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Nothing says "you do good work" like cold, hard cash

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Rumored sighting of Catholic-girl liberation. An early-morning phone call promised that if I high-tailed it up 281, I'd be rewarded with a graduation hijink: a sign at Incarnate Word High School announcing that Seniors '08 are busting out all over and covered in brassieres. But it was either a fever dream (a former Catholic high-schooler, I'll vouch that it's a dream that could easily come true) or the administration was on it like CPS on nukes (although there may be a slight shift in the winds there; check Curblog for a Harman post later today).

Reading, Writing, Dissembling
Speaking of school, I'm just barely old enough to have attended elementary before it got so touchy-feely, and before what I like to think of as the teacher-validation industry sprung up (or is it just that parents are a lot more boring than we used to be so we actually need eight beginning-orchestra concerts a year to have a social life?). This morning's irritating example: Our youngest kiddos were required to write teacher-appreciation notes for the culmination of Teacher Appreciation Week. It doesn't take a philosophy major to figure out that 20 forced notes from everyone = 0 actual notes of appreciation.

This isn't an anti-teacher tirade, by the way. I simply submit to you that if we paid teachers more in line with the actual skill and commitment required, we wouldn't need to gin up "teacher appreciation week," and in effect teach our kids to substitute disingenuousness for real compensation (or as Liz Phair put it, "It's nice to be liked, but it's better by far to get paid.")
Who else do we have special appreciation days for? That's right: secretaries/receptionists -- also generally underpaid and under-respected. I can't recall the last time we had "CEO Appreciation Day" at my office. (Who would want to be in charge of ferrying all those notes out to the private jet anyway? I guess we could just tuck them into the cases of champagne ... just kidding, of course. Our CEOs are more the yacht type.)

In any event, it put me in mind of this recent blog post from Capitol Annex.

More Than Twenty Fice Percent Of Texas Teachers Work Two Jobs
by Vince Leibowitz

Everyone in Texas knows that teacher pay in Texas has been historically low. Thus, it should come as no surprise that more than 25 percent of all Texas teachers must have a second job to pay their bills and survive–not to mention that 44 percent of teachers are seriously considering another profession, according to a new survey by the Texas State Teacher’s Association, mentioned in the Statesman.


What I'm saying is: Sure, thank-you notes in an 8-year-old's best penmanship are nice, but CPS won't accept them as payment.
Read the full post here


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