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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Someone more delusional than Liz Cheney or Larry Hogan

Editor’s Notebook: Someone more delusional than Liz Cheney or Larry Hogan

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Nope, neither of those two elected officials referenced in the headline are going to be president (or event politically relevant) in coming years, but today’s delusion-of-the-day award goes to the headline-writer for a neighboring newspaper who put “What a Fantastic Time to Be in Public Education!” atop the annual back-to-school column of the Falls Church superintendent of schools.

Now, I appreciated almost all of my teachers, and certainly think most educators today are hardworking and trying to do their best in a very challenging environment. And at least Falls Church (and, to a degree, Fairfax), educational chieftains attempted to react with sanity to the Wild Wild Wuhan that descended in 2020, only to be sucked under the wake of overreaction that afflicted so many aspects of life.

(Soooo much learning loss for, as the record is now making abundantly clear, soooo little gain in public-health outcomes. Sigh.)

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Off the top of my head, I came up with a just a couple of reasons why 2022 may NOT be a “fantastic time” to be a teacher in the public schools:

• A workplace environment where – as just about any competent teacher in public schools will freely admit after a few drinks are in them – mediocrity too often is the acceptable norm, so much so that some excellent teachers have to keep their heads down for fear of drawing umbrage from colleagues who are just going through the motions and don’t want to be shown up.

• A bloated bureaucracy, although word on the street (and you didn’t hear it from me, Starsky …) is that districts like Fairfax are telling all their low-level bureaucrats that they have to get back in the classroom this fall because of a shortage of teachers. Could be a good sign!

• Parents that were out of control in Northern Virginia in years gone by and seem to have only ramped up the crazy. And no, this isn’t about those who show up at School Board meetings to criticize policies; it’s about those who make the lives of teachers, coaches and administrators miserable because their little angels aren’t getting special treatment. It’s a bigger pandemic than COVID in Northern Virginia.

• School Boards that no longer are about education. (I’m old enough to remember when they actually were, but we’re a dying breed indeed.)

• An increasing union presence ushered in during the brief majority of Democrats in the General Assembly and now being implemented by local School Boards, which will only further degrade the ability of teachers to do their jobs. (Anyone who thinks teacher unions exist for the benefit of the rank and file really needs to have their head examined.)

• Say the wrong pronoun and you’ll find yourself hauled into court by a kindergartner with early-onset gender confusion and a lawyer on speed-dial, or say the wrong (even if it’s actually the factually correct) thing in a history class and you’ll have picketers and TV-news crews outside the school by the end of the day.

• And of course the very real threat that, despite promises schools won’t be locked down again if another public-health crisis emerges, weak leaders will cave once again, sending teachers and students back to their respective homes, a sure recipe for failure as the past has proved.

“Fantastic”? Well, maybe not a fantastic time to be in public education. All the more reason we should wholeheartedly thank those who put up with all the garbage that is involved and still give 100% or more to their students. They are true heroes.

– Scott McCaffrey

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