Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Governator Offers New Solution to Overcrowded California Schools

(California School News, Ltd.) - SACRAMENTO 01 APRIL 2007

Emboldened by his recent court victory to allow the transfer of California prison convicts to cheaper prison facilities in nearby states, Gov. Schwarzenegger announced today his new plan to reduce crowding in California Public Schools by transferring students to less crowded, cheaper schools in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Mexico.

"This will save the taxpayers of California millions of dollars," the Governor said today. "This is ah victory for the taxpayers who will save money by paying less for public education of many California children currently trapped in large, over-administrated, insensitive, dangerous, low scoring, delapated, understaffed, poorly supplied decrepit California Public Schools.

The Governor's Deputy of California Economic Statistics, Evert Speer, supplied reporters with a crudely drawn diagram of the large savings possible for California taxpayers. According to this photocopied diagram, California spends an average of $7,000 dollars per year per student in public schools, while Arizona, Nevada and Oregon spent, on average, 30% less per student. "Even with paying a small stipend to feed and house our students in their new schools, California will save significant money," the Governor declared.

When asked about the proposed separation of parent and child, the Governor delcared that, "this will not make any difference. Too many parents of California rarely see their kids anyhow," the Governor said. "Parent is too busy working two or three jobs or stuck in traffic or pursuing their own hedonistic interests to have time to see much of their children. In fact, this proposal might save some parents money for feeding their kids, paying for video games, clothes and other stuff parents have to spend money on, because those expenses will not be there for the family. Some parents might be able to quit one of their jobs and spend more money on themselves, thus helping the economy of California."

When asked what will happen to all the money saved by the state, Governor Schwarzenegger said, "Let me let you hear it from the people who spend the money of California, our State Legislature. Here is Mz Dumphry from the State Legislature." With that, the Governor sat back and lit up a large Cuban cigar.

The State Legislature spokeswoman at this press conference, Ms Beverly Dumphry, beemed when she spoke to reporters about how the California Legislature Majority was already busy drawing up new spending programs to take advantage of this upcoming win fall in tax money. "Many of the projects that our dedicated lawmakers of our state have had on the back burner for years may now become reality," she said with a huge smile on her face. When asked just what the lawmakers had in mind, Ms. Dumphry thought for a moment, scanned a prepared list and said, "The projects which our lawmakers have in mind include raise the minimum wage to at least $15.00/hour, providing state assistance for long-term labor visitors ( illegal immigrants - editor) with housing, learning English, health care and obtaining real drivers licences, increasing public assistance benefits, building new luxury housing in Sacramento for our lawmakers to use while conducting the states business, leasing a new fleet of state vehicles for legislative use, and of course, implementing some of the wonderful projects as suggested by their contributors".

Neither the new President of the California Teachers Association, David Sanchez or Past President of CTA Barbara Kerr was available for comment regarding the teachers opinion of this startling proposal by Governor Schwartzeneggar. An official CTA spokesmanorwoman said that they were both attending the National Teacher's Association "New and Past State Presidents Council" meeting on the island of Bora Bora, and wouldn't be back for a month or so.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Life on a Teacher's Salary

What is your life like on a teacher's salary ? Mike at "Education in Texas" ( see my blogroll for his interesting blog) posted an interesting post, "How Much Are You Really Making?" about the economic reality of having a teacher in the family. Ms.Cornelia recently commented in her blog that to move back to her "ancestral homeland in the US mid-west, she'd take a $30,000/year pay cut! ( see my blogroll for her great blog! ) I have been teaching here in California for nearly 20 years, and if I was just entering the state, even at my current salary, I could not afford to have a house for my family.

Fortunately, because of my length of service and education, I earn enough that we do have a house in a decent neighborhood and for the most part, my wife is a stay at home mother for our sons. We also live in about the only part of California where this is possible due to the lower cost of housing in this locality, at least when we bought our house almost five years ago just prior to a big jump in housing costs in California.

We don't live "high on the hog", and I have had no meaningful pay raises in five years or so.....due to the ever increasing cost of our health insurance and teaching in a district where they refuse to negotiate an increase in the amount paid by the district towards health insurance. We (the teachers of my district), were also screwed out of $4-5,000 dollars recently due to union blundering and school district administrative apathy regarding an insurance pool we were part of.

We don't take long or expensive vacations and we drive vehicles that were new in 1996 and 1998. Our costs for electricity, water, sewage services and garbage collection have at least doubled over the past five years. And as you know, the price of gasoline has gone up considerably over the past four years ( today's price for regular unleaded at our cheap gas station was $3.27.9 a gallon ) If I was teaching any place else, I wouldn't be teaching to support my family because I could not earn enough teaching to support my family.

YES, my family is better off than many working class families. But in terms of salary for professional people with similar levels of education and job experience, I am, as a teacher, far below their salaries. I guess the message being sent by society is that teachers are just better educated blue collar workers who will not be regarded or paid as educated professionals.

Perhaps someday, we'll hear a new version of an old folk song;

Where did all the teachers go?

Long Time passing.

Where did all the teachers go?

gone to retirement, everyone.

Where have all the teachers gone?

No one wants to do anymore.

Can't make a living, or live on dreams,

Where have all the teachers gone ?

( My apologies for butchering the above classic folk song )

Thanks for reading my blog. Leave a comment to let us know whats on your mind.

Monday, March 26, 2007

YOU are not included. or Wanted.....!

Today at my school site, we received notice from the local CTA Uniserve office that there would be elections in May for our area CTA State Council Representatives. The election will be for a Representative, alternative representative, member-at- large and alternative member-at-large. I looked over the application form for those who wish to be a member from this area (in Southern California) to the CTA State Council......and I am not eligible as per CTA Rules !

Why ? Because I am NOT what CTA calls a "minority" The CTA State Assembly Member-at-large representatives can only be a "minority". Dispite the fact that I pay over $900 annually in union dues, (of which over $700. goes to CTA), CTA is officially forbidding me from seeking a position as a "member-at-large" Representative to their state assembly! I am a male teacher, doesn't that make me a "minority"? I live in a county in Southern California that is 85-90% Hispanic; doesn't that make me a "minority"? No. CTA says that because my ancestors are white people from Europe, I am not a "minority".

CTA and their parental unit, the NEA spout off about equality and fairness, and this is what I get ?????

Thanks for reading my blog! Express your opinion by leaving a comment! I won't suppress your comment because you are not a male, female, of non-European ancestry, gay, transgender, penta-gendered, tall, short, skinny, fat, wearing glasses or contact lenses, a member of any religious group, a participant in any hobby or weather you drive a foreign or domestically manufactured car, a member of any social club, a fan of opera or Oprah, a country-western line dancer or a heavy metal head-banger, or someone who reads romance novels or super market tabloids. Oh, and I don't care what part of the country you live in either. ALL are welcome to comment here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

UPDATE to previous Blog post.....

I recently blogged about the juvenile courts in the "big metropolitan" areas sending gang bangers to rural schools instead of to jail where they belong.

I was amazed to hear today, from a retired teacher who "helps" out at our local alternative high school, that the two gang bangers who set fire to one of our local high schools were placed at the alternative high school, pending expulsion ! And since their arrival at the alternative high school, they have been involved in several fights and other disruptive behaviors !

Why are these two criminals not in jail?????? I can't believe they would be released from custody prior to their court date for what I always thought was a major felony, arson. But no, they just shipped them to another school! Incredible!

And the high school they tried to torch is one that my boys might attend.......S--T !

IMO, district officials who allowed this should be fired. The juvenile court people responsible for such bleeding heart treatment of these thugs should be fired. The editors of our local bird-cage liner should be shamed out of journalism for their failure to follow up on this story and for their failure to launch a journalistic campaign or series of investigative reports about the condition of our local schools and those who administrate them. But, the local editors are really fast to bash the teachers who are trying to teach these kids. ( the county in which I reside and teach is at least 85% "minority/recent illiterate immigrants and is at the bottom of all California Counties for economic stuff )

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you leave a comment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Da'ya Think ?

"You have a wonderful child. Then, when he's 13, gremlins carry him away and leave in his place a stranger who gives you not a moments peace....You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlims return your child, and he will be wonderful again." ( attributed to American actress Jill Eikenberry )

I laughed when I saw this quote in a book I was distracted by while cleaning up, tidying up, ok....rearranging "stuff" in my study. I just had conversations with parents this week of seventh graders in which the parents were bemoaning the "changes" in attitude, et al., of that "wonderful child" to some "gremlin possessed" creature resembling their child. That creature that has lost their hearing, only seems able to speak coherently to someone on the telephone, who stares blankly when asked about things like 'homework', and who seem to only want to associate and roam with a pack of others like themselves. Happens every year, without fail. Those of you who teach middle school/junior high know just what I'm talking about.

Thanks for reading my blog. Leave a comment if you like.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do the courts do this to your community?

Over the years, teaching in what was a small, rural agriculture-based community in California, I have had several students enter my junior high school classroom who had been "sent here" by a court of law.

These students have not been sent here because of issues such as divorce, child abuse, and such, but sent here by courts of law in the Los Angeles area or San Diego area, in order to remove them from the criminal environment which got these "young people" involved in court of law to begin with. In short, they are either placed with some relative or into a group home to get them away from their gang banging buddies in LA or San Diego.

These students usually are academically far behind. They have an attitude. They don't wanna be here. However, they often find themselves on top of whatever social heap the local gang bangers or wanna-be little gangsters have, which leads them to trouble with probation and they disappear back into the morass of the California juvenile court system from which they oozed. However, these gang bangers are not removed from regular school until they have had a very bad, negative impact on the local youth who see them as being on some criminal pedestal because they were in a tougher, meaner, nastier big city gang.

Two of these gangbangers recently entered one of our local high schools. I don't know what their influence was with the other students at this school, but these two decided to set their new high school on fire. They destroyed a student bathroom facility and damaged a classroom. Thankfully, our local fire station is two blocks away from this high school, and they got there muy pronto before more damage was done. And these two big city gangbangers were busted for their crime of arson.

My question is, why the heck do the courts foster these criminals on schools in other communities ? Do they think removing these gangsters from the big city to a smaller community far from their hommies is going to make a difference? These juvenile court judges who are doing this, afaik, are appointees, not subject to the wrath of the voters. Heck, even if they were elected, no one HERE can vote for or against them, they are in another county! IMO, what these members of the judicial system are doing is just so wrong. And us "rural" local taxpayers foot the repair bills for what these "big city" legal sparrows have wrought upon us.

Does this happen in your community?

Thanks for reading my blog! Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

110th Carnival of Education

Opening Wednesday, da Godfadder of da Edusphere, the EdWonk is hosting the 110th edition of the Carnival of Education. Well worth checking out !

Take Care and thanks for reading my blog !

Monday, March 12, 2007

BLOCKED ! Polski is a threat to Socialism !

Hey, following a link [ http://www dot greatfirewallofchina dot org slash test ] I find that what Polski has to say is apparently a threat to the internal cohesion and well-being of those billions of potential readers in the People's Republic of China ! Are you ?

Thanks for reading my subversive anti-socialist blog. Please exercise your Freedom of Speech and leave a comment !

Write to THEM thats making the rules....

As many of you know, NCLB is up for re-authorization in the US Congress. This is the time for teachers to write to your elected member of the US House of Representatives and US Senate, expressing your concerns about NCLB. Note, I said concerns. Don't rant or bitch at them about how "screwed up" NCLB has made your life and job.

Here is what I plan to say. I will tell them about the declining opportunities for my boys to learn much history, science, art, music and P.E. at their public elementary school. I will tell them the impact of this on the students I get in my history classes. I will tell them that, imo, "fairness" is supposed to be a basic tenent of America, and how I believe it is so unfair to put the entire burden on the schools and teachers, not including the students, their families or the edubureaucrats at the State Offices of Education. I will, of course elaborate about each of these points. Lastly, I will suggest that money paid by US taxpayers is better spent for students in the United States and that they could find lots of money by not spending it on the US imperial failure in Iraq.

Please write to your elected representatives. Express your feelings and opinions. THEY won't know if ya don't tell 'em ! And, if by some chance, you actually meet them someplace in person, BEND THEIR EAR. Make them listen to you. They are supposed to be there for us.

Thanks for reading my blog. I welcome and appreciate your comments.

Aged ? Or just "vintage" ???

Last weekend, while eating out with my family, a young woman came up to me and asked, "Mr. Polski, you remember ME ?"

I looked at her, and all I could say was, "No, but tell me your first name."

She told me. I shook my head, "Don't take offense," I said, "but sorry, but I can't place you."

She told me her name.....yep, it had been quite a few years since she sat in my classroom.

She then asked me if I'd retired. "No," I laughed. "Why do you ask that? I'm not THAT old, am I?"

She said, "Well, my other teachers from (Polski's school)are retired !

Even after all this time, we teachers are just SO MUCH OLDER than those we teach.


Thanks for reading my blog. Your comments are appreciated.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Any way you slice it.....

I got involved in something today that I'd heard about, but never personally encountered in my many years in the classroom and being around teenagers. It was just kind of a fluke, being at a certain place at a certain time.

I was standing outside my classroom door this morning, when, among the hoard of students passing by on their way to morning classes, I noticed a gothic appearing student roll back the cloth of whatever was covering their left arm to show a student who was walking with them. Something just seemed wrong....teacher radar ? Anyhow, I called to the student, whom I do not personally know, and asked them to roll back their sleeve to show me whatever it was they just showed the other student. The goth tried to show me a pen circle drawn on their thumb. I said, no, please roll up your sleeve. Letters had been cut into their arm. They didn't look too old, as they didn't appear to have formed much of a scab yet.

I asked the student their name, and was told a first name. I asked for a surname and was told, all in a very low tone of voice. I asked "Why did you do that?". Goth cutter said, "'Cause I can." It was a flat statement, not spoken with pride, gusto, bravado, or in seeking sympathy. I said, "You know, there are LOTS of other things you can do, besides THAT." Goth cutter said, "yeh." I said ok, go on to class.

Of course, I am duty bound to report this. I found an AP at lunch and let him know about the encounter. Later this afternoon, I heard from him that there seemed to be a rash of "cutting" going on, that the other jr. high/middle school in town had nearly a dozen known recent students cutting themselves, and today's goth cutter made three for our school, that "we" now know about. I could say more about what he told me, but that may be getting into confidential information. He did say, however that what goth cutter had cut into their arm was something like "Kill Kya" which is apparently from some song by a Japanese Punk band.

I have no comprehension as to why someone would do that mutilation to themself.
But, hopefully, this kid will accept help to deal positively with whatever drove them to do something like this.

Thanks for reading my blog. I welcome your comments.