My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Because I Like Pointing Out the Counter-Intuitive

A story is evolving out of Ft. Collins about a question on a math test at Rocky Mountain High School. The question is this:

Question 3: Politics in Florida
In 1988, there were 6.047 million people registered to vote in Florida. Of these, a certain number were registered democrats, some were registered republicans, and others were registered as independent. The number of democrats was 0.908 million more than the number of liars – I mean republicans [emphasis supplied]. The number of republicans was 1.935 million more than the number of independents. Using mathematics from Chapter 1, find the number of registered voters for each party, in millions.

Now, of course this is offensive and out-of-line; sadly, it is NOT all that surprising; and, in a surprise move, I'm actually willing to give the teacher a little bit of rope: there are occasions, as a teacher, when you develop such a rapport with a class of students that you can use humor that an observer to your class might not understand (for example, if this Democrat teacher had had an ongoing public conversation--in good humor--with a Republican student in the room, this could be nothing more than an isolated needle at one student, which MAY have caused a few knowing chuckles in the room.). Whether that translates into the appropriateness of this question for more than one class remains to be seen, but let's not get too hung up on that issue.

For the moment.

Further down in this post at Face The State, you will see a list of the staff members in the math department at Rocky Mountain H.S., with their party affiliations. Here's how they shake out:

2 registered Democrats
2 registered Republicans
2 not registered at all
5 registered unaffiliated

For the sake of argument, let's say that those "unaffiliateds" actually break 4-1 for Democrats, based on actual voting patterns. That leaves you with a group of teachers that is roughly 6-3 Democrats to Republicans.

Got that? This department, which I would suggest is actually fairly representative, splits 2-1 for the Democrats.

When was the last time you heard of a teachers union only endorsing Democrats by a margin of 2-1? Or giving Republican candidates half of what they give Democrats? Or organizing neighborhood walks for half as many Republicans as Democrats?

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, that, contrary to popular belief, teachers are not all Democrats. It has been my experience, having worked in 23 schools in my career (yes, I have an odd job description), that there are vastly more Republicans in the education profession than the general public believes there are, or than get represented by their unions' activities. The very nature of the profession (change the world, poor renumeration in return for security, etc . . .) tends to draw the Lefties, but not exclusively. There are many of us that simply concluded at some point in our youth that there is no more important job in the world than trying to get the next generation to learn the skills and habits that will make them self-sufficient and productive members of society.

The point is, and I have said it before, that when you talk in dismissive terms of "education", please try, somehow, to draw a distinction between teachers' unions--the heart and soul of Big Education--and teachers themselves. The former is one of the greatest impediments to properly educating our children; the latter are (largely) smart, dedicated, and creative servants of the public good.

Yes, there are bad eggs out there--as this teacher at Rocky Mountain demonstrates. My above argument notwithstanding, even I don't completely buy that this guy had that kind of rapport with his class; or that, having that rapport, would be stupid enough to put this question in writing; or that, even if those were true, that this would in any way justify putting this question on a test that more than one class would have to take. This guy, I think, has an agenda which he subjects his students to, probably on a regular and humorless basis.

The real tragedy here is that the system is built in such a way that this guy will be protected, and that system was designed and built by Big Education. Consider that it's okay for this guy to do what he does in class with taxpayers' money, but it's not at all okay for students to have a moment of prayer before a football game.

Until this system gets disrupted, we should get used to stories like this.

For more thoughts on this subject, read all of the Face the State post (linked above), and then read Ben's thoughts on this--it's really in his wheelhouse.


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