Posts Tagged ‘city’
I read dystopias and apocalyptic fiction. Those are by far my favorite genres. The other day, I found a real gem in some fictional footnotes in one of them.
Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” quotes John Burns, a British labor leader around the turn of the century. He was visiting Chicago when a reporter asked him what he thought of the city.
Chicago is a pocket version of Hell.
Naturally, this made some headlines at the time, prompting another reporter to ask him some months later if Burns’ opinion had changed.
Why, yes. Hell is a pocket version of Chicago.
I shared this canard with my master teacher. She had her own response.
Chicago’s always been a rough town. If New York City is the Grand Dame of American cities, then Chicago is the rough-and-tumble juvenile delinquent. Even now, Chicago has an air of respectability, but that’s just a thin veneer — there’s still some roughness around the edges.
This comment inspired a series of personifications.
Boston — Matronly great aunt with some progressive whims.
Los Angeles — Irresponsibly extravagant 530-pound second cousin, whose mobile home is characterized by tchotchke and a 42-inch flat screen TV.
New Orleans — Barfly with a heart of gold, but one who will still take the guys upstairs.
San Francisco — Weird kid sister with an esoteric, artistic side and an eye for free love. May have once been a kid brother.
Washington, D.C. — Girl scout with such charisma that she gets away with having her overpriced cookies as a front for high-risk futures trading.
Any others in this tradition?
Long story short, this school has 30 mostly low-income Hispanic kids per class, no vice principals, no unions. Oh, and the principal will make $90,000 each year — less than the teachers. That’s probably why the principal’s union is more miffed than the teacher’s union.
I excerpt a tidbit from the article in The New York Times as follows:
Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, called the hefty salaries “a good experiment.” But she said that when teachers were not unionized, and most charter school teachers are not, their performance can be hampered by a lack of power in dealing with the principal. “What happens the first time a teacher says something like, ‘I don’t agree with you?’ ”
NYC Educator never has anything nice to say about anything, and continues the trend.
So do these teachers really make more than city teachers? Perhaps they do, if the teachers in question are at the beginning of the salary scale. Are their benefits equal to those of city teachers? Do they have a pension plan? Probably not. …
I suppose it’s better to work with no union protection for more money. But what would happen to a teacher at this school who dared to mention unionization? Would she be tossed out on her ear like Nicole Byrne Lau? Blanche DuBois may be comfortable depending on the kindness of strangers, but I’m not.
Maybe this is the uninformed outlook of an outsider, but when I read “New York City Teacher’s Union” I think inefficient, obstructive and legendarily bloated.
Where do teacher’s unions stop being helpful and start being wasteful? Are they a necessary evil, or simply necessarily evil? How valuable would an annual $125,000 be to you if you had longer hours — though more prep periods — and no union support?