Greed, that’s the call of the absurd this week.
I’ve been called greedy several times this week as I questioned the motives and thoughts of some self proclaimed school reformers. I wear these ad hominen attacks as a badge of pride. You see, they’ve all come when these reform thugs are challenged on their views. When confronted with tough questions, it’s easier to lash out with name calling then to answer.
This week I’ve been called greedy by Neal McClusky, Associate Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, and Maureen Castriotta , Libertarian School Board member from Roxbury, NJ and candidate for Freeman.
They all think teachers are paid too much. Neither would commit to what they think a teacher should earn. Castriotta even believes the teachers in her own district, in which she is a Board member, are greedy. ( Castriotta is a board member who actively campaigns to defeat her own school budget presented by her board)
Castriotta, thinks public school teachers should be paid little and that they should look at teaching as a calling, a public service. She uses the example of good Catholic School teachers. When questioned whether teachers are professional by blogger, Jersey Jazzman, she refused to answer.
So am I greedy?
This is a second career for me, I went back to school at 40 years of age, earned a MA in Education, did my student teaching for a semester without pay, completed an additional 33+ credits of graduate work, obtained a professional certification in District Administration, and I’m beginning my 15th year of teaching. Over the last several years 100% of my students have been tested as being proficient at or above grade level. I love teaching.
I’ve also volunteered in numerous organizations in my community, covering senior citizens, business, youth and sports organizations.
I once was offered a teaching position in a Catholic School. The salary was $19,900. When I turned down the offer I explained to the good Sister that being a family man I just couldn’t pay my living expenses on that. She said I should look at it as a mission. I politely responded, then my community would have to start a mission to support my family. Was turning down that job greedy?
Is it greedy, to expect compensation that would allow me to pay my mortgage, help my children with their college loans, put food on the table? Is it greedy to expect compensation to cover a portion of my health insurance, that covered my heart attack several years ago, or is presently covering my wife’s chemotherapy? Is it greedy to work towards saving for the future and a pension that will cover some of my expenses in my upcoming golden years?
Is that greed?
I knew I wouldn’t become wealthy when I switched careers. I knew my life would be fulfilled with knowing I was helping children touch the future. To me that’s a wealth these so call reformers are blind to. All I ask in return is to be able to afford to care for my family, put some food on the table, and do what I do best teach.
Is that greed?
She doesn’t quite get it. First let’s understand I really didn’t care to engage on Twitter. She was responding to a Twitter storm over her outrageously offensive Wall Street Journal editorial.
First let me do something she failed to do, disclose.
I’m a fifth grade teacher in a small suburban district a stone throw from the NYC border. This is a second career for me and I’ll be entering my 15th year of teaching. I was a self employed architectural/interior designer for 20+ years. I have 3 children, all graduated from college. I’ve dabbled in local politics, and have spent a good part of my life working as a volunteer in my community. Most of that work was working with children.
I also have also have engaged in community activism and was instrumental winning a huge refund and rate decreases from one of the state’s largest private water supply company. I was also a driving force that instigated the public takeover of this private utility. In this case we went from privately owned to being owned by the community.
I voted for Obama and will vote for him again.
Being a male teacher in an elementary classroom presents very unique challenges. When accusations such as Brown’s surface it paints an ugly picture and we are all smeared with her wide brush.
She claims I’m ignorant, so let’s take a look at her editorial .
Let’s start with the headline she claims
She presents no evidence that teachers ever went to bat for sexual predators. No evidence at all. She cites 97 cases over 5 years , keep in mind there is over 80,000 teachers in NYC. Out of those 97 cases she cites 2 examples where she disagreed with the arbitrators decision. That’s just about 2% out of all those accused and .oo25% of all the teachers in NYC.
Yet her broad brush paints the union as rigging in favor of predators?
Brown fails to present any evidence at all that supports her claim that unions went to bat for any of these individuals.
Brown opines that a mutually agreed upon arbitrator is somehow skewed by the union. She feels the need to explain that the arbitrator would actually get paid. One wonders if she has a problem with anyone in education getting paid.
Brown advocates that the head of the school district should be the one to make a final decision not an independent arbitrator.
Brown also failed to contact the union for their side of the issue. Ms. Brown that’s Yellow Journalism !
There is not one teachers’ union in the country that would rig an arbitration of a sexual predator.
Do arbitrators make bad calls? Sure! The Supreme Court makes bad calls too! To allow the head of a district to make a final call on an accusation is wrong. District superintendents and chancellors are too easily influenced by public pressure. Mutually agreed upon arbitrators is the legal norm across the nation in our democratic society.
Her tweets over the last 2 days accuse teachers unions of not caring about predators. She claims the high ground and we all should follow. She provides no evidence to support her accusations and she demonstrates complete ignorance on the work unions have done on this issue.
Now Brown cries foul when we question her motives. We question her connection to the Romney campaign, and we question her connection to Rhee’s Students First campaign to destroy unions. When she fails to justify her motives she calls our concerns idiocy.
In case you are unaware Ms. Brown, NYS just passed anti-bullying legislation. We won’t let you bully us. We’ll call you out, expose the connections and demand the truth be told.
Ms.Brown made every male teacher’s job just a little bit harder for us. That we’ll never forget.