In 2011, I got really enthusiastic about the private tutoring company I was starting from scratch. I visited some local high schools just south of Birmingham, AL. where I lived in Indian Springs Village, and passed out flyers to introduce myself. I had ample experience from tutoring and counseling student -athletes at UAB. It worked! As I got my first call from a family who had a sophomore at Pelham High School, within days. His parents approached me with information he was falling behind in a history course. I met with the young man and we hammered out a study schedule to regiment his day and help his mother keep him on track. I really wanted to go the extra mile for this family as a token of appreciation for believing in me. I begin to contact all of his teachers introducing myself and asking if they could help me by providing me with some sort of syllabus or class schedule we could break down. Some were supportive and helpful.
A week later I get a phone call from the student’s parents telling me there was a complaint directed at me by Pelham High’s Spanish teacher to their principal, stating I was coming off as ‘pushy.’ They expressed how she had a reputation of being insolent and really just plain worthless. It appeared to me she was someone who was threatened by a helper who wanted to maximize their time with her student because she would be exposed as not having the same level of commitment I did. The parents tickled my ears with stories of teachers leaving class for over a week to attend beauty pageants and other unecessary endeavors. The most alarming, yet validating compliment I heard was a student telling me I was a better teacher than his regular teacher was when I was a substitute in an affluent school system in metro Birmingham, that same academic year. This is the problem with the issue of tenure we have these days. These experiences are why I am coming on board with the idea of school vouchers.
Is a public education important? Absolutely, more than that, It’s necessary as some families cannot afford any other type. Alabama, must as a state support it financially by all means rational. The problem is though, you have ‘teachers’ like ‘Jane Spanish’ instructor peppered throughout the state, being absolutely worthless concerning a tax payer’s bang for their buck. This is why I believe those who pushed for ‘voucher’ legislation have more than legitimate desires. What we tend to forget as board members, teachers, principals and legislators is that: tax payers are the boss! It’s just like my position at my everyday job. Because the owner of my company is sacrificing his ultimate earnings on me, I’m obligated to bring my best every day I arrive. If I don’t he has a right to do as he pleases with me. Lazy, entitled teachers with bad attitudes better understand this reality. That’s one of the reasons, not to mention just caring about their child’s future, why some parents care so much about the issue. Even as someone who is not a parent I lean toward the ‘voucher’ type voters on the matter and what they got with the Education Scholarship Program, seeing things from a simple tax payer’s perspective. Yet, there are good teachers out there grinding everyday who deal with severe shortages in funding, and yes, entitled and insane parents and bratty kids who they have no obligation to babysit, but only to teach! Like I wrote in my labor force based article both sides are not seeing the details in the reality of the problem. They are seeing the issue in terms that are too black and white and unrealistic. Legislators must come up with an even better plan that lets tax payers, rightly do as they seem fit; while still bolstering public funding so parents would not have to consider alternatives in the first place. They must counsel the statewide board to consider ways to shave off protections for useless teachers and reward those competent. It would have to take meeting in the middle and standing up to the old guard.