Should taxpayers get a rebate for schools that aren’t open?

I believe this is a valid and an honest question.

If you pay local property taxes on your home or business, the lion’s share of what you pay goes towards funding your local schools.

Taxpayers pay these school taxes, whether they have school-aged children or not, in order to guarantee the children in their community receive an education, and eventually, hopefully, become intelligent and productive members of society…, at least until they go to college.

If our local governments decide to close our schools, should we still be paying for them?

If they decided to discontinue garbage collection, would you still be forced to pay for that?

Just sayin’.

It really doesn’t matter if you think the schools should be closed or not.

It really doesn’t matter whether your local government is “following the science” or not. 

If the children of our community are not receiving the education we are paying for (and I’m sorry, but this distance learning crap doesn’t count), why shouldn’t the taxpayers get at least a percentage (a big percentage) of the money back that they paid?

Why should teachers get paid for a job they aren’t doing?

Why should the local school district be paid for the upkeep, utilities, and support staffs for buildings our children aren’t using?

And, again, I’m sorry, but this distance learning crap doesn’t count.

No wonder why the teachers are hesitant about going back to work, like in Chicago.

Why go back when you can use COVID as a ready-made excuse, and continue to be paid for doing next to nothing?

Why go back when all of the “the scientists” in the teachers’ unions are overriding the scientists from the CDC (Center for Disease Control)?

Now I’ve heard that the Biden administration considers a school “re-opened” if they hold classes one day a week. 

If you say so, Illegitimate Joe.

This was one of the Biden administration’s “clarifications” of their official policy.

That’s funny, because only a month ago these “clarifications” were called lies.  

If it’s one thing we have learned, it’s that “it’s all about the money,” and not “all about the kids.”  

If the teachers stopped getting paid, and the school districts stopped getting their share of the money, the schools would be reopening so fast it would make your head spin!

Of course, hell would freeze over before a penny of taxpayer money was ever returned to the taxpayers.

That being said, there are many taxpayers across our country who really should be receiving some of their hard-earned money back.

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Following the Science?

For how long and how many times have we heard the liberals decry, “We have to follow the Science?”

Well, apparently, “following the Science” is only a popular liberal catch phrase which is trotted out when it suits their intentions and their politics.

Democrats (blue state governors in particular) have used the China virus as a means to impose a wide range of impositions on our Constitutional freedoms in the name of safety.  

Some based on “following the Science,” and some not so much.  

Usually only when it was politically convenient.

Dr. Richard Besser, for Fox News, says that, “Despite coronavirus, science is NOT telling us to close schools.”

But how could that be?!

We MUST “follow the Science,” right?!

“Sound science, like the coronavirus itself, is apolitical. Most everything else this year — including decisions on whether to close schools — is not.”

I think if we’ve learned anything these last four years, it’s that nothing is apolitical anymore.

Nothing.

“As the pandemic enters its deadliest phase to date, government leaders and school districts are having to make extraordinarily difficult decisions about whether to continue in-person learning amid record communitywide surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Excuse me, but these aren’t “extraordinarily difficult decisions” at all.

The Teachers’ Union has made those decisions for our illustrious political “leaders.”  

“New York City’s decision to close schools indefinitely, and the decision in my home state of New Jersey to allow school districts to keep them open, offers a stark contrast in how the two states with the highest death rates for COVID-19 are managing this crisis.”

“As a pediatrician and a parent, I understand the fear, confusion, and even anger that parents and caregivers face today as policymakers grapple with school decisions.”

Can’t you just envision those policymakers “grappling” with those school decisions into the wee hours of the morning?!

“We know that being in the classroom benefits children socially, emotionally and academically.”

Oh, yeah…, so, what’s the problem?

Isn’t it all about the kids?

Of course it’s not.

Huge numbers of these kids have been thrown out with the trash by these supposed caring liberals.

Many of these kids depend on school for at least one or two decent meals each day.

“On the other hand, virtual learning can be a sound option — and when transmission rates rise to unsafe levels, a necessary one — if a student has a computer, a good Internet connection, a quiet workspace, and no special learning needs. For millions of families without these luxuries, however, it’s an unworkable burden and educational disadvantage that many children could bear for a lifetime.”

Ya…, “It’s an unworkable burden and educational disadvantage that many children could bear for a lifetime,” but it’s a sacrifice the liberals and the Teachers’ unions are willing to bear for them on their behalf.  

“From a health perspective, it appears that most children fare well if infected, but they can still spread the coronavirus to higher-risk people in their homes, communities and yes, schools. But when schools have the necessary resources and follow strict protocols, in-person learning has worked remarkably well without accelerating community spread.”

Not according to the teachers, apparently.

“Knowing this, we should do all we can to keep kids in school by providing the funds for proper staffing, equipment, protective gear and ventilation systems. Without these supports, we cannot expect schools to remain open.”

Ok, there we go…, we just need to provide more funding.

We should all know by now that it’s always about the money.

The current CDC Director, Robert R. Redfield, says, “Schools are among the safest places kids can be.”

I guess he isn’t considered to have anything to do with “Science.”

“Achievement gaps could be exacerbated when students are out of school, placing yet another burden on children of color.”

“However, the science and data now tell us a much more nuanced story, and we must adapt as new information arrives. That is the fundamental value of rapid learning during a crisis. With differing approaches, schools have shown that safe in-person learning is possible.”

“That’s why New York City’s decision last week to close schools seems to be a case of following a rigid plan written before we knew schools could remain open safely. The city’s test-positive threshold of 3% — established well before the school year began — has been eclipsed, triggering closures. Yet a mere 0.23% of students in the city’s public schools have tested positive. In fact, New York schools have been a pandemic success story.”

“Governors nationwide are under pressure to follow New York’s lead and close schools, no matter what the data shows. With nearly 200,000 cases a day being reported in the U.S., some of those cases will undoubtedly be teachers, students and staff.”

Why would governors nationwide be under any kind of pressure to follow New York’s lead?

The state of New York, New York City, Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio have the worst COVID record of any state in the nation.

So, “the Pressure” is on other governors to follow their political lead, not their successful dealing with the virus lead.

Just so we’re clear about that.  

“However, decisions on school closures should be driven by data on transmission linked to schools and not on anecdotes or outdated metrics. Public pressure, I fear, is going to make it increasingly difficult in the weeks ahead for governors to stick to the science-based guidance on school closures.”

“Science-based guidance?”

And “public pressure” has no effect on these slimy democrats anymore.

Their friends, the fake news, liberal propaganda, media will just ignore and spin “the pressure” whichever way they want.   

“In the spring, New Jersey was among the hardest hit per capita by COVID-19, with the nation’s highest death rate. But this fall, New Jersey schools have not been the problem. The state’s governor, Phil Murphy, issued a joint statement with six other Northeast governors last week that said in part: ‘In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families.’”

“That’s the crux of why we need to do all we can to keep children in schools. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black, Latino and Native American communities with dramatically higher rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Where is Black Lives Matter on this issue?

Where are any of the democrats on this issue?

Oh, I forgot…, the election is over, so the democrats can go back to ignoring any of the issues affecting the Black, Latino and Native American communities. 

Just sayin’.  

“Because of the inequitable way schools are funded in much of America, (And whose fault is that?) achievement gaps could be exacerbated when students are out of school, placing yet another burden on children of color at the very moment when our nation is forging a new path forward based on racial equity and justice.”

“We know, too, that education is just one facet of what our schools provide. Many families — especially those with parents working full-time, one-parent households, and low-income households — also rely on schools for healthy meals, technology support, and before- and after-hours child care.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the perversion of our national priorities. We need to treat teachers and school staff like the indispensable front-line workers they are and support them as such.”

I think we are, aren’t we?

The teachers appear to be the ones who aren’t comfortable being front-line workers.

Yes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the perversion of our national priorities,” but the “perversions” are much more far reaching than the good doctor understands, or is willing to acknowledge.

“At the same time, we must reject the false choice that we either sacrifice teachers or do harm to our children. In the next critical months, we must come together and follow the science so that the greatest public health crisis in a century doesn’t also become an educational crisis.”

Uh…, the “educational crisis” is already here, and has been here for quite a while already.

Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician, is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, America’s largest health philanthropy, based in Princeton, N.J. He serves on the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Commission. He was acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @DrRichBesserio 

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Teacher student loan forgiveness…, now you see it…, now you don’t!

In an attempt to lure people into public service, Congress designed the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program in 2007 to reduce the student debt burden for borrowers with a decade of service in government or nonprofit jobs.

That seems like a pretty decent deal.

You go to college, get your degree, get a job as a teacher, or some other job that serves the public, work at that job for at least 20 years, faithfully make at least 120 monthly payments on your student loans, and then get the remainder of your loans forgiven.

The only problem is Congresses’ program is a sham.

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This would seem to be a clear case of what we call “adding insult to injury.”

99% of the people applying for this loan forgiveness, even though they qualify, are denied loan forgiveness.

Oh…, and I forgot the part about going through the painful process of documenting and submitting everything to the Department of Education before being unceremoniously denied.

Then, according to Aarthi Swaminathan and Reggie Wade for Yahoo! News, “Responding to this extreme denial rate of the program in 2018, Congress approved funding to expand the number of borrowers in an initiative called the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF).”

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So Congress, performing at a level of ineptness only it could achieve, doubled down on its ineffectiveness.

We stupidly went through the painful process of documenting and submitting everything…, again…, to the Department of Education (DOE) before being unceremoniously rejected…, again!

“As of May this year, the DOE had received 54,000 requests for TEPSLF and only approved 1% of these requests.”

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‘“We recognize that the many restrictive eligibility requirements of PSLF and TEPSLF make the program difficult for borrowers to understand and navigate,’ Jeff Appel [an administrator for] Federal Student Aid [via] the U.S. Department of Education wrote in his testimony. ‘We are absolutely committed to helping borrowers navigate this complexity.’”

Yes, Mr. Appel, we are all thoroughly impressed by your commitment.

The question is, why does it have to be so complex?

The whole process seems like it should be pretty clear cut.

Like I said earlier, “You go to college, get your degree, get a job as a teacher, or some other job that serves the public, work at that job for at least 20 years, faithfully make at least 120 monthly payments on your student loans, and then get the remainder of your loans forgiven.”

If you can document that you meet all of these requirements, they should hold up their end of the bargain.

Am I right?

Illegal immigrants don’t seem to have any problem “navigating” their way through getting all of their freebies and federal benefits, which they so richly deserve!

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“One of 99% was Kelly Finlaw, a public school teacher in New York who recently testified about her experience with FedLoan Servicing.”

‘“I was misled. Not just by FedLoan, but by other servicers. I was lied to,’ Finlaw testified to Congress last week.”

‘“I did what I was asked to do. I called, I made my payments on time. I paid every month,’ Finlaw said, later adding: ‘After 10 years of making student loan payments, October 2017 was my month — my light at the end of the tunnel. I remember standing in my living room when the light at the tunnel went dark.’”

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“This summer, Finlaw joined the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union in the U.S., in a lawsuit that calls on the U.S. government to fix the PSLF program.”

‘“Large numbers of borrowers have pursued careers in public service, sometimes at lower pay than in the private sector, with the hope of one day achieving loan forgiveness through the PSLF program,’ Melissa Emrey-Arras, the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO’s) director of education workforce and income security issues, wrote in her testimony. ‘Education needs to take action to better serve these borrowers and help smooth their long road towards loan forgiveness.’”

This sounds good Ms. Emrey-Arras, but we all know these are just more empty words.

Just another example of how much we value our educators.

I’ll keep you posted on when…, if ever, this situation gets resolved.

I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you.

 

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As far as support for educating our children goes…, actions (and money) speak louder than words.

No one would deny that educating our children properly and effectively should be one our society’s highest priorities.

Right?

I mean, every election cycle, isn’t “education” always a hot topic?

Isn’t the education of the country’s children a priority?

Many of us talk a good “education” game, but then when it comes to putting money where our mouths are, we drop the ball.

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We can talk about the importance of “education” all we want…, but the numbers don’t lie.

If we value “education,” then don’t we have to value our teachers as well?

After all, what is “education” without teachers?

Effective learning and effective teaching go hand in hand.

But the numbers don’t lie…, and apparently, we don’t value our teachers very much at all.

If we look at the top 25 paying jobs in America, per the Glassdoor website, we won’t find any teaching jobs here.

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But they must be fairly close to making the top 25 list, right?

I mean in order to even be hired as a teacher, a bachelor’s degree in “Education” is required, along with a “teachable” minor degree. State competency tests must be passed, and a background check must be passed as well, before someone can then be “certified” as a “teacher.”

On-going professional training and college level courses must then be completed prior to being re-certified every five years.

Note: Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. Glassdoor also allows users to anonymously submit and view salaries as well as search and apply for jobs on its platform.

So where do teachers come in?

Well, according to the United States Department of Labor, with data as of 2018, the highest ranking teaching position would be a college law professor.  Ranking at number 37, with an average annual salary of $130,710.

Next on their list would be a college medical professor.  Ranking at number 46, and averaging $122,320 annually.

We continue to see more college level positions scattered throughout the next 64 positions…, which then brings us to Elementary and Secondary Education Administrators, ranked at 110, earning $98,750 annually.

But that’s the “Administrators.”

So our regular old “school teachers” should be coming up soon, right?

As we continue through the list, I don’t see them as we go all the way down to number 200.

I then continue down the list, and I still don’t see teachers listed in the top 300!

Then finally…, there…, all the way down at position 370 are our elementary and secondary teachers, with an average yearly salary of $62,200.

Yes folks…, we value our children’s education so much that we are willing to pay their teachers an average of $62K per year.

We value our children’s education so much that their teacher’s salary ranks 370th on the list of highest paying jobs in our country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

370th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s hard to believe isn’t it?

But the numbers don’t lie.

But 370th?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That means that there are 369 jobs out there that are apparently more valuable than being a teacher.

Off the top of your head…, could you list 10-15 jobs more important, or more difficult than being a teacher?

How about 15-25 jobs more important, or more difficult than being a teacher?

How about 100 jobs?!

200 jobs?!

300 jobs?!

369 jobs?!

Well, I think you get my point.

Teachers being ranked at number 370 on this list is absolutely ridiculous and a slap in the face to all of our teachers out there.

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I have to admit that I have personally been an elementary teacher and a high school teacher in my life, so I do carry some bias here…,

But number 370?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously?!

Believe me, it’s not easy managing the behavior of a classroom full of kids, while managing to instruct them across a curriculum with multiple subjects, not to mention all of the life lessons teachers impart regarding communicating, getting along with others, manners, etc.

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And many, many teachers have to pay for many of their own classroom supplies and snacks on top of it!

And yet, some individuals will still say that teachers are overpaid!!!!

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Yes…, some say that Teachers’ salaries are driving up their taxes…, and that they only work 9 or 10 months a year on top of it!

Some people feel that Teachers are just glorified babysitters and that they should be paid as such.

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Okay…, well, let’s look at this scenario and see how much money we’d all save!

We can get a “babysitter” for way less than minimum wage, right?

That’s right!  Let’s give these “teachers” $3.00 an hour, which isn’t bad at all for your average babysitter…, and only for the hours they actually are in class; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school on grading papers, attending special programs, parent conferences, or running clubs or coaching sports.

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That would come to $19.50 a day (7:45 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., with 45 min. off for lunch and planning.  That equals 6 1/2 hours).  Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30?  So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!!

Aha!!!

We’re not going to pay these teachers for any vacation days!

So, let’s see…, that’s $585 X 180 then, or…, $105,300 per year?

Wait…, what?!  That can’t be right!  That’s way more than their making now!

How could that be?!

(That would move teachers all the way up the list to number 83!  That’s much better, but still quite low in comparison.)

But wait!

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees?

Well, we could be extra generous and pay them minimum wage ($7.75), you know…, like if they worked at Taco Bell or McDonald’s, and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8.00 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year!

I think we just lost a few of our complaining taxpayers!

I also think it’s time for us as a nation to get serious about our children’s education.

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NOTE:  If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please “click” on the comment icon just to the right of the date at the bottom of this article.  From there you can let me know you “like” my blog, leave a comment or click the “Follow” button which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.

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