The year is so young and already we are gearing up for a legislativesession, the battle over Maryland's education agenda, changes on theCounty Council and who know what else.
Confused by onrushing events? Allow me to help. Just follow along as you read the Maryland-AnneArundel County 1992 Primer. Mr. McGuffey, eat your heart out!
See the Board of Education member.
He is very upset.
So many students are sick with the flu.
He is sad, sad, sad.
Is he sad because he cares about the students' health?
No, no, no.
He is sad because our county's attendance rates on the Maryland School Performance Program could drop.
The state gets mad at us when our students are sick and attendance goes down.
Down, down, down.
There will be many headaches and chills this winter.
Especially at the Board of Education, where people sweat over MSPP when our children get sick.
Sick, sick, sick.
See the spokeslady.
When teachers say morale is low she says, "Tsk, tsk, tsk."
She says, "They should be happy they have jobs."
Happy, happy, happy.
The spokeslady knows all about being happy in a job.
The taxpayers pay her almost $60,000 a year to speak for Bobby, who already knows how to talk.
George Washington didn't have a spokesman or a spokeslady.
Neither did Abraham Lincoln.
Too bad. If they had, the soldiers in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War could have learned how lucky they were to have had government jobs.
Mahatma Gandhi didn't have a spokeslady.
Neither did Thomas Jefferson.
But Bobby does.
Nowonder Spokeslady Louise thinks everybody should be happy in their jobs.
See County Council Chairman Dave sitting in his big, new office.
"This isn't Dave's office," he says. "It's the chairman's office."
I like people who identify themselves by their title in the third person, don't you?
Remember Richard Nixon?
Chairman Dave's council buddies aren't sure what he'll do next.
Will they have to begin each round of questioning with, "If it pleases you,Chairman Dave?"
Chairman Dave says it's all about professionalismin government.
He knows how important professionalism has been inworld history.
He paid close attention to history when he was in school.
Especially the part about that other council chairman.
The one from France named Napoleon.
See the busy politicians at work passing laws.
Pass, pass, pass.
Politicians are like magicians.
They build stadiums at $200 million that don't cost anybody anything!
They can find the names and addresses of people just by looking at their picture!
Some politicians can even make a lieutenant governor disappear!
And they are all experts at what's wrong with our schools without ever visiting them to find out what's really going on there!
Politicians hate teachers because teachers care more about money than kids.
They can say this because they work in selfless, caring professions such as lawyers, insurance salesmenand bankers.
Care, care, care.
Politicians didn't do well in anatomy at school, though.
A lot of them can't even find their backbones.
But they do care about education.
If they didn't, why would they dole out so much scholarship money to their contributors andconstituents?
Can you say "slush fund?"
See the politicians atwork passing the buck.
Pass, pass, pass.
See the educational bureaucrats shuffling their papers.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
When they aren't shuffling, they invent slogans.
Can you say "Equity?"
Can you say "Success for Every Student?"
Can you say "Schools for Success?"
Good for you. You might become an educational bureaucrat, too!
But be careful. If you love music, art, literature, philosophy, history or science, being an educational bureaucrat mightmake you nervous. They don't like ideas or the arts much.
People with management and education degrees care about implementation plansand the affective domain a whole lot.
They want to engineer society more than they want to teach.
Tinker, tinker, tinker.
Many people in industry and government are very happy with our educational bureaucrats, though.
Industry and government in Japan, that is.
See the scholar discussing knowledge with others.
See the filing clerk desperately trying to keep track of paperwork.
See the social worker trying to convince Janie not to hate her mom.
See the adviser making college suggestions.
See the parent trying to teach a nasty kid how to behave.
Oh, silly me!
That's not a parent!
That's not an adviser, social worker or filing clerk.
That's just a single teacher on any school day.
See the teacher read speeches,editorials and letters to the editor telling him what an incompetentjerk the teacher is.
See the teacher talking to his blackboard, crossing his eyes and biting into a piece of chalk.
Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Albert Einstein were all teachers.
So was Socrates.
He drank hemlock.
Oh well, it was quicker than Louise Hayman, Nancy Grasmick, Robert Neall, William Donald Schaefer and the Maryland General Assembly.
Editor's note: Phil Greenfield, Anne Arundel County Sun music critic, is a teacher at Annapolis High School.