I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHY public school teachers watch Fox News. After all, if there is a story out there that can be used to shed a negative light on public school teachers, Rupert Murdoch’s sock-puppet commentators will find it and flog it till it’s dead.
But, wait! Fox News is suddenly “standing up for teachers!” That’s right, Gretchen Carlson and Megan Kelly and Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy will soon be boo-hoo-hooing the fate of the poor public school teachers.
According to a recent Fox News story, teachers are getting hosed. It’s tragic, they want us to know. Just terrible and unfair and un-American, too. The average teacher is making a mere $44,000 a year. It’s tough going, says Tracie Happel, a teacher in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. And here’s where the story gets interesting.
Whose fault is it? You’re thinking, maybe, that ass, Governor Scott Walker, who wants to take away ALL bargaining rights? Maybe the infamous Koch brothers, with their donations of tens of millions to all the big right-wing-nut causes, with dreams about finally crushing the last glimmer of life out of the U. S. labor movement?
Nope. Fox News found one of the few teachers in America who would agree that the problem was fat cat union bosses. Says Happel:
It’s always about the union. It’s never about the teachers or students.When you’re a teacher, you know you will not always be able to have the money for renovations on a house or go away on vacation, but it’s a tough pill to swallow when you can’t do those things when the people who are supposed to represent us get paid more and more every year.
That pill might be even tougher to swallow if you’re one of the tens of thousands of teachers who have been laid off by Tea Party loving, tax-slashing, union busting governors in the last couple of years.
But no one at Fox News bothered to talk to any of those teachers.
Not a snowball’s chance on a July 4th grill! What Fox really wants to see is the smashing of unions. It’s just that simple. And no one at Fox News cares about teachers, either. You’d be a fool if you think they do. The key to this “awful” story isn’t teachers’ pay at all. It’s those evil union leaders, and by extension their diabolical connections to Democratic politicians. According to Fox sources, the evil leaders of the evil teachers’ unions are pulling down salaries and benefits of almost half-a-million per year.
That’s the real takeaway to the tale. Don’t stop to remember that Wall Street crashed damn near the entire U. S. economy in 2008, while hedge fund CEO’s raked in $100 million salaries. Don’t look at that story in the newspaper about global interest rate rigging by the banks, effecting what all of us paid on mortgages and car loans. Pay no attention to all the pharmaceutical companies that have had to pay huge fines lately for illegal marketing tactics. Ignore all the companies, including Bain Capital, that happily ship good American jobs overseas to China and Bangladesh and India.
Biggest economic problem in America today?
That’s right. Overpaid union leaders.
YOU MIGHT THINK THE DUMB CLUCKS who let themselves be gulled nightly by the Fox News crew might have a clue. Then again, you’d think public school teachers wouldn’t be watching a channel that so regularly vilifies them. But if you think fans of Fox News didn’t get the real point, just read a few typical posted comments.
“Well,” Warren Reichle noted, “the Average teacher is a know nothing Slug! End the unionization of our educators, end the tenures, increase quality of our educators, increase their pay with results!”
Clearly that man felt bad for all the “know-nothing slugs” (to polish up his grammar) who make only $44,000 a year.
Estella Bunny Howe added: “Hey, the teachers have the right to opt out of the unions. Stupid if they don’t. And, just remember these are the same teachers who are teaching math, etc. to our kids. And, you wonder why our society is so screwed up?????”
Yeah, don’t you hate it, Bunny, when teachers screw up the world. Starting the War in Iraq, making American adults fat, causing health care costs to skyrocket. Yeah, those damn teachers.
Diana Lynn Friemann certainly caught the intended Fox News Main Point. She picked up the football and ran with it down the field and finally spiked the ball in the endzone. “We need to have a law outlawing these unions. They are full of thugs, liars and thieves. All they are good for anymore is raising money for the Democrat candidates. That is NOT what they are supposed to be for! They are supposed to be a voice for workers, but that ended years ago. Thugs!”
In fact, the sympathy for teachers that Fox News, in its heart of hearts, truly hoped to elicit was everywhere in view:
Theresa Victorino Stevens:“Public education system is RIDICULOUS!!”
Joe Armato: “This is why the children do not get an education. The teachers are so dumb that they allow this to happen.”
“There’s probably no more overpaid profession than teacher,” Tom Van Riper grumbled. Apparently, he didn’t care if they made $44,000 per year or minimum wage.
John Hammack was equally sympathetic, noting, “around here they make on the average $90K. I’d love to make $44k, get three months off during the summer, and leave the job at 3:30 with no accountability.”
Marc Mathews pretty much agreed with Mr. Hammack: “44G with a pension, summers off and very good benefits and what is basically a job for life. “Doesn’t excuse the 500g salaries but I’m playing the worlds smallest violin for the whiners.”
GregandAngie Jones, which could be just a couple that shares a Facebook page, or maybe a posting by cojoined twins, responded:
Good teachers are the exception, not the norm. Many teachers are there to put in their 180 school days per year. Take their winter break, spring break, and summer vacations; collect their pay and retire on the taxpayer. The level and standard of public education in the US is a good indication that it is failing.
Charles Donaldson looked under his bed, couldn’t see President Obama’s birth certificate anywhere, but caught a glimpse of the Red Menace boogie man: “schools, public education, is destroying america..kids don’t have an idea what work is cause they spend their whole life in school socialism..”
Jeff Runyan touched on a common sentiment, damning to American teachers in general, when he grumbled: “The US doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 in the world for education yet we spend the most on it. Wonder why that is.”
John Bravo backed him up, especially after a more liberal individual noted that maybe the matter was more complex than a simple list that showed the United States wasn’t in the Top 10 in education. He lambasted Azhar Din, who dared to disagree, then made it crystal clear where the problems in education began: “[We] rank low because liberals have been in charge of our schools for the past 50+ years wake up troll.”
I did what I could. I posted a few comments of my own, including one in response to Mr. Runyan, noting that the U. S. doesn’t rank in the Top 10. True. We stood #25 in the most recent international math comparison. Unions, right, fans of Fox News? I explained that if he cared to do a little research he might discover that the U. S. was #24 in life expectancy, using the same 30 countries in the international math survey. We’re tops in health care spending, too.
Must be our terrible doctors. Are they union members?
WELL, LOGIC ISN’T ALWAYS A STRONG SUIT for fans of Fox News. So let’s leave the last word to Lowell Smith, a kind of Tea Party philosopher. Says Mr. Smith: “For all you history majors here, on the upside, when the communist finally do get total control the first thing they do is shoot all the intellectuals and teachers.”
Yeah, Mr. Smith, won’t it be great when they shoot all the intellectuals and teachers! That’s the upside.
Something tells me, Lowell, you’re going to be safe.
The author is a retired teacher and writes about education at http://ateacheronteaching.blogspot.com/