Monday, November 24, 2008

Hope You've Got Some Spare Change

Today I am on vacation, but I already know what awaits me upon my return next week. My principal more or less let it slip to me on my way out Friday afternoon that we can anticipate yet another serious discussion about what could happen if our school fails to meet benchmarks set by the federal and state governments on our standardized tests. The bottom line is school closure. It's the death sentence in No Child Left Behind. Perform or perish. We have already had our staff reconstituted, and so the next logical step is to close the school and send us and the kids we teach out into the world in search of another school where we can try and accomplish these same goals with the same lack of funding and attainable goals.
This morning the federal government announced its "rescue" of rescue Citigroup. They agreed to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in possible losses and to plow a fresh twenty billion dollars into the company. Just outside is the auto industry, hat in hand, hoping for their own slice of the big bailout pie. President Pinhead is doing everything he can to keep the ship afloat while the President Elect warms up his massive Change and Hope Machine in the wings.
In the big picture, I understand why public education and private corporations are apples and oranges. I understand that simply folding our arms and saying, "How do you like your free market now?" would be foolhardy and ultimately ruinous. There are far too many innocent victims clinging to the wreckage of the past eight years, and simply setting them adrift would create a collapse from which we might not recover.
But just what are the expectations placed on these companies, brought back from the brink of destruction? Will there be a yearly accounting and performance assessment given to the CEOs and CFOs who accept these bailouts? Isn't anybody who is actually responsible for all this chaos going to lose their job?
Oh. That's right. January 20. Then everything will be fine. Right, Mister President Elect?

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