Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Moral Turpitude, and $1.2 Million

As Charlie Sheen publicly self-destructs I suspect that few people are looking for meaning among the carnage and mayhem. It is perhaps painfully apparent by now that the man is not well and the attention it garners from mainstream media and general public is both frightening and sad. The consumption of celebrity and its coverage by formerly more scrupulous corporations links nicely with my distrust of edupreneurial reform in education. Tiger blood, smoking(something) and climbing with a machete are all ill advised. How come no one listens when just about every teacher I know rants about ill advised reforms? Just a thought.

Sheen was fired and the cited cause was "Moral Turpitude". After the cursory web search for clarification of what is loosely defined as "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals" this seems like something we might all perhaps be guilty of under another person's interpretation. I'll go out on a limb and say this firing was warranted. Sheen is off the deep end and it is sad. A man who has struggled with addiction also has a great deal of talent and certainly those that care deeply for him and maybe that qualifies all those who watch and google search for the latest as guilty of the same charge as him in some voyeuristic way.

What if one of us teachers showed up for work on a bender and spouted on and on about the benfeits of complete liberation from social norms? Would it take this long to fire us? If we ranted to our "audience" about our movement and threw some truth torpedoes of our own the reaction would be different. Our profession has its share of oddballs and folks that wear fedoras but we are amazingly normal most of the time. Our stream of consciousness is filtered in the classroom. Just imagine if we actually said what we thought, not always a good idea in any type of relationship. As my kids enter the classroom talking about the latest twist in this erratic unraveling I try to point out that it is captivating on one hand, but it is also sad. We expect teachers to hold themselves to a higher standard and rightfully so since they work with our kids. We are not perfect but I'm continually impressed so few of us meltdown. If non-teachers knew of all the crazy stuff we endure, maybe they'd lay off a bit.

I'll reluctantly admit to having a laugh at Sheen's expense but I wanted to point out something which connects that was not so funny. The man made $1.2 million an episode! I am one of "2,300 employees who work every day to inspire, nurture and develop today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders and inventors" and on this blog we have detailed ad nauseum the issues with unfunded federal mandates (I didn't write that by the way and would prefer to be described simply as a teacher, sponsor and coach). According to our division's 2011-2012 budget cycle documents, the entire amount we receive from the the federal government totals about 2% of the budget or $2.8 million dollars. That's it. Keep in mind it will take me more than 56 years to earn that much so I totally understand how much that is. But with all the stuff the feds throw our way that's all we get in return? Perhaps we can take something from Charlie Sheen and say to heck with everything and say and do what we want. As a teacher I'll just stick with "Just Say No."

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