Important Image

On his very first smartphone, N installed as wallpaper a photo of his old flip phone.

I don’t think he’s figured out how smartphones work yet.

This reminded me how at the beginning of our relationship he proudly showed me a folder on his laptop where all of our photos were saved. The folder was titled “June 2007.” It took a while to explain why it was upsetting.

Until What?

This child died in September—how many more have to die? This is a national crisis.

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 22, 2019

How many more have to die until what? It’s not a rhetorical question. What is he and his side proposes to do to stop kids with congenital heart disease being forced to undergo an arduous, dangerous journey? What is Booker suggesting? What’s the plan he has in place and who’s preventing it from being implemented?

The Real Problem with Secondary Ed

The real problem with secondary education isn’t that there is too little money. It’s that many teachers are completely ignorant and can’t teach. If you sit in on a class taught to 14-year-olds like I recently did, you’ll notice that the actual teaching of actual material takes up about 5% of class time.

And now let me tell you why this happens.

We prepare teachers of Spanish in our department. In order for them to get certified by the state, we have to teach these students together with the Department of Education. The Dept of Education consistently and aggressively squeezes out all of our Spanish courses. The students end up graduating with barely four courses in the subject matter that they will be expected to teach. So of course they don’t know anything. They can barely speak Spanish. Instead, they take idiotic courses like “Teaching a Gifted Child” (yes, seriously), “Teaching a Diverse Classroom” (super relevant in Southern Illinois), or “Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning” (which is definitely more important to Spanish teachers than stupid old Spanish).

The Dept of Education extorts us in crazy ways, forbidding us from teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays or from requiring students to take courses we usually require.

It’s a vicious circle because these ignorant teachers send us completely ignorant students, and we are stuck trying to teach them really basic stuff. Then they graduate, and the whole thing repeats.

I definitely agree that students need a couple of classes in basic pedagogy if they want to be teachers. But not at the expense of their actual discipline! And pedagogy, not ideology or filler aimed at helping unpopular professors fill their classrooms.

Let me repeat: the state is doing its darndest to force us to produce ignorant, unqualified teachers. You can buy 5-course caviar meals for each student and that won’t compensate for the indignity of a Spanish teacher who took 4 courses in Spanish in their entire college career.

Bernie’s School Plan

My starting salary at this university was $42,000. In ten years + tenure it crept up to $56,000.

So obviously the idea to jack up my taxes to offer school teachers starting salaries of $60,000 does not appeal. Especially since these are the same teachers who send me barely literate graduates and I get to redo their work after them.

Bernie’s whole school proposal reads like a letter to Santa. Free everything! For everybody! And loads of money on top! I have no idea how people can read it as anything but comedic. Free breakfast, lunch, snacks, dental care, mental health care, for everybody including illegal immigrants! And to pay for all that, let’s gouge the parents who think it’s their responsibility to parent their own kids. But hey, given how he plans to destroy universities like mine anyway, maybe I do need the free snacks.

Of course, nobody is going to pay for all this stuff and the only parts of the proposal that will be implemented are the ideological ones (the toilets, the locker rooms, the destruction of girls’ sports, the ESL).