Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Like playing with Photo Booth for no reason other than boredom.

It's the last week of July and I'm getting a little jittery/angsty. I have no textbooks (at least not the correct ones). I have no classroom, let along keys, no schedule, no student list.

Ok, I know all of those things are a little too early to expect when the first day is August 31. And I know there is nothing I, or my school and the district can do to expedite things. They wouldn't want to anyway - things will change and continue changing up to and through the first day.

All the better reason to be as prepared as possible. I can't figure out an exact schedule yet, but I've been lesson planning and brushing up on my algebra teaching methods. I've been trying to plan fun things in between all the lecture-type lessons and exams. It makes me rather anxious to have a floating "plan" like this though, with nothing really tied down to a particular date except for the first and last days of schools, and the school holidays.

Chill out! It'll get done, things will be ok. And if it isn't, well, that's ok too. I can handle it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Please wait for teacher mode to load

Favorite thing to eat when sick: rice porridge with an egg and soy sauce.

How does one get sick in the middle of summer? It doesn't seem logical. 

It also isn't bad enough for me to skip out work today. Just sick enough to want to stay in bed and watch The Hurt Locker.

Tuesday art classes has an insecurely attached four-year-old who cried solidly for the entire time last class, and this kid who came back to take another art class after that 3-day camp was over. Surprising, since I got the impression that she didn't like art very much. They make the class unpleasant. Need to muster up the energy to counter these two negative influences in my classroom. Hence, eating yummy, nourishing things today. Some coffee wouldn't hurt too.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New things, old things

Finally got a new camera today, to replace camera, the Nikon that I left in DC in April, and have given up hope of ever seeing again. Although J did not confirm that she had sent it in the mail. I just don't think I'll ever see it again.

Which is ok. This Canon was on sale, and in general, I prefer Canons over Nikons. More new photos now, and fewer regurgitations of old ones. w00t!

Tossed out some more old papers, expired condiments, and other junk around the house that desperately needed to be retired from my life. This continual cleaning is nice. Cathartic.

In other news, even though I got the wrong math books last week, I've been studying them anyway. How different are middle school Algebra textbooks from other middle school Algebra textbooks? Brushing up on graphic organizers and teaching methods to-be-used on future students. Fun stuff. At least it takes my mind off of today being the first year anniversary that Momiji came into my life. Still miss him.

Worked at the local rabbit shelter this past weekend. Had forgotten how jittery and untrusting rabbits are when you first handle them. Momo HATED me when I first got him. It takes a lot of patience and consistency to break into a rabbit's personality - hey, reminds me of a profession I know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Overheard on the front lines


Time: Thursday, 3:45 PM
Location: Can't Get Any More Central California Than This Central California Town
Activity: Cartooning class with 6-10 year olds

The set up:
I make my students raise their hands and wait for me to call on them before speaking. For the most part, I pretty much call on hands right when I see them because a) if I wait too long, sometimes the kid will shout out anyway, interrupting whatever I'm saying, which gets annoying, and b) I want my students to be actively engaged in class and having them feel good about voluntary participation satisfies that, in part.

This one particular class has one particular kid who has issues with forming the hand-raising habit. Probably because he's only about six years old, or because his previous teacher never really enforced a hand-raising rule, or because he's never had to ask for anything in his short, young life since he is just that well-taken care of by his mother. Or a combination of any of those reasons, and then some.

Thus, the following:

Me: (sees kid raise his hand without shouting out. I'm in the middle of explaining how to draw a tricky section of the day's cartoon so I make one of those flash decisions that teacher's make thousands of every day and wait until I've brought the class through the tricky part to call on him)

Mom #1: (unbeknownst to her, she speaks just several seconds before the completion of the tricky part) Excuse me! My child has his hand up!

Me: Yes, I know. Just a moment please.

Mom #1: Oh.

Lo, and behold, literally five seconds later we were done with the tricky drawing and I called on the kid. I was tempted to make the kid wait a little longer after his mom spoke. But I suppose making a student wait longer than necessary just to teach his mother a little patience wasn't so fair.

Later, during clean up time, I overheard this among the parents, including the mom from above:

Mom #1: So what do you do?

Mom #2: I'm a teacher.

Mom #1: Oh, so am I!

::insert typical filler info of where, what, how etc.::

Interesting. Dear Parent, if you are a teacher - an elementary teacher as you so claim - then you must know of that little strategy called "planned ignore," either for behavior or to create a smooth flow of instruction timing. She must have forgotten. I suppose being a parent, and advocating for your child takes precedence over your teacher training.

Which is reasonable. Parents are supposed to watch out for their child's needs and wants. But let's just say this: With each passing day, I'm getting more and more thankful that I will be working with middle school students - most of whose parents have mellowed out and relaxed their grip. Or so I should hope.

Note: Yes, I am biased slightly against helicopter parents, perhaps because of my experience with my own parents. I really wish some of them would just chill out, like the "Mom Who Stays Within A Radius Of Five Inches From Her Son At All Times" or "Father Who Does His Child's Art Work For Her During A Class That He Paid For In Order For His Child To Learn How To Do Art Herself" or "Parent Who Calls The Teacher Every Other Day Complaining About The B- Their Child Received On A Minor Assignment."

Or am I the one that is really too chill, as some parents have implied to me? I don't think so, but doubt settles in after a full summer of art teaching where I interact mainly with helicopters.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh summer

How I love thee, summer. Despite all the turmoil that's already happened, I do enjoy these leisurely days. Let's count them:

- The luxury of waking up at 6 AM and knowing I can lounge in bed for another hour, or four, before actually getting up.

- Endless blue skies, sunshine that makes you doze off, and fluffy white clouds in the shape of bunnies.

- Water games. w00t!

- That glorious feeling of being untethered to a schedule. This one rocks in epic fashion.

- Getting all sorts of things done that I normally wouldn't have the time, or energy for during most of the school year. Such as washing my car BEFORE it gets entirely encrusted with buggies and winged friends. Or steam cleaning the carpet IN EVERY SINGLE ROOM OF THE HOUSE, not just spot cleaning. Or rummaging through closets, drawers, cabinets, and other hidey-holes to clear out all sorts of random, useless things collected with good intentions but unfortunately without proper follow through.

- Clothes shopping is something I do only once or twice a year. Well, the actual purchasing part, that is. I go window shopping a few more times than that. Taking advantage of all the summer sales.

I hope all teachers get to enjoy their time off to the fullest.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rubber rooms and strait jackets

I was scrolling through when I stumbled upon this 2009 article from The New Yorker. It's a long article, and I got so horrified with everything written in the article that I stopped half-way through reading it.

I suppose I really should read the whole thing. But when I say I'm disgusted with everything the article talks about, I mean EVERYTHING. Both sides. All sides, all parties involved and some parties that were not involved, but could have prevented the current situation anyway.

I haven't been this saddened or disappointed at the American education system - no, at humanity in a very, very long time. I am disappointed in my fellow teachers. I am disgusted with the teacher's union. I am ashamed of my government officials - both the elected and non-elected kind. This is it. This is the cycle Professor L talked about.

But what to do? What to do? What can I do among all this mistrust and stubbornness? This agenda seeking, politics driven mess?

And this is quickly edging out my previous #1 fear of the teaching profession. It used to be that I was afraid of burn out. Afraid to be that statistic, getting higher by the year: of one in five teacher quitting teaching by their third year. I had such a plan to protect myself from burn out - exercise, sleep, not taking work home with me, not hanging out in toxic teacher's lounges, weaning myself from talking about work outside of work, taking breaks, being vigilant about my personal well being.

I'm still afraid of burn out, but the fear of being found incompetent, of not meeting the TPE standards, of my skills and my knowledge and my work and the effort I put in not being enough. Good Lord, I hope I see those signs and remove myself from this profession before it gets too serious. Because burn out and being observed as incompetent can sometimes be the same thing. Really, who on earth makes good decisions when they are physically and mentally exhausted?

Still, there has to be a better way. There just has to.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Half of these three months of summer has gone by quite quickly. The first day of school still seems very far away, although I'm sure I'll be panicking and waking up at 3 AM with classroom nightmares once August officially rolls around. However, these quiet days are nice too: reading, watching movies, art camp teaching, road trips, a short weekend trip for a good friend's baby shower, weddings, planning water games, crafting, cooking, challenging my non-existent engineering skills my brother is deluded that I have by sending me a 3D "assembly required" model of the Eiffel Tower. Even the deep, dark hole that the death of my rabbit left has begun to fill in a little bit - volunteering at my local rabbit shelter helps.

Thinking a lot about the BTSA. My school district calls it by something else, partially because they do it a little differently. Instead of a fellow teacher at my own school being my mentor, I'll have an experienced teacher who's sole job is to observe, critic, and give me wake up calls from complacency. Which is nice. Because even the most veteran of teachers will find their attentions torn with the work load of their own classroom as well as a needy n00bie like me.

The mentor is shared among all the other BTSA program inductees, but there won't be more than a handful of us - mostly math teachers - because I know for a fact from an HR clerk that my district hasn't hired anyone new in at least five years.

Hold up. FIVE YEARS? And no new teacher hires? That's the norm for this past year, and perhaps the previous one too in certain areas. But five? I'm shocked at the implications this little statistic holds, and I'm ever more awed at just how lucky I got.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dear colleagues who teach 3 year olds

Sweet, devilish faces just waiting to inhale your art supplies when you're not looking.

Oh my freaking poohcow. How on earth do you do it? How do you keep a bunch of mini-kids entertained, rounded up, and non-whiny day in and day out? Because my experience with them this past week has been both horrific and hilarious at the same time.

First of all, it is worthwhile to note that one-and-a-half hours of drawing is NOT sufficient to keep 3 year olds within the grasp of my control. I barely managed fit 30 minutes of drawing each day.

Ok. 60 minutes to go. Now what?

And thus, I find out how important it is for teachers of mini-kids to have a box of goodies - toys, puzzles, books, stuffed animals, kush balls, blocks, etc - around. I also discover how much cash kinder teachers shell out to outfit their room with these items. Goodness, and I was complaining about the cost of paper and pencils for the intermediate grades.

Supplies, and keeping my group entertained, were not the biggest issue. No. I found the complete lack of logic indescribable. Why do we have to color? Why do we have to draw? What is that for? What is that sound? What is that sound again, when I have already explained that it is the air conditioning TEN PREVIOUS TIMES. Why is your hair black? What makes the table squeaky? Can I go potty? Can I go potty again? Can I go potty RIGHT HERE ON THE CARPET? No? Oops, I DID IT ANYWAY. I'm hungry, SO I'M GOING TO EAT THIS HERE GLUE - the glue that is supposed to be used on my ladybug craft, which, by the way, is looking less like a ladybug and more like the entire foam isle of Joann's had been chewed up and regurgitated by a cow.

No, I do not understand - nor do I ever want to understand - the mind of a preschool kid. On the plus side, I can make up whatever nonsense I want, tell it with a straight face and they'll believe me. What happens if you eat the purple glue stick, Timmy you ask? IT WILL TURN YOUR POOP PURPLE, that's what happens. Cool, right? Glad you like it Timmy, because it will also turn your butt purple AND IT WILL REMAIN SO UNTIL YOU TURN 21.

Needless to say, I was entirely too grateful when the end of the art camp arrived and I said good bye to my little munchkins with hugs and "I love yous" and cards and flowers. Good lord parents who are probably about the same age as me. I taught your kid for FOUR DAYS. I'm curious what you might give me if I had taught your experimental gastronome of a child for a full school year. A diamond encrusted apple paper weight?

What a huge difference ten years makes. By the time these kids enter 8th grade, most of their mommies would have gone back to work and the masses of parent volunteers lining outside the school would have dried up. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's nice when the students you teach don't need you to hold their hand anymore - that's the whole point, is it not?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Media Mondays: Copenhagen love

Screen capture from Google Maps.

This blog, half girl, has been on my radar for a little more than a year. I found it through another of my favorite fashion/style/photo blogs, and it is awesome. Whenever I feel dumpy, or dense, or gross in any sense, I go here and become inspired by the pretty pictures and little text.

Absolutely non-education related, it did put Copenhagen on the map for me. Not that I didn't know where Copenhagen was before, but I never knew it to be so...casually sophisticated. Not exactly the right words to describe it. You'll have to go and see half girl's blog yourself. Also, this one: Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

I'm pretty sure not ALL of Copenhagen is like this, just like not ALL of California are Hollywood hardbodies, or hippie-shaking vegans. But I'm intrigued, and I definitely want to go. And since I truly believe travel is just another form of education, well, then I suppose it is education related after all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Math CSET: Algebra, Number Theory, Geometry, Statistics

Oh dear friends, the luxury of knowing you for the sake of knowing you is sometimes hard to afford.

Holy stinking poohcow, that was one difficult test. It was NOTHING like the practice tests in the study guide - both from the book by REA and the ones from the CSET exam site itself. It took me an average of 2.5 hours to do each test (I did four total in preparation for this), and I squeaked by with a low passing grade on all of them.

The real thing: 5 hours given, 5 hours used. And I still ended up rushing the final long answer problems, not even completing one of them. I think I did ok on subtest II (the geo and stats). However, subtest I revealed my blatant ignorance in numerical analysis in very uncomfortable ways. It would be a miracle if I passed that - and purely because I did ok on the number theory problems.

In any case, I'm not holding my breath. Good thing my position in the fall isn't contingent on me passing the math CSET. The signs weren't in my favor at all leading up to this test:

- The proctors took FREAKING FOREVER to get everyone situated. You would think after decades of giving this test there would be a more efficient way of signing in. The cellphone-nazi lady who kept rotated through the rooms every five minutes for the first forty-five minutes didn't help much.....

- ....Which contributed to the bad mood I was already in due to the heat, dehydration from crying so much, sad thoughts of Momo, and the hundred people chattering away giddily, speaking fast enough to rival clucking chickens, about "subbing" or "applications" or "credential programs" or....hold up. That was ME not too long ago. Whoa. Did I sound that annoying too? I'll keep that in mind.

- My last two remaining Muji pencils broke. My lucky pencils! They brought me through so many math exams - the ones where I was so sure I had failed but didn't.

- The lady who was clearing all the calculator memories kept making people's calculators do weird things. She even broke one of them. Good thing my trusty TI-86 has been through worse than errant button punching.

Well, glad it's over with at any rate. I did learn one thing, or was reminded of it more like: passing the test and saving a whole bunch of tuition money is sweet, but in the end, I think I prefer taking the courses. All this cram-studying is exactly the type of learning I hold in much less priority than really learning the material and understanding it deeply. You get to meet people, and collaborate, and argue math logic with your professor until they are so exasperated with you that they kick you out their office. What? That's never happened to you? Um, well, me neither! ::cough::

Friday, July 9, 2010

When a week feels like years

Enjoy the Great Meadow of Carrots Beyond. You'll be able to eat as much as you want without getting sick.

So much has happened since last week. A summary:

- I was offered a 0.8 eighth grade Algebra teaching position, with maybe a sixth grade social studies or a math intervention period thrown in. Of course I accepted. I will definitely start the BTSA this fall.

- I canceled my flight to Hong Kong and notified the NET position people that I had accepted earlier. Sad that I don't get to go now, but glad that I got a bigger offer last minute.

- I also told my current bosses about the changes. Will be back to tutoring and art teaching for the rest of the summer. I might even be on the sub list for art teaching in the fall - they have classes out by my new middle school too.

- My rabbit died suddenly. He was getting better after the first visit to the vet's, and taking his meds. But he regressed. I'm less sad about his actual dying than about how young he was when he went - only a little more than a year old! I had him for only 50 weeks, just under a year! I was so looking forward to bringing him with me and sharing new adventures with him in a new home. I know that's life, but it really isn't fair. The vet did an autopsy and I'll know the results when I go in to pick up his cage and settle the bill today. Oh Momo. ::sigh::

- Math CSET tomorrow afternoon. I am so not ready. And after Mo died, I don't have the energy or concentration to study more than an hour a day. My weakest areas are real analysis and statistics - the two topics I never took as an undergrad. It crossed my mind to not go - but I think I actually have a chance at scraping a pass. That, and it's too late to change the test date. Nor do they refund your $70-per-subtest fee. And Momo would not have given up. He tried all his life to jump over his enclosure - a good three-and-a-half feet tall. He managed to cling, spiderman-like, to the top of the cage, but of course a little bunny won't have the power to clear that fence. Still, he persisted. I should at least try my best too.

Hm. Looking at this now, it doesn't seem like a lot has happened in black and white. But it has felt like a long, long time.

Also of note: I think I can make a Fibonacci lesson using rabbits. Yes, it might work. And I can ask the local rabbit shelter (which I signed up to volunteer with) to bring some bunnies to school - or maybe have students go there for extra credit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In less than a week

I'm taking this in less than a week. Not feeling nervous about it - I think I should be. By all accounts, this is an extremely difficult test. But this study book I've been working on isn't too difficult. Why? Is there a disconnect between the test and the available prep books? I really should take a look at the online sample questions.

I'm sure the long answer questions are going to be more difficult. Ack. Ok, more nervous now. Study, study, study!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lessons from the vet

I had to take this chubby poofball to the vet yesterday because he wasn't eating and he wasn't drinking and he wasn't pooping properly. I try really hard not to feed him anything weird, or give him too many treats, but it's hard with that face and the fact that the only way I've managed to make him sit still to nail clipping is to give him carrots. I guess I have him too much. Not to mention that my parents like to feed him behind my back too, so I never really know how much he's getting because they don't tell me, even when I ask.

So he spend a night at the vet's taking meds to make him poop and being hydrated. He had masses of poops, the vet said, and should be ok. A sample is being done in the lab to make sure Mo doesn't have parasites. He's not a 100%, but he's drinking and eating and pooping right again. He does seem pretty tired, poor guy.

Lesson #1: I am willing to pay the $500 for vet hospital care. It didn't come down to that much, because Mo responded really well to the meds, but still. There are some things I'll shell out for, and this is one of them.

Lesson #2: Keeping a delicate pet like a rabbit while keeping my parents educated as to what he needs is no easy task. No matter how I yell at them, or how I tell them that rabbits are NOT DOGS AND NO HE CANNOT EAT THAT, the message doesn't really get through.

Lesson #3: Vets see stupid people who do stupid things to their pets all the time. They get frustrated too when they see a patient who's owner is stupider than stupid.

My vet was kinda grumpy at me in the beginning, but today, when I went to pick Mo up, he was nicer. Apparently, it was a much more mild case than he thought. And that I wasn't as stupid as he thought I was.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shocked and astounded

Would being only seven play a part too? But most seven year olds I know DO say "thank you"....

This week, I taught a 3-day art camp with the local parks and rec, ending today. It was fun. Five students, all girls. We worked with only pastels - both chalk and oil.

The youngest in the group, a seven year old with some sort of auditory/social disability (my personal opinion - the parent did not tell me this, but it's my guess from what I've observed) gave me some issues yesterday and today.


I was showing another student how to make her blending look more natural when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this kid feebly reach for the box, give up after one try, and the purposefully flings the pastel in her hand across the table. It lands smack in front of me, on my demo paper.

I excuse myself from the student I was working with and go over to the kid, asking her why she thought throwing was a good idea. She mumbles and mutters and says something about "can't reach." I tell her if she can't reach the box, then she needs to ask, "Can you help me put this back?" and I would gladly help her. She continues to mumble and her face starts screwing up into a fake cry (it was oh-so-fake, could have been spotted a mile away). I persist, asking her to speak up in a clear voice. She finally manages it, only to yell at me to leave her alone and that I was bothering her.

Yes, yes I am bothering you! You! Who threw a pastel at me! The teacher! I have every right to bother you, to make you mind the rules, because you have no right to fling my art supplies around like that!

I make her apologize. I make her ask me politely to help her put the pastel back. Then, I prompt her to say the magic words.

And the kid stares at me as if I was crazy. She wasn't faking it. She sincerely had NO IDEA what the "magic words" were.

Are. You. Joking.

I didn't even blink. I turned to the rest of the class, who have now been sitting in tense silence throughout this exchange, trying their best to ignore it, and ask:

"Can any one help her out and tell her what the first word of the magic words are?"

A couple of the other students whisper it, and the seven year old thanked me. I gave her a broad smile and said, "You're welcome" as if she was one of my pre-school kids just learning social manners - you know how excited mini-kids get when you make a big deal out of them for saying "please" and "thank you." I was hopping it would give this kid a kick so that she wouldn't do it again.

Oh boy, did I set my hopes too high.


Right after I set down the pastels and the girls got to work, I noticed the seven year old not doing anything. I make a couple rounds first, giving her some space. Perhaps she was thinking. Perhaps she was tired and needed a break.

Ten minutes later, she still wasn't doing anything. A dark look of sullen sulk had settled upon her face. I amble over, friendly-like, and asked her what was up. She mumbled again. I asked her to repeat.

Kid: I don't want to use those.

She pointed to the chalk pastels. Yes, chalk pastels are notorious. I hate them too, personally. They are messy, and you breath it in, and it's a pain in the butt to do kid-art with them. But I had given my instructions. They were to be used for specific parts of the picture, and the oils for the other parts.

I told her that, even though it's good that she has her opinion, everyone sometimes has to do things they don't really want to.

Oh, boy. The fit that ensued. It wasn't a noisy, tantrum. It was one of those quiet, seething fits. She screwed up her face, just like the day before, grunting and moaning and wiping away imaginary tears. By this time, I had a hunch that this was the tactic she used at home whenever her mom suggested something she didn't like. It looked rehearsed, practiced. She was good at it.

But not good enough.

I told her I needed to speak to her outside. Changing scenery often helps with behavior management, especially with younger students. I made her stand right outside the door, and I stood with her, one foot in and one foot out. I told her in a quiet, firm, and calm voice with no uncertain terms that she was wasting time. She was wasting my time, the other student's time, her own time. Her parents had paid a lot of good money for her to be in art class, and she was disrespecting that.

I told her she had a choice. She could calm down, go back to her seat and do art. Or, she could calm down, go inside, sit at the back table, and do nothing. I asked her she wanted to choose.

She chose art.

Certainly, I've seen worse behavior than this kid's show. However, I have never been more flabbergasted. Seriously. Except for the mild discomfort of using chalk pastels, she had nothing to complain about! She wasn't hungry, or thirsty. The entire class was free to get up and use the restroom and the water fountain without constantly raising their hands to ask - the room was large enough and the class was small enough for that. I planned breaks. I kept morale up. I praised and commented on their art honestly. I was available to help. I circulated, monitoring closely, but still giving them space. I demonstrated. I told jokes and stories. I related art to their lives.

Explosions of behavior, I get. I don't always manage ideally, but I manage. This kind of sulking is scary to me. It's dangerous. It's to be stamped out as soon as possible, or avoided at all costs.

That is, if it isn't something the kid can't control. I wonder, ever more now as I'm reflecting here, is it a disability that I don't know about? This kid was especially sensitive to temperature. I had a fan on in the room, because there was no a/c and the past few days have been triple digits. The fan wasn't pointed at her, or any of the students, but she often screwed up her face and complained about it. Is there a learning disability that makes kids super sensitive to temperature and depresses social skills in seven year olds?

Remember this book? This seven year old reminds me of the older brother and the disease he had. I don't know which is worse: to have this behavior be side effects from a genetic disorder, or to have it be a learned response from habits done at home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Harry Potter

Sure, one can argue that there are better, deeper, more well-written children's books out there. I would agree, actually.

That doesn't mean HP isn't good. It's top notch, among the best. And to think: I didn't used to like it! That was when only the first three books had been published, and I had not read any of them, but I wasn't impressed with all the hype and huffle about it, so I didn't try. Good thing I got over that.

But really, there is nothing like reading through the entire Harry Potter series in the summer - the fact that they were all released in the summer probably influenced this opinion. Looking forward to a new adventure every other year? Yeah! This has been my summer tradition for the past five years and it's awesome. It's what summer is all about - barbecues, road trips, enjoying large bodies of water, and reading Harry Potter until my eyes are fried.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Not as relaxed as this one.

Here's an article for reading. Well, all articles are for reading I suppose, but this one leaves me rather mixed in thoughts.

Agreements with article:

Yes. Money does not solve everything. Throwing a ton of cash at education does not necessarily make things fine and dandy - and even if it does, it won't happen overnight. Cutting costs can be good too. Things are changing rapidly in education - we drop strategies and pick up new ones every 2-3 years, it seems like. It'll be ok to do the same for financials too. It's kind of like why keep paying for Netflix when there are no good movies to watch.

Yes. Government intervention does sometimes persist something that is ready to slow down. Look at the corn industry. We have corn in nearly every single processed food item known to mankind, in part because of government subsidies to make corn cheap. I have a lot of faith in the natural process of supply and demand, and sometimes I think we mess up that natural process a little too much.

Disagreements with article:

Um. Why are you comparing percent change of something to absolute cost of something else? Wouldn't it be more informative to compare like with like? Of course absolute cost (adjusted for inflation) is going to go up - when has it ever NOT gone up? I would like to know more about the percent change in cost of education too. Are we spending more, or are we spending more than last year?

If the US economy needs fewer public school jobs, can you offer an alternative for people who are trained to teach? Because, you know, the US needs fewer people in the unemployment lines too. Ok, sure. There are charter schools and private schools, but I don't think they can absorb every single unemployed public school teacher out there. Same goes for tutoring, after-school programs, and overseas teaching. There's probably more alternatives I'm not seeing - what else, what else? Any suggestions?