Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Teaching in Kansas? Not for long!

Bob L. Corkins has proven that there
still are less intelligent species of humanity
and many of them migrate here to Kansas.

I made a decision several years ago to go into teaching. I like government and history, so I knew right away what I wanted to do. I spent two and half years and more than $20,000 going to a private school to get a certificate to teach. When I started they kept telling us that there was a shortage of teachers and we’d have no problem getting a job.
But that was before the elections held right before I got my certificate. Now, it’s as if the IQ of the average Kansas has dropped like a rock and only incredibly stupid and ultra-conservative people can now get elected to office. We are talking about people who literally don’t value education. Some want to see public education gone and want vouchers to help eliminate all non-religious education. They definitely don’t want to spend money on teachers and the first year I had my certificate, they had a freeze on hiring teachers.
Maybe things would change after the election? – I thought. Only for the worst. The people in office now are the worst ever.
Today’s Kansas Legislature has made it clear they have not intention of raising any more funds for education. For teachers, such as my self, it pushes us to consider moving somewhere else. This year, the Kansas Legislature made no increase in state aid. Meanwhile, a decline in the state's overall student enrollment has brought reduced federal funding. The district's local option budget authority has been maxed out. Expenses, in general, have increased.
How are teachers, who spend years and money to get certified as I have, supposed to find work in a state as this one?
According to Alicia Henrikson, of the Journal-World, July 12, 2004:

"Sam Rabiola remembers school funding in the 1990s.
“There were tough times,” said Rabiola, an English teacher for the Lawrence school district and president of the Lawrence Education Assn., which represents the city's teachers.
"It would be rough for a couple of years," he said. "But there always was time where it was better."
But that was then.
In the past three years, district officials have substantially cut spending.
Between the 2001-2002 and the 2003-2004 budgets, Lawrence school officials reduced overall spending by $5.1 million, according to Kathy Johnson, district finance director.
This year, the Kansas Legislature made no increase in state aid. Meanwhile, a decline in the state's overall student enrollment has brought reduced federal funding. The district's local option budget authority has been maxed out. Expenses, in general, have increased.”
“Rabiola laughed when asked if he had confidence in the Kansas Legislature.
He said though he trusted the Douglas County legislative delegation to vote for better school funding, most of his hope for increased state aid was with the Kansas Supreme Court.”

The Kansas Legislature has labeled the Kansas Supreme Court judges as “activist judges” who make their own laws. Maybe these leaders have forgotten that this country has mandatory education for all and it cost money.
Meanwhile, they have spent their time making fools of the people of Kansas by trying to dumb down our science standards. The whole country, by now, is aware of the controversy of evolution in the state of Kansas. For those who aren’t up on the situation, the Kansas State School Board is still trying to either include more criticism of evolution from required science or insist on the inclusion of Intelligent Design (ID).Intelligent design sounds innocent enough, at first. The process of creation is too complex to be random. That doesn’t sound controversial since evolution could be argued to have a pattern and intent. But the ID people are creationists. Their view of creation is that a big invisible man in the heavens did a magic show, said a few magic words and the universe was created 6,000 years ago.These people, with totally ridiculous arguments, ridicule studying fossils, carbon dating and all manor of physical science.
For their next trick of stupidity, these people now want special permission for every student to take sex education. And there’s the usual here-say conservatives like to throw around:

“I hear they demonstrate how to put on a condom and beds are used.”

Yeah- Right!

Now enter Bob L. Corkins, selected as the state's new education commissioner by six of our 10 state board of education members. It would be hard to find a less qualified person and less anti-education than this person. Even The Wichita Eagle has been critical of him.
Mike Marlett of our local weekly F5, October 6, 2005, said it best:
“And he's a twit.
Now when I say twit, I really mean he's a guy who has no experience at all, whatsoever, in the job that he was just appointed to. I haven't dug into his background enough to say if he's a twit on his own merits, but the early evidence is strong.
His only claim to education fame is that he is one of the loudest conservative critics saying that public education costs too much, that the Kansas Supreme Court had no right to force the legislature to spend money and that school vouchers will save the world.
He is currently the executive director of the Freestate Center for Liberty Studies and Kansas Legislative Education and Research, and has been since 2001. Prior to that, he was also the director of the Flint Hills Center — that conservative think tank that was so stupid that I actually wrote a column about how stupid they were — for three years before that.”
He added:
“Now, if you think I'm one loan liberal having a knee-jerk reaction, you're right. Let me give you the knee-jerk reaction of a Republican:
The Lawrence Journal World had this gem:
"I almost ran off the road when I heard it," Senate Education Chairwoman Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, said Tuesday after hearing the news.
The Wichita Eagle quoted her as saying this:
"I'm appalled that they would hire someone with no — capital N-O — education experience."

So there it is. I now have no reason to stay here in Kansas. So now I must consider moving next year, out of state, to find a real teaching job. States such as Texas are actually looking for teachers, eve history teachers. Yes, despite all the bad things I’ve heard about Texas, They tell me they value their history. St. Louis, Missouri hires a lot of teachers, so that’s another possibility.

So how do I feel about leaving Wichita? Not much different than I did when I moved to Lawrence back in the 1970s. As I stated in my book Memoirs Of A Drugged-up, Sex-crazed Yippie ---Tales from the 70's Counterculture: Drugs, Sex, Politics and Rock and Roll:

“Neither one of us would miss Wichita very much. It was extremely conservative, a very hostile environment for freaks. It was also just plain boring. There was a real lack of culture. The politics had always been dominated by the right-wing religious cults who continued to control it for years.
Janet once said during one of our many conversations at the Flask:
“Wichita is just a small town that suddenly got real big and the people who live here still think of it as a small town.”
She was right. Culture-wise, no one expected much out of the town and didn’t get any more than expected. For a town that big, the city government couldn’t even see the need to keep their buses running after 6 p.m., as if no one were out or awake after that time.
Local law enforcement spent much of its time chasing after petty vice. Local city commissioners often spent a lot of time trying to sensor movies and plays. The play “Hair” had to cut out a short nude scene before it could be shown in Wichita. Conservative religious coalitions, using words like “concerned” and “decent” in their constantly changing names, attacked anything to do with nudity or homosexuals. Sheriff Starr spent a lot of time trying to regulate massage parlors.
The John Birch Society and other right-wing fringe groups routinely came here to raise funds and gain supporters. Wichita still did not have fluoridated water, which the John Birch Society believed was a communist plot. In short, Wichita was a magnet for right-wing kooks.
The scenery in Wichita is flat and nearly treeless. In the winter it is brown. During the summer it also gets brown and as hot as 107. During the spring and fall, it can go from 20 to 80 degrees in one day. But the weather and scenery might be overlooked if the town wasn’t dominated by right-wing crackpots.”

It’s unfortunate that things have actually gotten worse since I have returned in the 1980s. The town continues to slide to right-wing politics, combined with escapist views on religion. For many people here, religion has replaced reality and they live in a fantasy world. Unfortunately these people have voted for the politicians who have made the mess we are in and I won’t miss it.


1 comment:

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