Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My bloated wage as a government employee

Welcome to "The Gods Are Laughing Their Butts Off!" Hey, we give them plenty of entertainment, don't we? If they don't laugh, they're taking afterlife way too seriously.

I didn't know that President Obama dedicated federal government money and part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to re-hiring laid-off public school teachers. But boy-oh-boy was there a rant against this decision in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

In a shameless waste of ink and newsprint called "Bureaucracy gets a bailout," Jim Powell (senior fellow at the Cato Institute) writes:

"In voting to spend $10 billion to save schoolteachers' jobs last week, Congress bailed out government employees who have fatter paychecks and pensions than those doing the same kind of work in the private sector."

Guilty as charged, Jim ol' boy! I'm a public school teacher, and my bloated salary of $46 and change is higher than those in the regional parochial schools. Some of our local Catholic schools pay as little as $36,000.

So why should I get a better salary than a private school teacher? Okay, fathead Jim Powell, you tell me.

It's not only parents and students who opt out of public education. It's teachers. I went to night school. I know. When Mr. Bigwand wasn't blabbing, I heard the Catholic school teachers bragging about the "better quality" of their students and the "fabulous" parent involvement in their schools. I also heard them complaining bitterly about their salaries and even more bitterly about having to seek state certification for their continued employment at their Catholic schools.

Well, maybe the state of New Jersey could give Catholic school teachers a break on that certification. This does seem unfair to me. However, their lower salaries do not. Private schools can pick and choose their clientele. Public schools can't. We public school teachers fling wide our doors for every child.

Does this sound like the evil doings of a bloated bureaucracy to you? Does this sound like a terrible inequity for the "private sector" in my "industry?"

Jim Powell, please floss before you bite me. I am a public employee. I'm working with kids who have nothing, trying to give them skills so that they can get something. Be something. Take a shot at the American dream. You know the dream I'm talking about, right Jim? It's the one that's easier to reach if you go to a private school.

God forbid we pay public school teachers more than parochial ones! And I really mean God in this case, because it's God who's running those Catholic schools, where they work religion into the curriculum and put crucifixes with poor Jesus above every blackboard.

I make no apologies for my "bloated" government salary and my pension (which will be pennies, since I just started teaching last year and I'm already 50). For my wage, I teach kids who can't afford private school, I teach hard, I care if they learn, I put in long hours, and I love my students one and all. AND ... and here's the biggie, Jim Boy, the BIGG-GIE. I do not teach religion, espouse religion, encourage or discourage religion, or express my personal views on spiritual matters. Right there's where I deserve the higher wages and better pension. I teach English and keep my mouth shut about both Jesus and the Salmon of Wisdom.

I believe that public schools are America's crowning achievement, and I am proud to be employed by one of them. Jim Powell, when you begin collecting Social Security checks, the money to pay for them will be coming from the paychecks of people educated in public schools. Again, I will ask you politely to floss before you bite me. I don't know where your teeth have been.


Lori F- MN said...

Public school teachers are some of the unsung heros. Hurray for public school teachers - who don't mistake school for church.
If a parent wants that kind of teaching, get the kiddies to church or a private school.

sott'Eos said...

Why do I suspect that this man who begrudges teachers $46k/year has no problem spending $35k/year putting people in prison (and the longer the better)? Does no one on the "right" understand that more education and opportunity means less crime and incarceration?

Intense Guy said...

I was just reading about school kids in Haiti in another blog - where they claimed it took the Haitian child 16 years to get to a sixth grade level of schooling and that was pretty much it for most of them.

I commented there - and I reiterate here - so many of our country's problems could be solved with each and everyone getting an education and learning "real" living skills like checkbook balancing, cooking, proper language for speaking and writing, map reading, critical thinking (which politician is lying the most blantantly?) and some "what do you do now?" skills.

Those that teach kids these things have might utmore respect - those that just collect dust and their pay need an ass-kicking - and there are some of both in every school district (IMHO).

Intense Guy said...

I could add proof-reading to the skill set...

I meant "my utmost" not "might utmore"... sorry, my apologies to you and my old 12th grade honors English teacher....

Lavanah said...

Forgive my nearly complete and total cynacism, but...if we lay off public school teachers and (as many on the right wish to do) help fund those schools who can pick and choose their students...we end up with a large, uneducated underclass who is more easily manipulated (because they have never been taught critical reading), and who is grateful to be cannon fodder for the small chance of leaving said underclass.

(and my word verification was "readadz" I find that bitterly amusing.)

Pitch313 said...

We little people at the bottom of the midden heap fail to see and understand the big picture.

For example, we continue in our insistence that labor carried out merits just money compensation. This, of course, denies that money to those whose assumed social position and unfettered greed entitle them to that money more.

If only we little people carried out labor while forgoing our silly insistence on compensation, the world would become a better place for those who gleaned up more money.

Alas! We little people fail to see the big picture that, as we selfishly think of our selves and our survival, we deprive others of the wealth that they dream of and obsess on. How dare we think about mere communities when we could be serving the few rich bigger portions?

Lavanah said...

Also, please forgive my spelling errors! Cynicism.

Alex Pendragon said...

I'd KILL to be making $46 grand a year. No, wait, that woud mean I'd be an assassin.....paid killer....no, never mind.....I think I'll settle for my $20 wiping the shit off the bottoms of dying old people in my CCU. The occassional relatively young person I get to help bring back to health now and then makes it all worth it. You rock Anne, I would never begrudge you your honest wage.

Jack Johnson said...

I doubt most rational people believe the problem of bloated public school budgets rests with the teachers but rather the public school administrators. I'm sure most of us would be happy to see more of our money trickle down to the trenches (where our kids actually are). However, I don't agree that public sector employees (regardless of their role) should be paid more than their private sector counterparts.

In addition to your salaries the public sector provides security to its employees. Whether it's in the form of pensions, health care, or tenure the long term benefits provided by the public sector are unmatched in the private sector. I think one or the other is more appropriate.

As an interesting side note, a disproportionate number of public sector employees send their kids to private schools.