Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bash On Teachers Week

I went to bed last night at 9:00 and forgot to post, so I guess I'll do a twofer today. This week, Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett (insert singer joke here) declared that there would be no vouchers approved to schools that had to use snow days if their number of days in school totaled less than the legislated minimum 180 days. That was no big deal, but what he said following that was, according to the Indianapolis Star:
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett announced today that
the state would end the practice of letting schools cancel class because of
weather or for teacher training days without
making them up at the end of the year.

This caused an uproar in the comments section of the web version of the article, with people lashing out with such gems as:
If we are going to keep up in this Global Economy; year round school should have
been installed long before now. The ISTA would whine and grip; but most of us
work 12 months a year and are given raises based on performance (ie ISTEP
scores) not TENURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love that one. The uninformed public thinks that we're getting paid year round because we can elect to receive our checks spread out over a calendar year. Another fun one:
PLease dont let me hear anycrybabies out there about this 180 out of 365?
Less than half of the year .!

Never mind that that's what we are contracted and paid for; don't let a little arithmetic get in the way of your rant. When a teacher or two calmly explained the way paycheck distribution actually works, they were accused of complaining or crying. When the first attack is launched and someone explains why the entire premise of the attack is a mistake, I really don't think that's crying.

No one is really debating that snow days should be made up. The real argument is that the half days that teachers are in front of students while they spend the other half learning new teaching techniques at the behest of the school system, or coming back in the evening to meet with parents should somehow be unpaid time because we are salaried. Some citizens even went on to complain that most professionals do their company-mandated training on their own time. I would find that really hard to believe, given how often my wife was flown to various destinations during the workweek to attend conventions and conferences in her previous career as a food buyer.

This article was followed up in recent days by even more articles and vitriolic comments about teachers. Check out and search for Bennett. You'll see them all.

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