levy passes, I think it will add about $30 per year to our property tax. I think $30 is a bargain when one considers what is on the line.

But I also know there are people who struggle and sincerely don't have an extra $2 a month to spare. I can't blame or begrudge them if they vote no.

(and an aside, while there are a few bad apples among teachers, most teachers ought to be awarded a Purple Heart for the crap they have to put up with at the low pay they receive. What they go through is utterly insane. Especially with this generation's expectations of instant-everything. But that's a rant for another day. My mother is a teacher, and I have good friends who taught all the way through to retirement. The tales from the other side of the desk would singe your eyebrows right off.)

THE Michael said...

And all pagans are good, good people and should never be criticised because we are all sweetness and light and every damn one of us is right because those others don't understand us and we work so hard to be special and it really pisses us off that someone who doesn't wave a magik wand on occasion would DARE think we might be a little "off" but that's ok because we will band together and defeat those naysayers and fight the good fight and ........and.......what was the question again?

I am a Pagan. I was once a Catholic. I am not perfect, despite not being Catholic anymore. I have known flake pagans, and rock solid pagans. I have met teachers who should go to heaven if there was one, and teachers who I would personally throw into the fires of hell if there was one. Enough of this taking offense because someone has an opinion or has actually experienced someone not being perfect. If you want to take offense, then take offense at someone directly attacking YOU for YOUR performance here on this Earth in whatever role you are playing, and you damn well better be prepared to defend your sweetness and light. Me, I am what I am and I am not about to rate myself on the worthiness scale simply by virtue of belonging to any club, no matter how exalted the members of that club are expected to be. Plus, I am a citizen of that once-great-nation we called The United States where freedom of thought was considered a virtue, not the fuse of yet another stupid conflict.

harmonyfb said...

Freezing salaries...I feel your pain. My husband's a chemist. He hasn't had a raise that matched inflation since 1990, and he won't be getting a raise at all this year. The last few years I worked, I didn't get more than a 2% raise each year... factoring into account the 200% rise in our insurance payments, we're actually making less than we were five years ago.

As a school system policy, it sucks rocks - and I'd be asking pointed questions about whether politicians are having salaries frozen and/or taking pay cuts (I'm guessing not.)

However, I'm all in favor of making it easier to fire teachers for cause.

My brother was emotionally and physically abused by a schoolteacher who continued to teach for 20 years because she had tenure (she wasn't fired even when it was demonstrated to the principal that she was giving my brother failing grades on work that was 100% correct. Because she had tenure. That horrid woman caused an aversion to school on my brother's part that impacted his career years later. If I ever see her again, I'll be hard-pressed not to knock her down.)

I've seen too many awful human beings that kept teaching jobs they hated, teaching kids they hated (like the elementary school teacher of mine who used to break rulers against kids' legs), while enthusiastic teachers who genuinely liked kids went begging because the horrible, abusive tenured pricks weren't fired.

Personally, I'd love to see tenure go the way of the dinosaur. Nobody needs to be immune to consequences for their behavior at work.