13.11.10

A Tale of Two Outings

It was the best of nights; it was the worst of mornings.  Usually weekends are a time of rest and relaxation.  Friday nights out as a couple.  Saturdays with the family.  Sunday mornings at church. 

It started well enough.  Friday night's activity was a shindig at the church for major donors to the grand piano fund.  Four hands; one piano.  And for two pieces, piano plus organ.  The music ranged from unknown (to me) pieces to Chopsticks.  Yes, they played Chopsticks for four hands on the piano.  No, it didn't sound anything like what it did when we were kids. 

Gathering around a brand spanking new Steinway grand piano hearing its A440 quality, ahh, heaven.  The music of angels.  And sharing the night with Mr. Gaelic.  He didn't even rest his eyes once during the performance.

However, trying to eek out a few more hours of couple time on a Saturday morning wasn't the best idea.  Well, not in the way it was executed.  The local school district held a screening of "Waiting for 'Superman'".  It's a very thought-provoking movie.  Done by the same guy who did "An Inconvenient Truth".  If you think it's all lovey dovey with the teachers' unions, think again.  The movie basically rips the unions for allowing bad teachers to remain in the classroom.

Both Mr. Gaelic and I were hot around the collar after the screening.  There was a panel discussion following the screening consisting of a teacher, three students, and a parent.  Audience members could ask questions.  The teacher admitted that she's warmed to the idea of merit pay for teachers.  Afterward leaving the theatre, I equated it with choosing your doctor.  You want the best doctor.  But what about our kids' teachers? 

Neither "An Inconvenient Truth" nor "Food Inc." irked me as much as "Waiting for 'Superman'".  Mr. Gaelic noted that with the other two movies I can recycle more and buy organic.  We have a bit of personal control over those two areas of our lives.  As for the local school district, none.

Yep, I'm mad about the way kids in America, my kids, are treated by the education system.  And I really covet the school administrators and teachers who are trying to make education work for kids.  Just watch tomorrow's sermon be about wrath and envy. 

10 comments:

  1. Have you ever read "Deschooling Society," by Iavn Illich?

    http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Deschooling/intro.html

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  2. I was just getting ready to head out to dinner...well actually, wine first and then dinner...and decided to do a quick blog walk. I'm so old now that I don't have any real knowledge of the schools anymore, but I "hear" a lot from young couples in my neighborhood. Everyone seems to be up in arms about one thing or another and that's not only awful, it's sad. I know there are cruddy teachers out there but there are also outstanding ones as well -- just like doctors. Only thing is, we can choose our doctor or switch doctors, but we can't do that for school classes. I don't know what I'd do if I had kids that age now. It's terribly hard. I DO think, however, that too much has been left to the schools to do instead of parents, such as sex ed. and things like that. It was so much simpler in my day......gawd, "my day". I used to gag when I heard my father use that phrase. On that note, I'm quittin' while I'm ahead. 'nite :)

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  3. @Laoch, Is that the entire book online? I'll have to bookmark it so I can read the entire thing.

    @Jenny, I told Mr. G in the car that if parents could request teachers for their kids then the administrators would know which teachers aren't good. Kids talk. Parents talk. We know the good ones. We just can't get our kids assigned to their classes because the schools "track" the kids.

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  4. In nearly every other career field in America, with the exception of financial and auto manufacturing of course, poor job performance results in unemployment. I've hear tell that this is the richest nation on Earth but you sure can't tell it from the education our kids get, the number of homeless on our streets and the unemployment rate.

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  5. @Rocket Man, Agreed!

    @Laoch, Thanks.

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  6. I wish I could email you instead of a comment here but since I can't, I just wanted you to know I am here and read your blog. :-)

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  7. Merit raises are only as good as the supervisor making the judgment. Some school administrators are going to say ALL of their teachers are perfect as they will take it as a reflection on themselves. Another will downgrade ALL of their teachers as they have the opinion that nobody is perfect and we can all get better. Thus, the first school's teachers will get raises...the second won't. And it won't have diddly to do with how well a teacher teaches. And, which teacher would most kids choose? The easy one who assigns little homework so they don't have to grade it and who isn't teaching much? Or the "hard" teacher who expects a lot of effort in the form of homework and projects? Sadly, not all parents are as involved as yourself. Schools are often "free daycare" for parents who don't give a flip just so the kids are outta their hair. Sorry - I'm ranting. My parents were school teachers so I'm very opinionated about the bullsh*t teachers have to put up with from incompetent administrators, lack of funding, unsupportive parents, and undisciplined students. In a world where we pay athletes and entertainers out the wazoo and don't seem to mind it, we place ridiculous requirements and paperwork on our teachers to "justify" the appallingly low salaries they are given.

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  8. @Angie, Rant away. My father and Mr. G's mother were both teachers. And both were the sole breadwinner of their families. It's a complicated issue.

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