The following is in response to Diane Ravitch’s “Is It Really “All About the Kids?” on June 13th:
It is a pitiful sight indeed to witness schools closing across the country and teachers fired for failing in their duties. We corporate reformers have opportunistically stepped in to fill the holes with our charter programs, but we have also found a common thread in ALL of our failing schools: they contain teachers who have families, lives separate from school, and paychecks rendering them independent members of society. This trend runs counter to progress. As long as teachers have percentages of their time and money diverted from education, they can and should be held accountable for it. The ones who do sacrifice everything, on the other hand, should be held up as our exemplars. New York state assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo put it this way:
Those teachers that [sic] are responsible and are doing their job, those teachers that [sic] sacrifice their families and themselves for the children they serve are going to be protected. Those that [sic] are not good, better get a job at McDonalds…..”
Therefore I humbly suggest we require public school teachers to live without families, in education monasteries of sorts. This will help them maintain focus on the students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, to ease the tax burden of establishing these living centers, we could use the empty failed schools we’re leaving behind as domiciles. As recent swollen classroom sizes have demonstrated, each room (no matter how small) may legally house 35 students for a 7 hour period; using bunk beds, we could lodge 50 or more persons in each room easily.
A second, more practical way to help teachers focus would be to eliminate salaries for public school teachers. As Alabama state senator Shadrack McGill so famously pointed out, increasing teacher salaries only attracts people to the profession who are not called to teach. Therefore in this time of crisis, we must ensure only the best teachers work in our schools by taking monetary compensation off the table entirely. Assuming the average teacher salary is $50,000, with a conservative estimate of public school teachers at 3 million, the state would save $150 billion PER YEAR by converting the public school teacher workforce into unpaid, involuntary laborers. The legal workaround for this would be to pay teachers minimum wage, then have the media shame their greed relentlessly until they donate it back to private charities- like charter schools!
This change is likely to provoke complaints from some of our more reactionary teacher unions. Therefore we’ll have to remove them from their families and physically attract them to the monasteries under cover of darkness, probably while they are sleeping. Once the wars abroad are resolved, there should be sufficient military personnel to carry this out quickly, if coordinated in an effective manner. Once the teachers are on site, we’ll also want to implement a strict system of cameras and ankle lock GPS devices, to hold them accountable for the work they’re doing for the children. Again, it cannot be emphasized enough: these measures are strictly for the children.
Since the teachers will no longer be motivated by monetary compensation, our lodging center security personnel may need to use raised voices and physical cues to keep them focused on the mission at hand. These methods may not be the most comfortable tasks for our security personnel, but the teachers have shown us it is necessary for our school systems to improve. For years we’ve tried allowing teachers private lives and financial autonomy, and for all those years it has not worked. Data collected by our corporate testing department proves it. It is time we took the necessary steps to save the American education system from those who have been working on it for so long. It just makes good business sense.