I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

04 December 2010

Fun Facts and Responsibilities

Despite the fact that I wear a dress to school four days out of five, I am never girly enough for the Princess Contingent in my class.  This group is an annual society with a largely (but not entirely) female membership.  The Princess Contingent is the group that requires the monthly lectures on topics like Why We Don't Share Our Glitter Lip Gloss and No, Really: Pink IS For Everyone.  They also give me regular unsolicited fashion advice, typically covering skirts (should be longer and poufier, preferably involving panniers) and necklines (lower, always lower).

I have found that dressing to please the Princess Contingent on days when I'm not feeling it and the storm clouds are rising can make for a better day.  I think their vocal appreciation of my style rubs off on everyone else and such is my Aura of Nobility via Fashion that kids like to do as I say.

So yesterday I wore this really stunning vintage sheath dress and coat set...AND mascara.  Banner day.

Then I came home and read this.  It includes plenty of quotes and suggestions from state politicians and education figures...already capitulating to the end of 20:1 everywhere, a 170 day school year, and - as always - education taking the brunt of the budget crisis.

Gee, thanks!  Good to know that we are all standing together to protect the state's future...hey, where are you going?  GUYS?!

You know what?  I HAVE HAD IT.  Every year it's the same thing:

  • this year will be the worst, next year will be better
  • we have to "share the pain"
  • there is no appetite for raising taxes
  • 13 is the "third rail"
  • you schools will figure it out somehow
And every year, the next year is in fact worse, the pain is shared among social services and safety nets but not its taxpayers, taxes on the poor and middle class rise while corporations get larger than ever cuts, poor school districts shorten their year, take the hit on their test scores and get told it's all their fault, and good teachers get laid off or decide they're tired of giving up their lives for the state.

And always, as always: poor schools, poor children and the underserved will get it the worst.

So, again: I HAVE HAD IT.

Marching forth on March 4th is not enough.  Filing a lawsuit against the state while capitulating to their budgeting is not enough.  Waving the spectral flag of insolvency and state takeover is not enough.  Conceding to school-destroying layoffs, increased furlough days and larger class sizes to protect...something or other is not enough.

It is time to say no.

It is time to march forth to sit in.  It is time to wildcat strike.  It is time to refuse to negotiate, refuse to sign a budget that kills schools and demand tax increases.  We do ourselves no favors by always finding a way.  We do ourselves no favors by saying that we can't change anything, we have no options and we as little as we like it we'll just have to give in.

I mean, do you see the Captains of Finance doing that?  Aren't we supposed to have the same performance-based (cough) accountability (hack) standards they do?  They don't give in.  They demand what they want, and the next thing you know my tax dollars are saving Goldman Sachs' cash from the AIG pit in exchange for wrecking the economy.

I say we do the same.  Nice isn't working.  Give me reality.

I have the responsibility to make my classroom work for my students.  I have the responsibility to make sure that they master the content standards and develop as decent, inquisitive people.  I take this responsibility everyday, including on those when I have to put on some lipstick and a fancy dress to cover three hours of sleep and stress.

I can't do it with thirty children in my room.  I can't do it on five years of pink slips in a row next to five years of Outstanding evaluations.  I can't do it on two cents for supplies, untrained colleagues and yet another salary cut by furlough.

Responsibility, in this case, demands that I refuse to participate in a system that destroys education.  It requires that I hold elected officials and District administrators to their responsibilities to protect students and teachers.

We need to refuse to allow this to be the worst year.

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