My Bully Pulpit
It’s not easy being a thought leader of the free world, especially when operating out of the bustling metrop. of Bloomington, USA. See, this burgh still has a lot of small town qualities, one of which being everybody who’s anybody knows everybody else who’s anybody.
So, unlike my early days as a scribe in my beloved hometown of Chicago, I can’t get away with insulting, degrading, abasing, and otherwise verbally terrorizing people and dismiss them all, once the feedback starts rolling in, with a blase Ah, screw ’em; they’re all strangers to me anyway.
That’s why Friday was a tough one. My post that day had to do with the state of Indiana considering allowing non-professional teachers to teach here, as long as they qualify under a new category called Career Workplace Specialist. Under this proposed guideline, for instance, a working chemist could teach chemistry classes in an Indiana high school. The state teachers ass’n is aghast at the whole notion.
Those Who Do Can Teach
My take was the professional teachers should quit considering themselves divine emissaries, sent here to elevate our precious snowflake kids from slug-like ignorance to an enlightened swami state. Teaching, I pontificated, is something many, many, many more of us can do than only those who’ve been anointed by this holy land’s schools of education.
I predicted this stance would ruffle a lot of teachers’ feathers, and I was right.
In fact, the most heartfelt reaction came from one of the most beloved and respected teachers at Bloomington North High School. Elizabeth Sweeney told me in no uncertain terms that I was flat out wrong.
As I read her response to my screed, I could sense the undertone of pain of someone who’s devoted herself to the instruction of our town’s youth, who’s spent tens of thousands of dollars learning her craft in college, who is really on the job 24 hours a day, and who is justifiably proud of what she’s chosen to do with her limited time on this planet.
And you know what? I feel really bad about that.
I’ve met E. Sweeney on several occasions. I’ve done business with her. I like her. I respect her. Her reputation around town is sparkling. And now this person feels slighted by me.
I’ve grappled with my feelings about that this whole weekend. My conclusion? That’s the crappy part of running this communications colossus. But, as Linda Ellerbee once observed about the role of a journalist, if you haven’t made someone mad, or at least uncomfortable, you haven’t done your job that day.
So I’m going to continue to take the chance that someone on any given day will be incensed by my barkings and bleatings. I only hope the next such person is more deserving of a kick in the pants than Elizabeth Sweeney.
A Spade Is A Spade
On the other hand, one person, whom I don’t know, told me in the comments section of Friday’s post that I am a lib-tard [sic].
Whoever you are, thanks!
The McDonald’s Gap
Some 2000 fast food workers protested at McDonald’s world headquarters in west suburban Chicago Wednesday. Their main gripe? Pay.
McDonald’s may be one of the two or three most recognized American institutions in the world but its burger flippers make minimum wage ⎯ $8.25 an hour in Illinois. A McDonald’s employee who works, say, 37 hours in a week can expect to bring home, therefore, the princely sum of $213.67 after taxes.
MCDonald’s CEO Don Thompson makes more than $13 million a year.
A Bloomberg article published in December 2012 calculated that a starting worker at McD’s would have to work one million hours to make what the then-CEO of the outfit made in a year. Working 37 hours a week, a person totals some 1924 hours in a year. The article also pointed out that McDonald’s pays for lobbyists to fight against minimum wage increases.
My suggestion for the protesters? Forget the company’s world headquarters; just dig up Don Thompson’s address and pay him a visit.
Here’s a fun piece from Louis Armstrong:
h/t to Jan Takehara who, BTW, is such a Cubs fan that as a young adult she lived in an unheated, rundown apartment just because it was across the street from Wrigley Field. She lived there with a cat named Jose Cardenal.