In the early part of the last century the North Carolina legislature passed a law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Asked about this action a young Sam Erwin concluded that the one good thing about this action is that it “…absolves the monkeys of the jungle of any responsibility for the behavior of the human race in general, and the North Carolina Legislature in particular.” If the Republicans get by with their intentions in Raleigh, it won’t be the News and Observers fault ( “…lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too. Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through” ( THINGS HAVE CHANGED–BOB DYLAN). Lots of issues. I recently expressed my concerns about education and what’s going on with teachers. A retired highway patrolman said he had carried a gun his whole career, and his profession had often been neglected compared to N.C.teachers. I don’t question that profession and all they do and risk. Firemen, Policemen, and the Military. I did note later that he had retired at age 52. And that perhaps soon, wise teachers may want to carry a weapon also. School teachers have long been underpaid. Add integration and discipline problems and many good teachers, coaches, and administrators have abandoned education. If we continue to whittle away at this rate (abandoning tenure, cutting out aides, larger class sizes, no reward for increased education, no scholarships for talented future in-state teachers, larger classroom sizes, undermining the values of public schools and funding for them, etc.), who will fill the slots? Think for a minute. Fire Donald and hire Daffy? Who do you hire, Mr. Superintendent, or N.C.legislator, when no competent people will take the jobs? Haven’t we seen too many sorry people who gravitate to youngsters, if allowed. Who takes a job no one else will have? Aren’t some of the problems we have with tenure because we had to hire improperly vetted dregs. How can the proposed changes not make things horribly worse!
The old school tennis coaches will remember when we had to referee our own matches. Talk about a mess. Finally they funded one official. Often these people were retirees: Nice people who were underpaid but wanted to help. Pretty soon some of the young coaches who hadn’t witnessed matches minus a referee, took this as an opportunity to argue with these sometimes volunteers, or underpaid godsends. It wasn’t long before you couldn’t find an official. And those you got didn’t know an “unforced error” from most first marriages. It is time, North Carolina, to get up on your hind legs and stop this ruinous, dangerous bunch. PS. Two contemporary authors of note made comments that are related: 1. Pat Conroy from MY READING LIFE: “…if anyone knows a more important profession than teaching i wish they would let me know what it is before I die.” And 2. From Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS: Paraphrasing Mr. Gladwell’s “outlier” concerning education, he contends that the most important factor in education is that each individual child must have at an early age (pre-kindergarten) a loving person who reads to the child and conveys the importance of reading to that child.