December 9, 2008

Reply to Joslin

Justin Katz

As East Bay scribe can attest who's spent a late-night hour or two trimming words and sentences from a letter to make it of acceptable length, the Sakonnet Times has a 500-word limit on missives. Yet, by the time Richard Joslin got around, last week, to challenging Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC) to "prove they care about Tiverton's children," the paper could have printed both his introductory reminiscences of his own childhood and a letter that I'd written explaining why public officials should define "fairness" from a budgetary standpoint, not a union one. As it was, Mr. Joslin's diatribe rambled on for 908 words, and my letter disappeared into cyberspace.

In the light of Joslin's assault, a pillar of erroneous thought is starkly observable: Both he and young Caitlin Alexandra, whose letter appears just behind his, gauge concern for education in terms of teachers' remuneration. This despite the fact that a higher percentage of Tiverton's per-pupil costs already go to teachers than is true for the state overall. Indeed, Joslin positions "oust[ing] the teachers' union" as an unthinkable option following cuts to "programs in sports, advanced placement, language, music, art and more" that have already been made.

Personally, I happen to believe ousting the unions to be a prerequisite for improving both Rhode Island's educational system and its economic viability. Surely neither has sunny prospects as long as teachers absorb more and more of our education dollars, continuing to cost us programs that might keep RI parents from having to sacrifice for private school (which they do more frequently than parents of most other states). One mustn't forget, by the way, that the loss of programs will tend to mean the immolation of teachers whose jobs depend on them.

So, although I can speak only on my own behalf, I say, yes, let's "break the teachers' union" --- and use the savings to reinvigorate sports, advanced placement, language, and music programs (and more). Perhaps the crossing of that rubicon will give Ms. Alexandra cause to consider Tiverton a superior place to raise her "potential family" than some "small developing communit[y] in the south of Africa." Perhaps, too, the political loss will motivate Mr. Joslin to examine the roots of his hatred and anger and give him something for which to be truly thankful during this season next year.


I see this letter made it onto the Sakonnet Times Web site, as did one by TCC President Dave Nelson. Now comes the interesting new game of waiting to see what gets into print.

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Can you post the link to the letter you wrote that was not posted (or is it already on AR?)?

Posted by: thinkaboutit at December 9, 2008 11:51 AM

Can you post the link to the letter you wrote that was not posted (or is it already on AR?)?

Posted by: thinkaboutit at December 9, 2008 11:53 AM

It really drives me nuts how these teachers are able to brainwash the kids for their own needs.

When I went to vote in the presidential election last month at my local elementary school, there were displays on the wall from a 4th grade class where the students drew pictures of the candidates and wrote 5 "facts" about each candidate. Some of the "facts" that I saw were interesting.

For McCain: "He's old". Ok, fair enough, these are 8 year olds, I can deal with that.

For Obama: "He's the first African American to run for president" That's not really a "fact". I get the idea, but he's the first to win a major party's nomination. There have been others who have run.

And then there was for Obama:
"He will improve education and offer proper help to the better teachers."

Hmm, now where did a student in the class who came up with McCain's "he's old" come up with that statement about Obama?

And my babysitter has two children in the school, a 3rd and 2nd grader, and those kids came home with "facts" about each of the candidates that the teacher told them.

The teachers aren't dumb. They know that many parents don't have a clue about who to vote for, and since it's all about name recognition, put the names of the favored school committee candidates in the kids' heads, or council, or state seats. The kid goes home, mentions that their teacher talked about candidate X, Y, Z, and that's the name their nice teacher recommended.

What ever happened to simply teaching the three Rs?

Posted by: Patrick at December 9, 2008 12:43 PM

I just read Miss Alexandra's letter. I can't say enough how much it makes my blood boil when college students want to protest something and get all upset about wanting to just give people more money. More of the taxpayers' money. From money that they contribute little to nothing into. Sure, her parents probably contribute to what will go to the teachers, but she hasn't had to pay thousands into the system herself and then stay abreast on the discussions. It sure sounds like she's a former THS student who's been away at college, just came back and read about the discussions, may have even gone back to the school and talked with teachers who told her how cold the taxpayers and SC are being and she was outraged.

Yeah, give away the store! Give the teachers everything they want! Budgets and income be damned! I don't care, I don't pay the bill, I'm away at college getting blitzed on a Saturday night.

And based on some of her grammar, it doesn't seem as though the Tiverton school system was all that good to begin with.

Posted by: James L at December 9, 2008 12:53 PM

James L,

Exactly, give teachers everything they want and then watch (laugh maybe?) the senior citizens lose their homes.

I suspect this person you're referring to is merely doing what she was taught to do in public schools her whole life: submit to authority without question like Lemmings.

That's what our public school system does. Public school is not oriented towards creating rational, critical thinkers, it's oriented towards creating sheep, who will pay their taxes. I encourage everyone who doesn't believe this to read "The Leipzig Connection". It's a short, but alarming read.

Posted by: Rasputin at December 9, 2008 2:30 PM

Well, a lot of "those who can't" ARE pretty dumb, but their leaders certainly aren't.
Those decent people who support the continuation of the communist, atheist, pedophile infested NEA/AFT "public" schools may also be classified by that adjective.

Posted by: Mike at December 9, 2008 7:19 PM

Here is a novel idea:

1) Let's have a Right to Work state.

2) Pass legislation that disallows Compensation and Benefits from any Public Employee Union contract negotiations. Only work conditions can be negotiated. Let the cities and towns set the pay rates that they can afford and let the teachers decide, as individuals (scary thing for a flock of mindless sheep) whether they want to stay on the job or leave (not sure where they'd leave to).

Think our "professionals" would be willing to let the Free Market determine their worth, or will they continue with the chicken-crap Union extortion tactics?

Posted by: George Elbow at December 9, 2008 8:01 PM
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