Sunday, May 1

Does "Weepy Wimp" Suddenly Test Well With Republican Focus Groups Or Something?

I DUNNO; near as I can figure some teacher at North Central High School pulled Young Mitch out of his locker on a regular basis. From Channel 8: [Note that this clip is giving me fits; I'm gonna post it now and try to get it working. If you can't see it here you can catch the full "report" at the link to 8, and forward to exactly 1:00 to catch the waterworks.]

Because a) all that's happened here is teacher's unions took a hit, which God knows the man might break down about, but I'd expect fist pumping, not tears; b) his line is pure horseshit, aside from the part about not being an educator (except he left off "or remotely interested"). It's not "good teachers" which make the difference in education*, but the intellectual environment in the home; if you actually look into the question at any depth whatsoever you'll find that's the major factor in educational success. Nutrition and health care are other major contributors. Republicans have no interest in addressing any of those, so breaking down when limning The Good Teacher is either hyperreality or dinner theatre. And c) Mitch Daniels does not have an emotional attachment to anything that isn't Mitch Daniels. Randian policy wonks do not tear up over Balance of Trade projections or amendments to the Tax Code (possible woody, if possible), and they sure don't over giving poor children an opportunity. So that performance was connected to some lost lunch money, or that day he had to ride his sister's bike to school and some Good Teacher pulled the barbarian hordes off him before he was forced to eat the basket.


* I'll admit, my Poor Wife and I go 'round about this, but, once again, Teacher was maybe 5% at most of what I learned; curriculum was 95%. It just flat never occurred to me that the teacher was supposed to hoodwink me into learning the material, and do magic tricks or jump up and down like an eccentric biology prof into the bargain. In grade school Good teachers were "nice", and let you go to recess early, and never punished the whole class because Roger Knox wouldn't shut up. In high school my favorite teacher was a charming guy with a remarkable wit and deadpan delivery who let us do creative stuff, but that was in Radio/TV class. I didn't expect my Algebra teacher to do impressions, or the Latin teacher to sponsor Toga Fridays, or be as interesting as his student teacher, a foxy little blonde who rumor had was a cheerful toker. In junior high a "good" teacher was one who let you get away with junior high shit, within reason. Junior high is just hormone prison. All junior high teachers deserve merit pay.

Perhaps it's different with children who never get fresh air, sunshine, or take their eyes off screens, and, if so, then we ought to make them knock it th' fuck off for eight hours a day. Like so much else, this argument was hijacked in the 80s by people who were looking for some way to void Brown, or the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and we've been suffering ever since from the notion that the sole purpose of public education is to turn out better change-makers and more accurate filers. This is particularly curious since in the days of my own matriculation there was so much moaning from the Right about how we'd gotten away from The Classics. If we're really serious about public schools preparing students for career success, Blowing the Boss for Maximum Benefit should be part of the Freshman curriculum.

My Poor Wife, it should be noted, instructs serious students of Art, and not in how to fake it using a laptop. She is a Good Teacher, and has been recognized professionally as such, and in a field where her instruction, her unwavering standards, and her instillation of a work ethic can, and do, make a huge difference. She's also in a field where nobody is going to get any merit bonuses. On the other hand, those who will teach in fields where the goddam answer is the goddam answer, whether or not they stood on their heads while factoring or diagramming or reciting; this shit has nothing to do with anything, except the power and Democratic tendencies of unions.


M. Krebs said...

That footnote deserves a medal.

Unknown said...

And I can promise you all the money that my unemployed ass doesn't have that Mitch Daniels, whether declared or not, will be the Presidential candidate of choice with my family.