Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Only a Handful
"There are 80,000 plus teachers and only a handful of us get brought up on 3020-a charges."
I have heard this argument several times when I ask why Unity allowed the Rubber Rooms to happen in the first place. I read it most recently in one of the comments on Chaz's blog.
I object not only to the statement itself, but to all of its hidden implications.
"You're only a handful, so you must be guilty of something. You're only a handful so there are more important places to concentrate our resources. You're only a handful so you're just not that important to the rest of us."
Ok. Let's look at what you mean by handful. I have been given the ratio of 800 bad teachers to 80,000 good teachers. Now, granted there may have been only 800 if you look at a frozen instant in time, but the Rubber Room was a revolving door. As soon as one teacher left, two replaced him. During the Rubber Room heyday there were thousands of teachers who passed through the Rubber Room. There were thousands of others who retired rather than be sent there.
But just for fun. Let's take a snapshot view (Bloomburgers love to take snapshot views, don't they?) At any one moment there were about 800 Reassigned Teachers as opposed to 80,000 Regularly Assigned Teachers.
Let's see: That's a ratio of 800 to 80,000 or only 1 to 100. One Rubber Room Teacher for every one hundred Regular Teachers. Only a handful.
Now let's put that handful in perspective.
How many people were killed in the attacks on the Twin Towers? 2,606 to be exact. That's a lot of people. We're building a big memorial in New York City to honor them. But what is that number compared to the 8,000,000 people who live in the five boroughs?
Let's see: That's a ratio of 2,606 to 8,000,000 or One to Three Thousand. Approximately one Twin Towers victim for every 3,000 New Yorkers. Would we call that only a handful? I don't think so.
Do you resent the comparison? After all, I'm not dead. I'm alive and well, and sipping my morning coffee as I write my blog. And what was that you said? I'm not innocent like they were? They were just doing their jobs when wham!!!!!! their building got hit by an airplane, while I, a bad, incompetent, abusive, insubordinate, blah, blah, blah teacher was taken out of the classroom and paid for sitting in a chair doing nothing for one year, nine months and two weeks?
So it's not about ratios, is it? It's the subtext hidden behind the statement: "It's only a handful".
Do we accept the handful? Is one of them also one of us? Or are they beyond the pale, marked as "other", isolated, blamed, demonized?
Ratios don't matter. Group identify does.
The Bloomburger Bullies came from outside the group and established themselves as the ones who had the right to decide who belonged in the Good Teacher Group and who didn't. Most of them had less education and less experience than the teachers they marked as "Bad".
Those of us who were sorted out into the Rubber Rooms were not killed, but our lives will never be the same, because the experience changes you forever.
I can't be made whole (a legal term meaning the compensation of a party for a loss sustained). You can't take back the years of mobbing, bullying, professional and personal assassination, defamation, and degradation. You can't undo the shaming and the shunning. You might as well try to bring back the Twin Tower dead as to try to bring back the teacher I was before Bloomburger Perry walked into my, yes MY school and into MY neighborhood.
I'm not ashamed, and I'm not afraid. I like it out here beyond the pale. I'm free.