Tuesday, June 07, 2005

How Can "Boss" Kerr Be Against This Idea?

You know that things are out of control in Los Angeles' Thomas Jefferson High School when a board member makes the following statement:
At Tuesday's meeting, school board member Marguerite LaMotte was quoted as saying: "Right now, we have the students running the schools, and we need to take control of them again."
Jefferson High School has had at least three major brawls in which school administrators called in the police to re-establish some semblance of order:
Disputes between Latino and African-American gang members may have started the initial brawl on campus, but a lack of adult supervision, overcrowding and the media frenzy surrounding the fights are prompting attention-starved students to continue the violent melees, students and faculty said during interviews Tuesday as school was dismissed.

"Kids just [are] fighting to get out of class," said Otis Farr, 15, who was standing outside of the campus with a group of friends, both black and Latino. "The first fight may have been over some beef, or whatever, between a black kid and a Latino - but people fighting for real. But after that, once everyone saw how much attention it drew, they just kept on fighting. It's almost like they do it just to get on TV or to get out of class. Kids are doing it because they think it's fun."

Cynthia Vasquez, 17, said the "stupid" fights are caused by a handful of students with gang ties who draw others into the conflicts because of peer pressure.

"It's like a crazy mob," she said as she walked home with friends, mostly African Americans. "Most students don't even know why they're fighting, but they see everyone else or maybe one of their friends is getting beat up so they just jump in. They're not thinking about anything."

"They do it because they want attention," Tameshia Bolden, 17, said. "It's stupid because they're just jeopardizing my education. I know it's too crowded here, but just wait a year or two when you're out of school. It isn't always going to be like this."
One of the Governator's proposals would be to pay fully credentialed teachers additional "combat pay" for agreeing to accept a teaching assignment in such challenging conditions.

Many rational-thinking folks would think that the state's largest teacher's union, the California Teachers Association would be in favor of such a proposal.

This is not the case. "Boss" Barbara Kerr, the unelected "President" (The rank-and-file are not allowed to vote for union officers.) is rabidly against Schwarzenegger's plan:
California's public schools aren't combat zones and the governor's latest comments about "combat pay" for teachers are not only insulting, but also show he has no understanding of what our schools need to succeed, California Teachers Association President Barbara E. Kerr said today.

"The governor's comments make it seem like these schools are war zones, and that's insulting and degrading to our kids, teachers and their communities," Kerr said. "He is out of touch with what our students need."

Governor Schwarzenegger fails to grasp that pay is only one part of the picture for our schools of greatest need, Kerr said. "Instead of addressing the state's education funding crisis and keeping his promises to fully fund our school system, the governor is wasting time on a political agenda that won't help improve our schools one bit. To attract quality teachers to these schools, we need smaller class sizes, adequate textbooks, and clean and safe learning environments."

Boss Kerr is clearly out of touch with what's going on in many of our inner-city classrooms. Many of these schools really are "combat zones," with bullies and gangs pitted against educators and a system that refuses to substantially address the problem. In fact, neither Kerr nor any of her accomplices minions have taught in an actual classroom for many years.

Only in the rarefied atmosphere of the unelected and unaccountable, could anyone be against giving more money to teachers who are willing to work under these circumstances.

But then again, Boss Kerr doesn't have to answer to anybody, least of all us dues-payers who foot the bill for all these well-paid jobs sinecures that are held by the unelected Boss and her cronies.

And let's not forget that
we don't get to vote on the Boss's "anti-Schwarzenegger" $180 dues increase either. Sadly, since California is a "closed shop" state, withholding dues isn't an option.

Submissions for The Carnival of Education: Week 18, should be sent to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net no later then 10:00 PM (Pacific) Tonight. The Carnival should open here at The Wonks Wednesday morning.

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