Mysteries Without Any Clues.

“Yep…he’s not gonna walk that one off.”

Cap is always so sensitive.

The art above has a whole lot going on in it. It really is about changes that are happening at the Edu-Mountain, and the unpredictability of the current situation and administration. Things are in a whole lot of flux, and several people are being thrust into roles that are unfamiliar, or scary. A few jobs are going to be lost, around four…mostly because of a combination of declining enrollment, and poor decisions with finances intended to bolster that declining figure.

There’s one teacher who simply doesn’t come in. That guy has used up way more than the allotted ten annual sick days, being well into double digits. One of the Edu-Lords has already entreated a friend of mine to write lesson plans for the substitutes, and parent complaints have been coming in. That person will most probably have their position preserved, due to an unusual rule of district seniority and a bit of cronyism with our current principal.

One of the most dedicated new teachers, a young lady with Teach For America, is almost certainly going to be reassigned due to position downsizing. That’s related to the attendance and enrollment issues. The part that bothers most is that she does an incredible job, and is super committed. She’s well liked by the students, and knows her stuff backwards and forwards. With all of that…she was the last one in the door, so to speak, so she’s the first one out.

It’s things like that which make me resent the Union.

Which brings me to that point…there is a Supreme Court case, the Janus case, that will determine the future direction of California Teachers’ Unions. The Unions themselves are actually pretty scared, attempting to shore up membership through aggressive campaigns. That’s the kind of campaign that had the Union President call my house last week, and generally be insulting. Like anyone who traffics in fear, the wheel is swinging around, and the current Union establishment fears that change is around the corner.

I’m going to get to the art a bit, to get into its metaphor. Cap…she’s not any kind of detective. To her, the situation above is pretty simple. “Hey, looks like we’ve got a dead guy.” She’s good at stopping things from happening, and taking action, but getting to the bottom of the hows and whys of things…that’s not her bag. And that guy assigned along with her? Yeah, he’s an official looking tool for the Edu-Mountain, but honestly, he doesn’t really care that much.

Cap doesn’t know who that guy is, or how his skull and ribs made it all the way out to the outlands where she has to work. The way she’s pretty much going to have to figure it out is by paying attention to who actually shows up, and then noticing who is missing, and making an educated guess as to the causes. Maybe not even that.

At school, we have had a sudden run on the need to turn in Mandatory Paperwork. Mine is always up to date…but a failure to do some of those trainings, or to file some of those papers…that can lead to a downsizing. It’s a passive aggressive move that gives the administration a certain amount of choice. If someone doesn’t turn in one of those things, after a while, they can’t teach. It lets a new kind of latitude come into the decisions, but only based on “we gave you the opportunity to get it done, and you didn’t.”

So in theory, a person could stop being a teacher at my school…and we’d have a vague idea of a bunch of categories of possible reasons why, but no real definitive idea. I’m usual pretty critical of the Union, but even if they were doing their jobs, it would be hard to defend against that kind of thing.

Also…in theory I’m kind of okay with this idea, except that I’m not. It does give you the opportunity to really nag a teacher that you want to keep to get things in, and to do the minimum standard to inform people that you don’t. In that case, you could actually try to thin the herd, as it were, of Bad Teachers. It lacks two basic virtues, however. Firstly, it’s not fair treatment, and that isn’t okay. Secondly…it’s not being used in a way that is pro-quality and anti-cronyism. The truth is, it’s being used in much the opposite fashion.

Again…it’s not like information is being withheld, either. E-mails have been sent, and people either read them or don’t. I tend to do things like read e-mails that affect my career, but other people kind of “let things go.” Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Things are turbulent, though. We may lose an administrator, or even two. A good English teacher is leaving the classroom to prepare for WASC Accreditation, which is NOT a good use of staff resources. The administrative team isn’t that familiar with the documents related to WASC, or the various compliance issues that need to be in place.

Some of those things are problems that I’d be good at. Problems that can be solved as they happen. Oddly, I’m not really asked in on that kind of thing at all. At this point, I’m mostly asked to figure out what happened after the fact.

Kind of like Cap in today’s art, and her disinterested hyper-evolved partner.

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