Thursday, May 31, 2012

Save Me From Upper Darby Art Zealots

I will be following up on the Save Upper Darby Arts "crisis" tomorrow. Some people have taken offense at yesterday's column.

In the meantime, there's this and my response:
Hey Gil,
If Tina Fey is guilty of a misdemeanor in romanticizing the importance of arts in schools then you're equally guilty of felony trivialization of the matter. I am a proud UD grad and former editor of their school paper - a job Tina happened to hold a few years later.  Today it's 3rd grade fingerpainting getting the axe and before you know it it's music, sports, publications and other 'non essential' activities that develop critical thinking, socialization, and sense of community.  Perhaps I didn't see you full piece but it appears you sidestepped the central issue of local property tax diversion to out of district charter schools.  Have you checked on the state of their resources?  Even if you don't think you insulted public school parents with your parody, I wouldn't want to engage in a satire arms race with Ms. Fey unless the Delco Times is a larger launch pad than newspaper circulation  reports suggest.
Hagen Jeffrey Fekete, UDHS/Acorn - Class of 1980 
Slippery slope arguments don't impress me. As for Ms. Fey, she can bring it on. What's she gonna' do, dress up like me as on SNL? She already stole my arms for the cover of Bossypants. I'm not a-scared-a her. Cheers.


On second thought, those aren't my arms.


Blogger MediaMike said...

Very nice! Mr. Spencer has officially announced he’s unimpressed with slippery slope arguments. I am officially happy that the Delco Times’ leading conservative voice will be fully ready to speak out against slippery slope arguments against allowing same-sex couples to marry. I welcome this new era of comment etiquette to the Delco Times where conservative posters of comments will no longer try to compare same-sex marriage to incest, polygamy, bestiality, and the like. I commend Mr. Spencer for officially shutting down this logical fallacy!

May 31, 2012 at 5:19 PM 
Blogger Patricia Donnelly said...

As a journalist you have the responsibility of fact finding. You have been guilty over the years of opinions based on false or inaccurate fact finding. A good journalist does not take part in propaganda or sensationalism. They look at all the facts. It is nice to see people standing up for something, especially education and children. Why is it when you rant Mr. Spencer it is an opinion, yet when others do it, you consider it a rant. Tina Fey is not the only one who uses their celebrity in a bullying way. It is nice to see parents, children and a community come together. That is the American way!

May 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM 
Blogger BlackSmith Techs said...

tu blog va ya mismo a mis favoritos
clasificados españa

May 31, 2012 at 7:55 PM 
Blogger MediaMike said...

@Patricia Donnelly: I agree with your views on the education situation, but nobody is taking Mr. Spencer as a reporter. He's a commentator / columnist here to give his opinion. I do think it is important to point out that Mr. Spencer isn't doing reporting at all, but no need to lambaste him for it. We all recognize that he has a very clearly defined set of opinions on schools that replicate themselves in all of his education writing.

May 31, 2012 at 8:43 PM 
Blogger jake said...

You want to damn Mr Spencer with faint praise. I respectfully disagree.

Our educational system, in Upper Darby and everywhere else, is in disarray. The teacher's unions have forced us to make very difficult decisions about our children's welfare.

Do we pay members of the teacher's union their $100,000 a year or better salaries for nine months work, their Cadillac health and disability coverage, and their comprehensive pension plans that allow them to retire at age 50?

Are we comfortable with sacrificing our children's well-being on the altar of the public sector unions?

We must recognize that big government is the problem, not the solution. It's long overdue to rein in collective bargaining for public employee unions. Who says you should have to join the teacher's union if you want to teach?

May 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM 
Blogger MediaMike said...

@Jake: A few counterpoints for you:

- Teachers unions haven’t forced unfunded federal and state mandates on testing and special education that have been driving up the cost of schools steadily over the past 30 years.
- Very few teachers make $100k+ in a school year. I’ve been teaching since the fall of 2000 and just cleared $50k even after the completion of my masters. I started working for day pay, and my first year paid roughly $33k. The median teacher salary in the state of Pennsylvania is somewhere in the mid-$50k range. The $100k figure is only reached by the very few.
- Adjusted for inflation teacher salary has risen very little over the past 20-30 years
- Yes, the school calendar is nine months, but the average teacher puts in a 50 hour week between required hours and extra time needed to do one’s job. 9 months multiplied by a week that is 25% longer than a normal worker’s week = 11.25 months of work done in 9 months. See page 13 of this report
- The Cadillac heath coverage of which you speak is a nice benefit that offsets one’s overall lack of income relative to equally well educated workers in other professions for many years of one’s teaching career. Ask your friends in Harrisburg why every single state and school district employee isn’t on the same universally negotiated health care plan. You want the health care costs of schools, and state government as a whole, reduced; force health care providers to negotiate a bulk rate for several hundred thousand people at the same time.
- That 50 year old figure for retirement is laughable. Here is how PSERS actually works for retirement
Note for those of us employed prior to the last year or two, the earliest we can draw on our pension is 62, and then under limited circumstances.
- No new employee is required to join a teachers union. One must pay “fair share” dues, but does not have to join the union. The “fair share” provision covers the negotiating work done by that union, but actual union members pay a higher rate that covers other activities.

June 1, 2012 at 5:53 AM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

"Yes, the school calendar is nine months, but the average teacher puts in a 50 hour week between required hours and extra time needed to do one’s job. 9 months multiplied by a week that is 25% longer than a normal worker’s week = 11.25 months of work done in 9 months. See page 13 of this report"

Crap, crap and more crap.

Look at the average pay in Marple Newtown and Chichester School districts. Teachers there, with a Masters, (That was paid for by taxpayers)is about 100K for over 10 years of employment.

Last in First out policies by the unions? People retiring at 50 with 28 years? Including activity pay in retirement?
Let's not talk 9 months, let's talk 181 days. With 4 weeks vacation other work 270 days. Christmas and Easter, oops I mean Winter and Summer break. Never worry about deep snow and getting to work.

Look, I have to admit I am jealous. But the pendulum is swinging.

June 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Gil Spencer, your community hates you.

June 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how everyone is blaming the teachers for this mess, when in actuality they should be blaming the administrators and their ridiculously high pay and equally ridiculous bonuses. Better yet, does a Liberian need to make 90K a year? It's crap like that, that as got us into this mess.

June 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

Me? I like teachers, it is there unions I hate.

Maybe we can follow Wisconsin?

June 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Anon - I had no idea Liberians made that kind of money. Maybe I should move to Liberia. And maybe Danny should move to Wisconsin. He'd look good in one of those big cheese wedge hats.

June 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

I would look good in anything, you are right!!

June 2, 2012 at 6:41 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

You would Danny. You would.

June 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM 
Blogger CharlieSix said...

3rd grade finger painting only taught me that my fingers got full of paint. And that I got in trouble because of what I painted. But let's not go there, it may cause her to have bad memories.

June 3, 2012 at 9:11 PM 

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