Monday, June 25, 2012

A Vision

One of my daughter's friends, now 17, got a summer job working at IHOP. She was really excited. We went there a few weeks ago and were pretty happy to see a nice kid like her had gotten a job. Daughter was jealous, but at 16, they wouldn't hire her.

A few days ago, my wife saw this girl walking home in her IHOP uniform, and stopped to pick her up. Apparently, the folks at work felt they didn't need her that day. So, after she'd walked a half-hour to work there, they just sent her home, saving whatever pittance they'd have paid her for the day. They must have been too busy to give her a call so she wouldn't waste her time like that. Of course, if they were really busy, why the heck did they send her home?

I don't think I'll be going back there anytime soon, however good the pancakes may be. And I'm pretty sure that even one visit from my little family would more than pay the girl's daily salary, so IHOP is not profiting much from this move. But that's not really my point.

What is? Well, more and more we're accepting the unimaginable. Years ago the UFT went on strike because 19 teachers were involuntarily transferred. Now almost a thousand teachers wander week to week like gypsies and it's sanctioned by our contract. Now we're looking at being judged by methods that are utterly unreliable, flat earth, nonsensical, and the debate with the union is whether it's 20% crap or 40% crap. Actually, the precise amount of crap necessary to evaluate a teacher, or anyone, is zero.

And now there's a shield, supposedly to protect us, so only parents can see our evaluations. Problem is twofold. One--parents will not be aware how much crap the evaluation entails, and may assume it's zero. That will almost certainly be their assumption if they're reading the papers. Second, there's simply no way we will be able to keep parents and the press from attaching names to the public evaluations. They will likely show up on both the net and the tabloids, perhaps even in the Times, whose editorial board likes us about as much as Rupert Murdoch does.

Of course now, no one imagines going to work and being told, "Go home. The kids don't need any more English today." But if this could save money that could go to important things, like the salaries of Eva Moskowitz or Geoffrey Canada, or more importantly, reducing the tax bill of Steve Forbes, it's tough to imagine "reformers" failing to suggest it in a few years, as yet another way to put "children first."

Unless, of course, we get the truth out, and stop them in their tracks.
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