Monday, February 7, 2011

SOS: Save Our Schools

If you simply cannot tolerate the wonderful Christmas movie, "The Ref", because Denis Leary drops the F-Bomb like it's part of the attack on Tokyo, then you might want to leave this post right now.

Seriously, if you think drastic measures are not called for, if you believe we can just talk it over and things will be just fine, that all we need is a little compromise to reach consensus or that consensus if even part of the solution, then you should check out the whiners here or here.

So, you are either determined, or curiosity has bested you.

First, the problem with our schools is not what you would suspect. Anyone the least bit in touch with reality knows that by any objective measure, and by that we mean nationally normed evaluations, DeKalb Public Schools are an educational train wreck. But that is not the problem at hand. A more important problem is looming and as you might imagine, it is all about money. Apparently DCS had built schools in high growth areas (that would be the south) in anticipation of a growing student body, at the same time starving the stable, but overcrowded schools in the north though they are in much need of resources. Then the real estate bubble exploded, the schools not only did not fill, but found themselves with so few students...and here's where the money comes in...that they were not eligible for significant state funding. Given the  administrative bloat of DCS and the fact that anyone occupying the superintendent's office, no matter how briefly, must be given an obscene pay and benefits package,  it should come as no surprise that even a small disruption in the money stream is of the utmost concern.

So how will DCS solve their money problem? Re-districting and school closings. This will put the right number of arses in the right clarses to ensure that DCS gets maximum drain from the state coffers. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Apparently way too many groups of folks have something other than achieving the best possible educational outcomes as their top priority. This seems to include job security and pay, property values, and racism and classism.

How best to silence this cacophony of competing narrow interests? Glad you asked.

Here's the answer--some folks simply must have a nice steaming hot cup of Shut the Fuck Up and let the adults solve this problem. This is no time for petty jealousies, nor for the greedy and self-interested to re-enact the tragedy of the commons playing fast and loose with How about a nice cup of Shut the Fuck Up?
our school system and with flagrant disregard for education outcomes.

These obstructionists include, in no particular order:

Those who seem to think that schools, particularly the ones near them, exist for the sole purpose of increasing, or in today's climate, maintaining, their property value deserve a full cup of Shut the Fuck Up.

Other folks, probably with no direct interest in education but who nonetheless  pontificate on the moral imperative of proper classroom diversity, as only they can define it, need a grande cup of Shut the Fuck Up.

Those suggesting that folks living in apartments are somehow inferior, and if educated as a group simply won't get an adequate education have earned a really hot cup of Shut the Fuck Up.

Parents who think those same apartment dwellers' children will give their little darlings cooties, or that the only benefit these other people offer are some basketball moves, well, they too get a cup of Shut the Fuck Up--two lumps, no cream.

And, if you're a mop pushing janitor who now feels entitled, as if you're somehow critical to a good education, then yes, you are entitled. To a nice cup of Shut the Fuck Up.

And what about those administrators who justify their bloated salaries and gold-plated benefits by comparing their position to what they (and virtually no one else) considers an equivalent private sector position? Well, they'll need their Shut the Fuck Up in a to-go cup because we're calling their bluff--they need to hit the bricks and prove the value of their immense skills in the private sector.

Teachers, by their self-aggrandizing re-labeling of "educator" and their made-up, neither here nor there hyphenated degrees, have worked diligently, day and night for what has heretofore been a mere sip of Shut the Fuck Up. But have no fear, you'll not be asked to crawl down from that cross you climb up on every time you get a public forum--you just stay put and we'll have someone top your cup off. To the brim. Free refills.

And finally, parents who think they have a bigger say in how schools are run because their darling little one's are in school get as big a cup of Shut the Fuck Up as they need, but not a drop more.

Now, everyone good? Great! Will the remaining adults please finish the job in such a way that each student gets an education that maximizes their individual potential while reducing per-student cost by 20%?