In order to save money, the school district is making bestial layoffs. About one out of every four of the teachers will be fired by sundown. Or so the rumor goes. To deal with our anxieties, several schools of thought have developed. Schools within this school, as it were.
On my third floor resides The School Of Rationalization. We are, after all, social scientists up here. There are several strains within this school, each variation ending with the proponent keeping his or her job.
On the second floor resides The School Of Denial. I went to a meeting down there. When I asked how folks were coping, the responses were like, “Is there something going on today?”
I’m avoiding the first floor offices, for much evil resides therein. Bunches of secretaries, administrators, counselors and other first floor types are to be fired.
I really feel for Jerry. He’s my buddy down the hall. Jerry has steadily worked his way up from part-time sub to permanent sub to, just last week, certified. So now he’s got club membership. But he doesn’t have a contract. For all his playing by the rules that the district gave him, he might get fired.
Or not. Nobody really knows who or what is getting cut.
I’m subscribing to the Credentials Theory of the School Of Denial. Because I have tenure, a doctorate, seniority and certification, I’m all good. Or not.
Cost-cutting measures have just been announced. Six schools closed. No more subs. Fewer counselors. Twenty-four administrators gone. Bigger classes. More classes per teacher. Fewer buses and fewer janitors. Another school is being moved into our building.
In the comic relief category, I applaud the decision to save money by not running the air conditioning that was just installed.
As things turn-out, downtown is going to lay off only one in eight teachers. Almost all of us at my school survived.
Jerry survived. His new certification saved him.
But Ademir Smailovic got culled from the pack. He’s got an M. A., but he’s not certified. Once again, certification trumps qualification. Smailovic is a Bosnian Muslim, a refugee from that terrible war. The Bosnian kids admire his academic success, and identify with him as a model of survival. His presence is – was — inestimable.