Tuesday, August 21, 2007

For Love Not Money

It's the first day of school. My friend Rose has just gotten her teaching degree and is starting her career as a teacher. She's teaching English this year. We were talking about her upcoming work the other day and she was telling me about her class room and her ideas for different things throughout the year.

"I have to be creative to make it all work though," she told me, "But I can do it!"

"You're pretty clever... I have no doubts about your ability." I replied.

"Thanks, but that's not what I meant. I don't have a very big budget for the year, so I'll have to think of ways to make it work." she sounded tired.

"How big is your budget?" I asked.

"Forty dollars."

"Forty dollars? A month?"

"No. For the year."

This was the point at which I became incredibly irate and went on a tirade about how the government can spend billions of dollars on war, missiles, guns, bureaucratic nonsense, and all kinds of other WASTE... and our children are getting an education like this! I will spare you the details of my rant, as I am sure you get the picture.

$40 lousy bucks, for the year. In the presidents own home state of Texas. No child left behind... was he talking about no child left behind the platoon? A child who doesn't have the knowledge or understanding to change the direction of war and politics?

The fastest way to control a countries people is to stupefy them. Then the only people who have a good education are the leaders... and they only serve themselves. There are exceptions to the rule, but we've seen so many of those good, strong people be assassinated, they don't usually make it far enough to change what I would call a rapid decline in morality, education and the welfare of the people of this country.

I have suggested to her that she look for support in any form from local businesses and parents. But it leaves one wondering about the future of a country that does not support the education of it's children... the same children who will be running this country and caring for us when we are all old.

The seeds we sow today will determine the harvest we reap tomorrow. I shudder to think of it.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

44 comments:

Jon M said...

That's an incredibly mean budget! What does your friend have to buy with that? Then again, what could you buy with that? Interestingly, a recent survey in the uk revealed that teachers on average spend £50 (just short of $100)a month on their classes. And people here are whimpering about a pensions time bomb...governments make priorities, they can easily choose to look after the young and the old of their countries! Look you've got me going now!!! I hope your friend continues to work hard and be inspired!

Diana said...

Oh, I could rant on and on, too. My husband is a former teacher and now a principal. My dad's a retired teacher.

How do they do it on $40 a year? Simple. Almost all pay for stuff out of their own pockets. Usually hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Hell, as a teacher, Charles used buy breakfasts and lunches and even things like deoderant for his students as they didn't get them at home. As a principal, he buys other supplies and such, as well. There's a tax deduction or something like that for, I'm thinking, $250 for classroom supplies that educators can take at tax time, which helps a tiny bit.

It's all just so amazingly cheap and short-sighted.

c.s. said...

i'm a teacher and i speak for my country and my profession. we value education here, and that's why our mission is to mould the future of our nation. i'm glad this is brought up here, because many people, specifically parents, don't value education.

Minx said...

Don't start me, don't start me!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This is a very good post, and everything you say is true.

When I was teaching, the school district was so poor that parents had to pay for supplies that had formerly come out of school budgets, so this trend has been worsening for a long time.

I think it's a national disgrace that we spend so many billions on war machinery that there is nothing left over to educate our children.

Priorities are incredibly messed up in this country.

Alaleh said...

when i was teaching here in france a few years ago, our budget was a few hundreds a month. i am really astonished!

The Passionate Palate said...

You go sister! Rant on about this subject! This is important stuff. It is great to read the comments on this and realize that this is a subject that touches everyone, even if you are like me and don't have children. I have believed for a long time now that good education has been slowly being reseved for the elitists and the wealthy in this country, with our public schools lacking funding and the wealthy paying for private educations. As you said, certain powers that be have an interested in "stupefying" the general public in order to control us. Look at just how difficult it is to understand our complex ballot measures when we vote, or our health insurance policies. With the government making laws that are so confusing and complex and taking away education at the same time, it seems obvious what they are doing. Okay, now I am ranting, and I am also guilty for not doing something more about it. Why aren't we all outraged and taking to the streets? (Answer: Because ultimately more people are more "comfortable" at the moment than in almost any other time in history.) "But our future!" you say, and you are right. Our future is in danger. Sorry for going on so long.

exskindiver said...

oh my.
this was a great post.
i will send my sisters here.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Jon,

It is tough, but the government has it's own agenda, I think, and it does not include educating the youth of this country to an extent that they could become knowledgeable and productive adults. Someone has to mow the grass, work the drive-thru, and fight the wars don't they? Yah. Stations in life... controlling the masses.
She is resourceful, it will work. It has to.


Diana,

Short sighted, yes. The tough part about this particular case is that she's in Texas... and they are still regrouping from hurricane Rita... so things are still tough all over. They shouldn't be... but they are.


CS,

I can't tell you how many teachers have told me that just this month alone. Parents just don't care anymore.
I think our teachers are one of the most underappreciated resources that we have, the pay and benefits they receive in the states are pathetic... and they are the guides into whose hands we put our most precious gifts, our children and all of our futures.
Teachers should be lauded and compensated far more than they ever have been.


Minx,

Oh... it's started. Feel free to dive in dear lady.


Hearts,

You nailed it on the head. It is an enormous disgrace. A shameful and horrendous disgrace.


Alaleh,

Well that at least is something. I'm glad to hear that it isn't this bad everywhere. Children should be taught as much as they can be taught; and well, regardless of country or boundary, financial means or background.


Jeni,

No apologies, that was very well written. Excellently written.
I do what I can, but it isn't what should be done to change it. I send it campbells soup labels, box tops for education and anything else I can find from companies who support schools and education. The Upromise program is a good one, but it only helps the kids whose parents sign them up for it. What about the kids whose parents don't get it, or don't try to get it?
Left out in the cold.
Gang violence is on the rise, teen pregnancy, media and marketing promoting sex to children of younger and younger ages... little girls of 10 years old are wearing thong underwear now.
These are not merely flaws in parenting; that's only a small part of it. Education and social norms dictated by media and marketing = which are all based out of government, are the roots.

Rant on... maybe if enough people feel strongly about it, it will change.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Chesca,

Thank you, it's very important.


Scarlett & V.

Molly said...

You are so right. Our government has its priorities so skewed. My husband taught high school for three years after thirty years in the AF. The whole environment has changed. The monkeys are in charge now. No discipline, no back up for teachers from administration, and ,as you point out, teachers routinely dip deep into their own pockets to provide basic tools for the kids they teach. It's great when you light a fire under the occasional student, but when so many parents are so apathetic about education, when teachers are loaded down with bureaucratic b.s., when the government is too busy sending our young people off to get their brains blown out in the middle east, what's the use. We need major education reform. back to the basics, back to decent standards......Enough! Sorry for blathering on so.......

riseoutofme said...

And I thought OUR education grants were BAD .... we're absolutely rolling in it, compared to your friends school ...But enough people complaining to the powers that be did the trick here, so maybe now that Mr. Bush is for the high jump .... time to turn the screws????

Irrelephant said...

And what's further sad is that's a DAMNED HARD JOB. I spent three days as a high school teacher and threw up my hands in frustration. I was expected to put in 14 hour days at the school for $22K a month and all the stomach ulcers I could handle.

I went back to sales.

Dewey said...

I used to teach in a school that poor, and it's frustrating and sad. I bet anything your friend's classes are huge and that everyone there is overworked and underpaid, too. One of my friends, who was part of Teach for America, once posted a youtube video of an Oprah segment that showed kids from a poor school visiting kids from a rich school, and vice versa. It was a real eye opener for the people reading her blog. Maybe you can find it! My favorite part was when a girl from a rich school said to a girl from a poor school who was marveling over the P.E. facilities, "So, like, doesn't your school even have a cardio room??"

Kumonkey said...

you`re right when you say that we reap what we sow, and its an indication of near-sightedness at best, or outright manipulation at worse, when governments devalue education like that. maybe you`re onto it when you say its up to communities to get behind their schools. if they`re not helping you, you got to help yourself...

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Amen. Your rant expresses my sentiments exactly, particularly the part about how keeping the people uneducated is the easiest way to control them.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I agree with you a thousand percent about the shame of our misplaced priorities. However, having been a HS English teacher for five years (129 years ago), I assert money per se is not a solution. Passion and creativity are. As arrogant as it sounds, I believe I can teach writing skills to a class of kids with nothing more than some paper and pens.

Ally Bean said...

Yep to what you said and all the other comments. It's not right.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

$40! That's unbelievable. That's criminal. The education of a nation's children should be one of it's highest priorities - after all, it doesn't take rocket science to work out that children are our future and without an education what sort of future are we creating. Sadly, I've come to realise that the powers that be think only of themselves and only as far as today.
It's a travesty.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Molly,

I doubt I could have said it much better than that... AMEN sister.
I think you got it all in a nutshell.


Rise,

Well, we can hope. Maybe the next president will put our children and seniors before his pocketbook.


Irrelephant,

It IS a tough job. Especially when our youth today are being bombarded with media and marketing that teaches the boys that it's cool to be violent 'gangstas' and teaches the girls that their ultimate is to be sexy bitches for the guys. GRRRRRRR.
You bet it's tough.


Dewey,

Isn't that defining line crazy? It's like an enormous ravine that seems impassable... each side staring across the divide at the other with no way to reach it, connect it. Change it.
I'm sick about this. Gotta look for the video. Thanks for the tip.


Kumonkey,

Here's another stream for you... so we get the communities help, and then the kids learn early on that the government is not there for them, except to enlist and kill them... serve the country that didn't support and educate you... -I love the IDEA of America, and I love what it started out as, but what it is now is a far cry from that- but I digress... the kids learn their government won't be there to educate them... that we rely on community to do that, and when they become educators, they don't even go to the government, they continue to go to community; the government, once removed from it's responsibility will be almost impossible to bring back to it's task. Do you agree?


Scientista,

Think they're creating a subservient and obedient military? Or the citizens of the greatest country in the world? If it were the latter... wouldn't you think the government would be more concerned about education? Drop out rates? Teen pregnancies and marriages? Monetary support for higher education? Job placement?
Know what I've seen a TON of at every high school graduation and college open house I've ever been to? Military recruiters.
It's important to have a good defense, but if it's good, it shouldn't need to be used very often at all.
Those in charge of the country can't exploit the power and money if the citizens are smart enough to know what they're doing and stop them.


PK,

I have no doubts whatsoever about your ability, just as I have every confidence in Roses' ability to make do with what she can.
That's not the point.
The point is that she shouldn't have to. These are our children, our most precious blessing... our future. It makes no sense to me that we would not give them every benefit to ensure an excellent education. I don't understand why the government does not provide health care. I am confounded that it does not provide for our seniors.
It's about what should be done and isn't. It's about the fact that we all pay taxes to support a country that does not meet it's fiduciary obligation and responsibility to it's citizens.
Yes, you could teach with paper and pens.
But you shouldn't have to.
All of the kids in every school should have every resource they need to obtain an excellent education.
THAT is not a pie in the sky ideal. How many BILLIONS of dollars did Mr. Bush ask for to fund this war in his most recent request to congress? Of the several that he's already made?
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.


Ally,

It isn't right. But will it be fixed?


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Vanilla,

It is a criminal travesty. Makes me so sick.
How to change it? We have so many good minds here, wonder if we can come up with some solutions?

Thoughts anyone?

Scarlett & V.

Starshine said...

About the sowing and reaping...so true!

MyUtopia said...

A couple of my friends left there careers to get their teaching certificate. Now one is teaching science in grade 7 the other is teaching English to 11th graders.

Vesper said...

How true, Scarlett, and how sad. The governments' priorities are their own pockets.

somepinkflowers said...

$40.00 a year?

well,
how strange...
that was MY budget
when i was a school teacher
about 100 years ago [<--not quite 100 years, but you know what i mean...a LONG time ago]

go figure...

the *lawmakers* spend
more than that
on one lunch in my state...

talk about creative...
i learned how to make a gazillion things
with white paper plates,
cardboard toilet paper rolls,
and empty baby food jars...

to this day i can make anything
with those 3 things,
plus, scissors
and white Elmer's glue....

:-)

thanks for such a timely
and well written posting.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

That is outrageous!! Creativity is at the core of all things in life. It needs to be nutured and developed. We are talking about the ability to create in life whilst keeping us in our spirits. We dont need more people in the world who's spirits have been thwarted particularly children just because the government wouldnt allocated more money to allow them to enjoy and explore about there ability to create.
In my experience children run home excitedly showcasing art work not just maths equations.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

In addition, yes what would our governments do if we all knew how to create millions of dollars for ourselves??? Where would they be?

Catherine said...

That's an insanely low budget - but I think back to my most inspiring teachers, and really, they didn't need much. If it was science or art, then I'd be really horrified. for English, we had blackboards, we had the library, we had pens and paper, and that was about it.
OK, we should give the message that education is important. But I don't think we should teach children that materialism is the answer to everything.
(Oh, and a big lion roar from Florian to Viaggatore)

somepinkflowers said...

i *love* this soapbox
and keep coming back to read...

i *hate* that this $$$ thing
is still an issue in education
ANYWHERE in the world...

when there is not enough cash
for school supplies...

what message
does that give students
about the worth of an education?

what message
does that give teachers
about the value of their efforts?

what message
does that give parents
about the importance
the government places on educating?

it makes my heart hurt...

:-(

apprentice said...

Teachers and many other public sector workers are underpaid and undervalued. And we will have a crisis soon as the baby boomer generation bows out and fewer younger people want to do these highly satifying but underpaid jobs.

My husband works with mentally ill and all his colleagues are over 50.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I wonder sometimes if there isn't something else going on that is both devious and evil.

If we fail to educate our children well, they will be far more likely to go along docilely with government policies that they would surely dispute if they had been taught to think for themselves.

I don't like the word "conspiracy," because it is too often used to explain the inexplicable, but you really have to wonder.

Our children are being lobotomized without benefit of surgery. This is the stuff of Orwell novels.

Girl on the Run... said...

I so agree with you! $40 how can I teacher strectch that to cover anything that is really necessary for the kids. This world can be so backwards. Maybe as adults if we could all just step away and really be selfless most kids wouldn't have to suffer like they do. What kind of world are we going to have if we leave behind the kids???

So sad...
Thanks for stopping by blog. I am sorry I haven't gotten to yours sooner but glad I finally found my way.

All the best always,
M

chiefbiscuit said...

The govt in my country relies on the goodwill of its teachers - from early childhood on up. Without that goodwill there would be no Saturday school-kids sport, theatre productions, even, sometimes, clean toilets (etc. etc.)

gautami tripathy said...

It is like this in India too. Who cares for education anyways?

I am mad as hell!!!

Kat said...

My daughter, who teaches kindergarten in a very well respected district, spends $80 to $100 a month of her own money just keeping her classroom in the basics like scissors, crayons and books. We fight curriculum horrors, funding horrors...our country is in serious trouble when it comes to how we're supporting our schools.

Meloney Lemon said...

The rot's already set in. Those responsible for the school being run as a business obviously had a poor education themselves.

sognatrice said...

That is so ridiculous. Honestly, what could possibly be more important than funding our children's education? Unfortunately Italy isn't much better--and here the parents have to supply/pay for pretty much everything, including textbooks. Very sad.

Pearl said...

yes, teachers need resourcefulness alright, entrepreneurial spirit to scratch, scrape, beg, borrow or make materials and opportunities. It's a bizarre state.

colleen said...

It reminds me when Reagan tried to pass ketchup of for a vegetable on the school lunch menu in order to save money. I wouldn't mind as much if the wars they spent money on were necessary. This one could be the biggest farce in history.

Jon M said...

Where's the Scarlett? we missing you!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Starshine,

What seeds are we sowing? What fruit will these trees bear?


Kelly,

Good teachers are worth their weight in platinum aren't they?


Vesper,

Truth hurts, doesn't it? I am so angry and disgusted about it. Bottomless pockets through which funds travel one way.


Pink Flowers,

So this ridiculousness is not new. Humph. I hadn't realized it had been going on for so long.
I do love the creativity of teachers... glue and plates and popsicle sticks... so much fun!
I bet you were a great teacher. If you have another class let me know, I am IN!


Cleo,

All very good points. Where would we be? We will never know. We'll never get to a point where we find out because those in charge will not relinquish what they deem to be so important (power/control), and if one would try to take it from them, what makes that taker any different than those already in charge?


Catherine,

I agree, those simple things are good. Materialism is a nasty thing and there's already too much of it. I would be glad to see better resources that the kids could use to learn, educational field trips, updated libraries, those kind of things. Maybe someday that will be the norm.


SPF,

Ouch. Truth does hurt.


Apprentice,

That is the future we are creating for ourselves. Along with an earth that will not support it. I hope that somehow it changes, before it's too late.


Hearts,

I agree one thousand percent. Well said.


Girl on the run,

We will have a world in which there are two classes, those in charge and those who serve.
Much like it used to be, before the lower classes began to be educated. Ever heard that term, history repeats itself?


Chief,

That's so frustrating! Our children are the most precious gift we have, and our future is ours to make... why do we choose to make it less than what it could be?


Gautami,

GOOD--- because that's when things change. When enough people get mad.


Kat,

I quite agree. Inflation somehow misses the teachers budget... but not the products. It's enough to make one sick with disbelief.


Melony,

Well... I think it's not all that, perhaps they have questionable ethics and morals.
Maybe they learned greed and selfishness when they should have learned compassion and selflessness.


Sognatrice,

This problem appears to be timeless and without borders. Great.
Well thank God for good teachers then.


Pearl,

Pretty sad when the one making the most effort is the teacher. I do patronize those companies that help schools; Campbells soup labels and cereal boxtops for education are both ways to help out a little.
Pretty sad when private companies are doing the work that should be done by the government.


Colleen,

I believe you've nailed it on the head. I wish it was all about people. I wish it was to make the world a better place. The core reasons for this war are not related to these things, I think.


Jon,

I am here! I am here... barely... but I am here. I is missing all of you too! So much.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore (with a roar to Florian too, and all the lions who come by to visit!)

leslie said...

Eastcoastdweller sent me here, and said you would appreciate my drawing, "The Guardian", of a Lion.
Your teacher might be able to use it, too.

http://www.lesliehawes.com/wordpress/?p=601

I don't know what grade she is teaching, but the book, "The Chronicles of Narnia" would go along with this picture.
Wish her the best.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Leslie,

Your artwork is just stunning, so lovely.
I must add you to my blogroll, as I will certainly be visiting you as often as possible!

Thanks for coming by!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

sarala said...

Don't get me going about No Child Left Behind. I like your image of where we are truly putting the children!
I've always liked that bumper sticker about the military doing bake sales and the schools being fully funded. True justice.
Keep on ranting!