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.