Car 54 where are you?
School principals have a huge and time consuming job to do. Their students think they only exist to call their parents when trouble occurs or to discipline them for real or imagined wrongdoing. Truth is a principal is required to administer a sizable group of people and see that they stay on a targeted course. (MBA) The principal has to fight in this system or any other to get and keep the amount of funds to keep the ball rolling forward. (Banker) Principals must be involved in ongoing training of classroom teachers to see that they are as fit for the job as possible. (HR consultant) They must act as arbiters between teachers and students, between students and students , between teachers and teachers and between all the above and the administration (Judge). Principals have to coordinate directly with school boards, up line administrative officials and PSS as an entity (Communications Specialist). They must constantly strive to present their school and it’s achievements in the best possible light to the parents and the community at large. (PR Maven). There are a lot more things Principals must do…parental interaction, PTA interfacing, and scores of other tasks that need prioritizing and completing in order for the school to move ahead seamlessly.
Teachers have a huge and time consuming job to do. Students sometimes think they are there solely to ruin their evenings with homework and their days with boring details that must be remembered. Teachers have a huge responsibility to teach disparate individuals with different tastes and different capabilities, subjects which they may or may not be interested in learning. (Interpretive instructor) They must somehow maintain order (now days without resort to the ruler on the knuckles). (Policeman) They must spend many hours in preparation to teach each day. (Personal Trainer) Teachers have homework to do too…papers to grade, poorly written essays to read and evaluate, etc. (Critic). Around here they must also be janitors and shoppers and repairmen for their own classrooms. There are a lot more things that teachers must do just like their administrative counterparts, the Principals. Both have more than full time jobs to do. It would take pages to describe what else teachers must do routinely.
PSS policy makers in their wisdom have now decreed that Principals will do double duty as full time teachers in addition to their regular responsibilities. This is a poorly thought out reassignment. These 20 individuals, already over taxed with work and underpaid for the effort will be able to do NEITHER job effectively if required to try to do both.
If there is a teacher shortage, so be it. Do what other school systems do worldwide in such circumstances; increase class size. It is not a great solution but it is better than marginally smaller classes taught by people too busy to do proper preparation and too preoccupied with the daily administration of their school to devote the time to individual students necessary for them to succeed. This fixes the symptom not the ailment, and does a poor job even of that.
There is a shortage of money and there will continue to be a shortage and it will probably get worse. There are several whole Departments in local government that could be closed down unmissed. Their budgets could be reprogrammed into the education system and their employees redistributed into PSS jobs going begging right now for want of money to pay for the positions. This would be a more suitable solution to the ongoing problem of short funds. Privatization would be another solution but that is a discussion for another day.
Smoke the AG?
Our attorney General is pretty darned good as appointed AGs go. At least he hasn’t called for raising Vietnamese hookers as a cash crop as his predecessor did. He seems to take his responsibility as the persecutor of those who would disobey the law pretty seriously. He seems to uphold a sense of dignity and presents a good example for our youth to follow. I think he has too many, not too few, people on his staff, but he knows the needs there better than I do.
He is being vilified by most everyone for daring to think that free speech might be a good thing. I’ve seen no evidence that he was or is taking sides on the legalize-marijuana question, yet he was represented as doing so in the press and by many of his opponents. If I understand it correctly he simply did not see it necessary to impede a conference during which people would rationally discuss legalization. I would say conferences and conventions, which bring in outside tourist dollars, are always a good thing. If the conferees want to discuss procreation of pink polo ponies in Poughkeepsie, why should we care? Let them come and talk and spend their greenbacks and enjoy our beautiful islands. We don’t have to agree to pink ponies or to maryjane or anything else in order to want attendees to visit and spend money on rooms, food and entertainment. Most destinations actively seek out convention business and build large edifices for that very purpose. We should do the same.
He was slam dunked and blindsided by the Cohen/Staymen group during testimony at the recent Senate hearings in an attempt to, what else, present the CNMI in the worst possible light so they can strip us of local governance. There is no evidence that his actions regarding Chinese asylum seekers was in any way counter to his mandate to protect the CNMI, but he was made a scapegoat by the committee nonetheless. Incidentally, how would you have him act, or how would you act yourself if you were AG and there was conflict between actions favorable to the US government or actions favorable to the people of the CNMI? I’m not saying there were conflicts in the case of asylum seekers but what if there were? Would you rather see the AG take the side of the US government to the detriment of the CNMI? Just who is he charged to protect?
I have disagreed with the way he facilitated certain appointments but that is a difference of opinion, there is certainly no malfeasance implied. He was selling a person he thought up to the task, as he should when there is a position to fill.
To claim that he interfered in the delivery of ‘some roaches’ to his girlfriend as one local paper reported is a bit silly. To claim that he was able to influence cargo arrival at all was belied by the customs officer in charge at the time who said he was not influenced by the AGs presence in any way.
Why a particular lawmaker, who drives a taxpayer paid vehicle around himself, would choose to go on and on about the short term use of a government vehicle by a new hire assistant AG is questionable in its motivation. But this too, is cited as a reason to censure Gregory. That the government paid to repair one of it’s own cars is certainly not news….except that they actually paid it timely for a change.
Now we learn that the Minority whip at the legislature wants the AG’s head on a platter for a series of imagined offenses. Not the least of which is the unmentioned opposition to some of the Minority legislator’s pet projects. A resolution has been put forward (HR15-139) calling on the Governor to waste valuable time, like the legislators in question have already done, investigating and ultimately firing Matthew Gregory. No, firing the AG is at best a red herring designed to take our eyes off of other unpleasant but unresolved matters. At worst it is a personal vendetta against a guy who has acted unfavorably to the wishes of the accusing lawmaker on more than one occasion.
Lacking any substantive evidence of real wrongdoing on the part of the AG, I think we and the Governor should ignore this bit of off base puffery and concentrate on more important, real issues, of which there are many facing us right now.
That’s all. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, (but make sure the package has that tax stamp on it)!
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Quote of the week: Methinks he doth protest too much. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) (Actually a widely used paraphrase instead of a quote).
Bruce A. Bateman writes Sour Grapes when the moon is full and the mood strikes. Stay tuned for each exciting episode.
“Yes, he is opinionated.”