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CSotD – Monday Mix

Mr. Fitz has been dealing a lot of insider-baseball humor lately, which only his fellow-teachers would really get. That’s his role, but sometimes he’ll pop one that anyone should understand and here we are.

This is a good comic because, on the surface, it’s a funny pun and a piercing accusation. David Finkle is a teacher in Florida, where a bill to allow teachers to carry guns awaits the governor’s signature.

Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen explained the law with a column that began “From the What-Could-Possibly-Go-Wrong? Department” and was headlined “Teachers with guns only makes sense to lawmakers who have lost their minds.”

Teachers will soon be able to volunteer as “armed guardians” in their schools after attending firearms training, undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and agreeing to drug tests.

Fortunately, teachers and school administrators apparently don’t need psychiatric evaluation: Hiaasen reports that only 25 of 67 districts have signed on for this Bruce Willis fantasy program, and that several of those came aboard for the additional funding, not for the chance to put guns in the classroom.

Where, yes, as Mr. Fitz notes, they don’t trust teachers to run thermostats.

I’ve worked with educators for a quarter of a century or so, as an alternative to becoming a teacher, and one of the reasons I dropped out of the master’s program was hearing teachers talk about the vertical power structure of schools.

The board kicks the superintendent, the superintendent kicks the principal, the principal kicks the teacher, the teacher kicks the student, the student acts out and gets put on detention.

Or, these days, thrown to the ground, Tased, handcuffed and arrested.

One of the problems with education is that, since everyone has been to school, everyone thinks they know how it works. This is like thinking that, because you’ve eaten in a restaurant, you are qualified to be a chef.

Kamala Harris has called for a national pay scale for teachers, saying that some very qualified candidates fail to become teachers because of the poor pay. I like Harris, but I hope she has a complex system in mind because it’s not an easy problem.

First of all, teacher pay, at least across NY State, tends to be fairly uniform, which would be fine if everyone’s cost of living were also fairly fairly uniform, but IRL means that a teacher in a rural district may be upper middle class but in an urban setting is likely on food stamps.

The other is that teaching is a vocation and most teachers become teachers because they want to teach, not for the money. Pay raises are certainly relevant, but they’re not a decisive point.

That said, cost of college could well be a factor. Given that teaching credentials require both a bachelor’s and a master’s, the debt burden could well be a barrier. Not that the payscale shouldn’t be reformed, but the cost of college is a more pressing issue.

Meanwhile, arming teachers is only one of many idiotic non-solutions that people dream up because they’ve eaten in the restaurant and so are experts on how to run the kitchen.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Scott Stantis)

(Andy Marlette)

The economy is booming, or, at least, the economic indicators are all positive, and it’s a bit of a mystery, here explored by Scott Stantis, who is genuinely conservative, and Andy Marlette, who is no flaming liberal.

Stantis expresses surprise that the system seems to work despite the lack of expertise at the head, and my response to that is that only the ventriloquists have to actually know how to talk.

Trump — the great dealmaker whose deals have a decidedly mixed track record — has given the real business people free rein, and the critical questions are what those rosy indicators really mean, who actually benefits from them, and how sustainable they may be.

Those are honest questions that are hard to address because it’s so easy to be partisan in the answers.

We do know that, when the stock market jumps or dives, people rush to say it’s because of this event or that change in the weather or that crop failure when it’s maybe all of them and maybe none of them.

The stock exchange is just a betting parlor and, while there is a pattern to how odds are calculated for a race, that pattern is based on the whims of the punters, who aren’t always rational in their choices.

(When the near-favorite is disqualified in favor of a 65-to-1 long shot, you can expect more people to be pissed off than delighted. My metaphor is not only solid but has a current model to prove it.)

But whether the markets run themselves or run best with a cooperative chimp at the controls or neither of the above, Marlette makes the point that perhaps economic indicators are not the only things we should care about.

Which deals with the issue that market indicators are more relevant to stock traders than to the rest of us. Yes, whatever retirement we may have is almost certainly tied to the market, but many of us have no retirement set aside and, even if we do, control is vested in the Big Boys.

Marking your proxy and mailing it in is the equivalent of standing on the poop deck of a clipper ship and blowing on the sails.

However, we do have some control over the integrity of our nation and perhaps that’s a more productive concern.

 

ICYMI

Mike Luckovich plays off James Comey’s Op-Ed, in which he pulls very few punches in evaluating Dear Leader’s management style. If you haven’t read it, you should take a moment now.

Luckovich is joking, because several of those boxes would have been empty from the start.

But not everyone approaches public service with “What’s in it for me?” and, while perhaps they should have known better than to set ethics aside, it’s easy to get caught up in the power and prestige.

As we bandy about comparisons to Watergate, we should remember this exchange from 1973:

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
May/7/2019
@ 1:44 pm

A handy (and updated) checklist of how well guns and schools mix:

https://giffords.org/2019/05/every-incident-of-mishandled-guns-in-schools/

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