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No wonder teachers have a tough job today
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I read L. H. McAllister’s letter, in Wednesday’s Bulletin, twice.  It is quite an eye opener.  I now have a much better idea of what the problems are with the schools.  It isn’t about education at all!  If the teachers were free to do their primary jobs which are education, that purpose would be far better served.

I’m amazed at all the non-educational requirements and duties which are foisted upon our ridiculously underpaid teachers!  Behavioral, cultural, domestic, health, criminal, etc.  It’s no wonder that the outcome has become more and more diminished over the last 30-40 years!  It’s actually quite amazing that the quality of public education isn’t even more degenerated considering all the extraneous distractions which burden our teachers today.  

My 4th grade teacher Miss Hildebrandt thought she had it rough handling boys that sometimes towered over her!  But when she sent a note home there was usually a father there to do the disciplinary heavy lifting.  She couldn’t even imagine in her worst dreams what the job of elementary teacher would become.  Add to this the misuse and outright squandering of public funds and the picture pulls into sharp focus.  The problem will have to be addressed more broadly as a whole, instead of piecemeal.  There are systemic issues regarding money which will have to be rectified above and beyond the school board!  It is ridiculously unfair to cut the salaries of small workers, and even lay them off, when the rich just keep on being rich.  This is still, notwithstanding current affairs, the richest country in the world which has made and is making other countries very wealthy indeed.  Where would China be without all the American chartered corporations that have seen fit to move operations there (not to mention the massive if imprudent borrowing which has been authorized)?  

We must make the rich carry a larger share of the burden; particularly in view of the fact that it is their greedy policies which have created every crash, panic, recession and depression in the history of this country.  The PR people are working overtime convincing everyone that “we’re all in this together” and that we “all” have to “sacrifice”.  So be it.  If a small worker or a teacher has to have a 5-10 % pay reduction so too must the rich.  And by rich I don’t mean just the upper-middle class like Superintendent Messer, I mean the lower-upper and upper classes which count their income in hundreds of millions and billions (much of it untaxed)!  There is wealth beyond imagination in this country, and we don’t have far to look in finding it; consider the most profitable enterprises right here in Manteca and nearby; also the millions in gifts and advantages which are justified because the tax-base is being broadened (pity that there won’t be much free-wheeling spending to serve this justification in the near future).

 A good rule of thumb to use in disastrous times like these is to consider who is benefiting from the currently prevailing situation?  And not only are they benefiting but they aren’t or haven’t yet been indicted for their crimes!  Only Madoff has gone to prison.  What about high level banking executives whose excess started the ball rolling?  And what about the government representatives who were and are responsible for regulating banking?  They’re either incompetent or in collusion.  There is no such thing as saying “Sorry I made a mistake” at that level; and particularly when your so-called “mistake” has profited you and your friends lugubriously!  There was a time when they would all be asked for their resignations pending indictment.  Fortunately these fat cats can’t run very fast or very far, there’s plenty of time to get them.  Even Timmy Geithner and the rest of the fast talking crew in the White House will eventually be held accountable.  That’s the beauty of this country, it is all in the history books and anyone can find out who did what to whom and when.  None of the scandals have broken the USA yet and believe me children, there have been worse, far worse, than what we face today!  Ask your teacher about the Credit Mobilier or about “Jubilee Jim” Fisk and Jay Gould who were stealing with impunity on Wall Street when a dollar was gold; their conspiracy reached the U.S. Treasury and the White House.  All they have ever accomplished is to show the world what they are and what their God is.  But I digress.

To save our schools we must eliminate any and all non-educational functions as detailed in the McAllister letter. If this requires forming another agency to fill the void left by dysfunctional families, so be it; but the schools must no longer be distracted from their primary educational purpose; and our teachers must be free to teach and be held in esteem as teachers while the non-educational various and sundry incidents are handled outside the classroom by others.
 Steven J. Catalano
April 1, 2009