As the nation once again looks at the bodies of dead students at yet another school we hear some of the usual shouting about guns.
Predictably, many gun advocates are arguing that we should post armed guards or arm the teachers to solve the problem.
One “solution” meme that I have seen suggests that we hire veterans to be armed guards. It even went as far as to state three per campus would probably do the job. Sounds good on paper, gives vets a job they would most likely excel at and protects the children.
Let’s take a moment to look at the smallest school district in the Tucson valley, Tanque Verde School District. TVSD has only four schools, two elementary, one middle, and one high school. A bit of quick math tells us TVSD will get twelve armed veterans. How much will they get paid? The average teacher salary in Arizona is $46,000 a year. Using that as a starting point, that adds $138,000 to the budget. And don’t forget benefits.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tucson Unified School district has 89 schools. Hmmm… Eighty-nine times three, times 46,000 --- $12,282,000 in armed vets to protect the schools. Plus benefits. In just ONE district.
That’s, um, kinda expensive.
OK! Let’s arm the teachers.
Going back to TVSD, they have a faculty of forty-seven at the high school. A quick Google search states that a “decent 9mm” can be had for between $250-$400. For this we’ll say $300 per teacher. So TVSD is looking at $14,100 in guns. Guns are useless without ammunition so considering a box of 50 rounds is around $15 we are looking at another $700 to the cost. Hey, Tanque Verde High School can arm its teachers for just under $15,000, that’s a gonga. $60,000 for the district. Not too bad. (We’ll look at blowing up the training budget on a later date.)
Just one small little problem…
Doing another quick search on Google, we see that there was about 3.2 million full time teachers in the United States in the fall of 2017.
To the calculator!
Just for guns.
Add in another $48,000,000 for ammo.
Let that sink in a moment.
To arm America’s teachers.
In a nation that already has teachers buying basic classroom materials because the schools have no money.
Now, some of you I’m sure are saying hang on, some of those teachers probable already have guns. I agree. Let’s say two hundred thousand teachers already have guns, leaving us with just an even three million to arm. You know what? I’ll bet those freedom loving gun manufactures would give us a group rate on guns and ammo, right? How does $150 a gun and $10 for a box of 50 rounds sound?
It sounds like $480,000,000.
That’s a lot of zeros. It also does not count the part time teachers, of which there are many. And the training, which we are still ignoring for now.
Spend all this money and we still have a huge hole to plug. Armed guards and armed teachers do nothing to stop the accidental discharge of a gun that some 3rd grader has in his or her backpack.
Which is why more guns us only treating the symptoms, not the disease.
I used to teach at a school with a banner at the entrance that stated “Failure is not an option.”
This is amazingly wrong and I wish this nation would get over this poor idea.
Failure is not only an option, it is a necessity. Children need to fail. They need to trip, crash and burn, and fall while they still have the ability to bounce. This is not to say that parents shouldn’t try to protect their children, but they need to understand that failure is not the end. Failure is a beginning, a crucible that forges a strong mind and heart that is needed in order to thrive in the world.
Failure gives us the power to overcome and conquer.
Failure gives us empathy.
Failure keeps our ego in check.
Failure is a master teacher and it is better to learn its lessons early while life is still a game. To fear failure is to allow it to conquer us.
So parents, let your children stumble. Teachers, go ahead and use the red pen. Let them drift and then help pick up the pieces so they may trip again. And again. And again. To keep failure at bay underestimates a child’s ability to overcome. Continual blocking of failure will make the eventual failure that much harder to overcome when they run into it in an adult world that lacks the time or inclination to help those that give up because something is seen to be too hard.
So, the latest school outrage of the week is the girl that got tossed out of her desk by a police officer. I was trying to ignore it until I read that it was over a cell phone. Yes, a cell phone.
Now, before you start the chants of police brutality and all that, ask yourself a simple question -
How did it get to a point that an officer had to be called in to the classroom in the first place?
The student in question took out her phone during class. This is generally frowned upon in just about every classroom in the nation. Apparently the teacher asked for the phone. This is SOP in schools around the nation. The student refused, (again, SOP) and an administrator was called in. Rinse and repeat.
For those of you keeping score, this student has at this point broken a fairly standard class rule and has refused two attempts to hand over the phone.
So a cop gets called in and things get ugly.
Just to be clear I am in no way defending the cop, but this gets back to my original question – Why was an officer needed to settle something as petty as a cell phone dispute?
There are a few forces at work here.
All the student had to do was hand over the phone. She had more than one opportunity but instead doubled down on the thought of the ever falsely persecuted teenager – “I did nothing wrong!” Even better, she could have waited an hour until the end of class to pull out her phone.
few years ago I started working on a satirical work on education reform. I tabled the project at the time as it was simply making me far too angry and spiking my blood pressure. Sometimes ya just gots ta back off.
I came across some of my notes for this the other day and thought I would share theme here.
I give you (drum role please) the education glossary! Next time someone starts talking about education reform you now have a reference for what the hell they are talking about.
Accountability - a word that only applies to teachers.
AIMS - see Arizona's Instrument for Measuring Standards
Arizona's Instrument for Measuring Standards - Arizona's high stakes test, mandated by NCLB, to the tune of 12 to 17 million dollars. Depending on whom you ask. Each state has its own test with its own cute name. Also serves as a great way to cut about two weeks of instruction time out of the school year.
Benchmark assessment - quarterly version of AIMS. Benchmark tests are also a great way to cut around another week of instruction time. Because it is quarterly it totals up to around 4 weeks of lost instruction each school year.
Bubble sheet - the answer document used on test where students bubble in A, B, C, or D. Used most often on high stakes tests because they are cheap to grade and are well known for their lack of ability in testing higher order thinking skills.
Collaboration - the time when teachers are supposed to get together to discuss teaching practices and what works or does not work with particular shared students. This time is more often used by district administration to show power points in order to sell teachers on the flavor of the month.
Common Core - A widely discredited idea that was discovered by Bill Gates after sitting unused and unwanted for many years. It operates under the main idea that learning can be done on the industrial revolution model that puts raw material on one end of a line and pumps out identical widgets at the end of the line on a regular basis. See also - NCLB, No Child Left Behind, curriculum, flavor of the month
Corrective action - What happens when the school improvement plan fails. This involves the state firing all the teachers at a school and hiring new ones. The only problem with this is that by then the school has such a reputation that no experienced teacher will teach there so all the state can get are new, inexperienced, teachers
Curriculum - see flavor of the month
Data driven - Teachers should only make teaching decisions based on test data. Even if the data disproves the conclusion.
District assessment - See benchmark assessment (notice how it's kinda' like Eskimos and snow?)
Diploma mill – the high school version of social promotion. Positive version of Dropout factory. See also: social promotion.
Dropout factory – What high schools become to alleviate the overcrowding caused by social promotion. Negative version of Diploma mill. See also: Social promotion. (Important note! If you can convince a student to transfer before dropping out it does not count as a dropout!)
Flavor of the month - an all-new way to teach that will magically make all students superstars. Usually something re-packaged from 10 years ago with some new words and has a life span of about two to three years. Or until the next new superintendent or principal comes on board.
High stakes testing - any test that is pass/fail for graduation. See also - AIMS
IEP - Individual Education Plan A document written for each student in special education. States continually change the requirements for this document in order to deny funding to schools because the paperwork was not done correctly. The ultimate goal is to have a standardized Individual Education Plan that works for all students. (seriously, you can't make this stuff up folks)
Instructional coach - A teacher that has been taken out of the classroom to "coach" other teachers. In reality, nobody actually knows what this person does.
NCLB - see No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind - This federal education reform act turns schools into factories by forcing them to focus on numbers and timetables. see also - Common Core
Pacing calendar – A document that states when students should be learning a certain skill throughout his or her K-12 experience. see also - Common Core
Performance based pay - The idea that paying teachers based on how students take tests will suddenly draw super teachers. Just like bonuses keep all those great minds at work on Wall Street.
Performance objective - A long list of stuff that state politicians feel need to be taught at each grade level. Usually numbered for quick and easy reference. An example from the state of Arizona -
M10-S1C1-01 . Justify with examples the relation between the number system being used (natural numbers, whole numbers, integers, rational numbers and irrational numbers) and the question of whether or not an equation has a solution in that number system
Ping Pong student - an unfortunate by-product of school choice created by parents that refuse to admit they might have a part of their child's education. These parents move their children from school to school, often several times during a single school year always blaming the school for low grades and behavior problems. What these parents fail to realize is the constant school change makes the grades and behavior worse. The most extreme case of this saw a student withdraw and re-enroll in a twelve-hour period.
PO - see Performance Objective
School improvement plan - A plan that "helps" schools raise test scores by taking money out of the classroom and makes teachers and principals leave their schools and classrooms so that they may go to trainings and then meetings to tell the state what they will be doing to raise test scores. State officials are surprised when these incredibly helpful tactics somehow do not help bring up test scores.
Social promotion - The act of moving a student to the next grade even if that student has not completed the required work to move on. This happens most often in middle school and is driven largely by the need to show positive numbers and alleviate overcrowding in the elementary and middle schools. see also - Diploma mill, Dropout factory.
Student - What once was a human being that is being turned into a data point for the purposes of tracking and having a product to sell to the public.
Smart board - A 21st century version of the overhead projector. Unlike an overhead projector, it is interactive. Just like an overhead projector, it has a tendency to make students fall asleep.
Imagine a world where events that actually mean something and affect our daily lives gets as much ink as the air pressure in a ball used in a game does.
Type in “football air pressure” in your favorite search engine and you will get more than 6,000,000 hits. Many of them are more than happy to tell you what the exact official pressure is. Type in “deflate gate” and you will get over 600,000. Don’t worry if you are lazy, auto fill will take care of it for you after the first few letters. It has its own hashtag fer crist sake.
Try to find the percentage of voters in the last election… Let’s just say that yes, many many web sites will pop up but actual information is not so available.
An even better example of this weapon of mass distraction is here in my home state of Arizona. Everybody seems to be shocked that the newly elected governor, who ran on a platform of no taxes, took the budget ax to all the classrooms in the state within days of taking office. It amazes me that people were surprised by this action. But even more amazing is that these cuts in education dollars in a state that has already been told repeatedly by federal courts to pay millions owed to schools only got about two days of ink in the Arizona media.
Two days of stories about an issue that directly affects every man, woman, and child in the state. And that was only one or two stories each day.
Now we have deflate gate. Almost a week later and the internet is still ablaze about a ball used in a game that ultimately affects no one.
And people wonder why things are broken.
TURN OFF YOUR PHONES AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT MATTERS DAMNIT!!!
Over the last few days I have observed so many different examples of stupid it boggles the mind. From the woman that gave me a friendly wave after I almost T-boned her because she didn’t bother to look before pulling in to traffic to the McDonalds that had two parking spaces reserved for the drive through. Isn’t the point of a drive through to, ya know, drive through?
The topper however, the deepest, densest part of the fog of retardation has to be the email I received from tech support at a major educational publishing company. On top of the many grammar errors some of the directions this support person sent do not even work!
My personal favorite is this particular offering – “***** is are GED program accessed thru *****”
And apparently that possessive apostrophe is a tough concept as well.
This person actually works at a company that is writing and selling textbooks and classroom materials around the nation and they can’t even grasp basic grammar for cryin’ out loud. Not to mention the fact that they seem to think that all GED students are at the 12th grade level. If they were at the 12th grade level they wouldn’t be in GED classes would they?
The offending email, names have been removed to protect the guilty -
Thank you for contacting ******** Education Technical Support. I would be happy to assist you with your GED program. First I would like to verify that you are using ********? ******** is are GED program accessed thru ********. There is no adult setting, due to the GED program being 12th grade content. You are not able to delete student's once they are added in the system. However, you are able to remove their content. The student will not be able to access the book and it also free's up the book for you to be able to assign it to another student. If you click on the manage content link, you are then able to remove content by student name. You Do Not have to create a spread sheet every time you add new students. First click on the ******** content inside your ********. Then click on Manage and Assign. At the bottom of the screen you will see add students. For the help videos, please use internet explorer. You may need to clear you browsing history and cache.
If responding to this issue, please use the "Reply" button to ensure prompt processing of your question. If you need to call our team, please refer to case number ******.
Please submit new issues to ******** Education Technical Support through our website at: . In order to ensure a prompt response to your issue, please submit the form fully completed.
Mom pays off every student's balance Yahoo news
I've had enough of the outrage over stuff like this. For the last 15-20 years the battle cry has been "Run schools like a business."
You know what people? This is what that looks like. The schools are doing EXACTLY what the people have been telling them to do. Try ordering lunch at McDonalds and then don't pay for it. Any guesses as to what's going to happen to your Happy Meal?
Don't like all the tests your little angel has to take? Again, the majority of the people voted for them.
That bully "zero tolerance" principal suspends an 8 year old for pointing his finger and yelling bang. Think about that next time you go to vote for that board member that is going to "Clean up our schools".
"Those heartless bastards closed the school next door and now my precious has to ride the bus to a strange new school." Schools don't run on fairy dust and unicorn tears, so be sure to thank that no taxes starve the beast guy you voted for last election cycle.
It's all fun and games until it happens to your kid.
Step inside the mind of me.
Hi. Welcome to my little electron of the internet, where you will find random comments about whatever pops into my mind!