Mission: Final!

Pretty much the case.

Pretty much the case.

This week will have a series of milestones leading up to the SBAC standardized test. One of those milestones was actually cancelled last week, and the scores are not being used to calculate an API this year…for the second year in a row. Despite the positive news about the contract…school site budgets are their own items. We are losing massive amounts of grant funding, and need to eliminate anywhere from 14 to 21 teaching positions, depending upon how you carve the idiomatic turkey.

As a result, for some of the staff…a good number of the staff, in fact…the SBAC is their high priority, final mission. Given the junior status of some teachers…it might be their final time in front of a classroom. Teacher turnover is high nationwide to begin with, and being displaced from a school like ours…for a large number, that’s the end of the line, so to speak.

The same could be said for some administrative positions. A large number of those at our school were funded by grants that are now over and done. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…having to try and run the school and testing effectively, despite not knowing what their position next year will be, or whether it will even be at the school site. I sympathize with the level of uncertainty, despite maybe not having the best of relations with all of our out of classroom staff.

That’s one reason that DC’s Suicide Squad, from the late 80’s, was in my mind. They were a team of criminals mostly, forced to work for the US Government on impossible covert missions. If they succeeded at a given number, they were supposed to get a pardon…but the missions were impossible enough that even supercriminals tended to have a low survival rate. Their boss was the government official Amanda Waller, also called “the Wall.” An administrator tough enough to push around Batman.

It was a real challenge to draw the Wall. She needs to be pretty, but also needs to be plus sized. As comic artists, we tend to focus on drawing one kind of woman…a sort of fit, bodybuilder/gymnast/dancer/ subset of humanity. Drawing real people is sometimes a bigger challenge than you might imagine.

It’s clear from the art that the Wall is in charge. Pretty much clear at my school site too. As budget development time arrives, we have to make some serious, and hard decisions, and it takes a person like the Wall to sit in the Big Chair and make things happen. You have to divorce yourself to a degree from the people, and look at the bigger picture, at the sustainability of the operations in front of you.

It’s not a job that I want.

Still…a job that I want less? The people that have to do the same job I do, but are going to be cut at the end…for no other reason than their time in place being less than others. I worry that the Union gave them a kind of false hope this weekend…and I sincerely hope that our current leadership isn’t blamed when it is revealed as such.

New leadership has seen me as pretty useful, which is a return to earlier times at school. I’m wary of it though. Kind of like Batman dealing with the Joker. Sure…you’ve put the clown behind bars a bunch of times. The thing is…each time there’s a different schtick, and you have to figure it out, amidst a whole mess of chaos, before you can make the happy ending happen.

See, that was a metaphor.

Regardless…as the art implies, I’m pretty okay with current leadership…cautiously optimistic. The system is pretty broken right now, and the job is hard, so I’m doing my best to cut some slack. Thankfully, I have my co-teacher, who does a whole lot less of that…it strikes a kind of balance in assessment.

Those poor schlubs, though. Each and every one of them will need a recommendation letter, so they need to do the best job possible, in a hard location. Once they know who they are, motivation will be hard to maintain.

Next Issue: Marvel Two In One…Countdown to Fourever!


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