MPG Posted: May 7, 2007 9:36 PM >I realize this latter comes as news to you, and you've >never heard about big players in business getting giant >rewards even as the stockholders take a bath. Shh! >Let's not wake Haim.)
So, your theory is that if titans of industry can shake down stockholders and get away with it, the teachers unions should be able to shake us down and get away with it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, eh? How about a little equal opportunity corruption, is that it?
Well, if you want to apply to teachers the same rules that apply to corporations, then I am your man. But. It has to be a package deal. I.e., it has to be all the rules.
I must say, despite all your protestations to the contrary, you seem to be just full of socialist myths (and full of something else, as well). You seem to think that corporate executives rob employees and shareholders blind and get away with it. Obviously, there are crooks among titans of industry just as there are crooks in every walk of life. What you seem to miss, though, is that corporate crooks go to jail all the time. Your favorite thief Ken Lay, for instance, was looking at 30 yrs in jail when he dropped dead of a heart attack. (Some people will go to any lengths to escape punishment.)
The problem for corporate crook wannabees, you see, is that people take a highly proprietary interest in their money and their livelihoods. A lot of very interested, very motivated people are always watching. For instance, no single executive can do much; there are always a lot of people involved in anything they do and collusion is very hard to organize and sustain. Also, there are the employees, particularly internal auditors. And from the outside come public auditors, shareholders, and industry analysts. All these people have a vested interest in the integrity and good performance of the corporation, and it is nearly impossible for an executive to hide his nefarious deeds from all of them for any significant amount of time.
(What made Enron so unusual is that Lay's public auditors conspired with him. Personally, I have had an abiding suspicion that the CPA's did not actually conspire in the usual sense of the word. I suspect Arthur Andersen were just out of their depth; they did not understand what Lay was doing. Well, they were paid to understand, they should have understood, and now they are in that great big staff room in the sky. Arthur Andersen, RIP.)
By all means, then, let's do it. Let's make teachers and administrators responsible to "stakeholders" (that would be us parents) in the same way that corporate executives and directors are responsible to shareholders. I want a code of ethics with teeth. I want professional standards a la law and accounting, with the teacher equivalent of disabarment. I want to see teachers losing their licenses and going to jail for crimes specific to the teaching profession in the just the same way that execs go to jail for crimes specific to their line of work.
Let me elaborate that last point. Teachers do go to jail, sometimes, but only for breaking the same kind of laws that apply to everyone else. With some frequency we read of teachers going to jail for statutory rape, for selling drugs to minors on school property, and more rarely for assault. Anybody else would go to jail for the same crimes.
On the other hand, executives go to jail, or pay very stiff fines, for crimes unique to their station in life. For instance, they go to jail for insider trading, unregistered sales of securities, deceptive market timing, accounting fraud, illegal trading schemes, and so on. All these are not "natural" crimes in the sense that in other times and places any one of these acts might have been perfectly legitimate, and non-executives are actually impotent to even commit the crimes. There are no biblical commandments against insider trading or accounting fraud. Indeed, most people have a hard time even understanding the nature of insider trading. You doubt that? Ask any three people why Martha Stewart went to jail. (Yes, yes, she took a plea bargain on that charge.)
I want to see teachers, administrators, and ed school professors fined or jailed for education fraud, and disbarred for incompetence. I would love to see some kind of government agency that advocates for parents in the same way, and with the same muscle, that the SEC advocates for investors.
>Could the alternative be that I found your carping >about educators and money nauseating in light of those >to whom you give carte blanche and wished to point that >out with a tiny bit of sarcasm?
Carte blanche exists nowhere outside your own fevered imagination. Directors and executives of large corporations are powerful, to be sure, but there are powerful forces watching them. These people lose their jobs, pay ruinous fines, and go to jail all the time, whereas teachers bristle at the very notion that anyone would be watching over their shoulders and hold them accountable. You remember accountability? Standardized testing? Merit pay? (Ah yes, it's all coming back to you.)
You remind me of an old Wall Street Journal cartoon. Two well dressed men are walking down Wall Street and one says to the other, "This is a high crime neighborhood: fraud, embezzlement, defalcation..."
So, what do you say, Mike? Do you still want to use corporations as the model for schools and teachers? I am ready when you are.