Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:￼
Teachers say they’re striking because the schools are unsafe, not just for money. But the solutions they propose don’t address the root causes of the problem.
Society painted itself into this corner a little at a time, each new initiative sounding good but each one sacrificing a little, too. In every aspect of life, when there isn’t enough to go around, society must practice triage, must decide who gets the scarce commodity and who is robbed of it. I suggest we’ve been making the wrong decision.
Child 1 has autism. He needs special education, extra attention from teacher, additional time on tests but we’ve mainstreamed him in the classroom with average and smart kids. While teacher is working with him, the other 29 students are bored, learning nothing.
Child 2 doesn’t want to be in school but is lumped with students who do. He acts out, picks fights, talks back, disrupts class but we can’t remove him because of his race. While the teacher is dealing with him, the other 29 kids are bored, learning nothing.
Child 3 has mental health problems. You get the idea.
Two kids might have better lives, the disruptive one probably will drop out soon. 27 kids fail the reading and math test for their grade level. Which is understandable, since they’ve been sitting in class learning nothing all year.
The solution may not be hiring mental health counselors in the main office or racism monitors in every building. The solution may be removing the three who need special attention so the 27 can thrive. No amount of teacher salary raises will solve that problem.
All very true – if the goal is to actually educate children.
And for many, probably most, teachers that is the goal. But for the administrative class, and a public employee unions that really control the whole situation, it’s really about power and transfer of wealth. If any children actually get educated, chalk it up to collateral benefits achieved by pure happenstance.￼