Thursday, June 12, 2014

Will the Vergara Case Make Us Rich?

By Special Guest Blogger Rolf M. Reformeo
I read the "tentative decision" in the Vergara case.  The concluding paragraph quoted my hero, Alexander Hamilton.  Having been so inspired, I will inform you of my "tentative decision" by introducing two more quotes of Mr. Hamilton:

"When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation."  And, "I think the first duty of society is justice."

Lend me your ear and listen to the relentless logic of my arguments for justice.  In the Vergara Case, Judge Treo pointed to BrownSerrano I and II, and Butt (p. 2) to justify the court's interference in the realm of education in the name of securing equality of educational experience.  I could not agree more that the "quality of  teaching is what matters most for students' development and learning in schools" (p. 7).  All sides confirmed that grossly ineffective teachers undermine the ability of students to succeed.  According to the evidence provided by Dr. Chetty based on his "massive study," a single year spent with a grossly ineffective teacher "costs students $1.4 million in lifetime earnings per classroom" (p.8).  These ineffective teachers who can only be removed by a "complex, time-consuming and expensive" procedure (p. 13) place a "disproportionate burden on poor and minority students" (p. 8).  

I propose a class(room) action suit.  So long as the statute of limitations has not passed, many people are due a heck of a lot of back pay.   I can recollect some pretty ineffective teachers in my past.  I met one years later and he apologized to me.  He had been undergoing cancer treatment and sapped of all his energy that year.  Oddly enough, he was my global history teacher and, now, I spend much of my life teaching the global history I never learned in his classroom to other students.  Oh, the irony of it all!  Imagine how much better I might be at teaching global history if he had been fired for suffering from cancer that year!  Society owes me something!

There was another teacher who was on the cusp of retirement.  He made sure to enjoy as many of his allowed absences as possible that year.  He was a teacher you didn't mess with though because he came to school with a gun in his briefcase.  He was my law teacher.  Although there was no regents for me to ace in his class, I finished with my only average of 100 in my whole high-school career.  I'm mighty glad I didn't have to argue grades with this gun-toting teacher!  But, imagine how much better I might have done if he'd only been fired (I don't mean his gun).

I'm sure you can remember many teachers who might have done a heck of a lot better by you.  Perhaps some were pregnant and left you stranded with a sub at the mid-year point.  Maybe they just should have been fired.  Why should we care if Mom and baby are put out in the street?

Stop and think about it.  If you had at least two bad teachers in your school career, thanks to Mr. Chetty, I can tell you that's $1.4 million per classroom for each year.  Let's imagine a crowded classroom of 34 students.  Now, that's $41,176.47 I am owed by the state for failing to provide me a spiffy teacher in just one classroom.  By the way, if my arithmetic is wrong, just blame my "grossly ineffective" math teacher, but realize you now owe me more in reparations!  Now, if I've had two such teachers, I'm not sure if the law of diminishing returns or the multiplier effect "kicks in."  Can you tell I had a great Economics IB teacher?  Regardless, I do have a feeling I'm going to be owed a heck of a lot of money.  Come to think of it, we're all owed that much and much more.  

So, join me in a class(room) action suit to reclaim all the earning potential that has been so unjustly stripped from us!  If we can only secure some of this money it might help offset the pension they intend to rob from us next!
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