Monday, November 28, 2005

Popcorn, Meals, and Art Projects

Last of Nine has a post on the tempest in a microwave in the St. Paul school system. It seems that teachers must now pay for electricity if they choose to use personal appliances in the classroom.

My first reaction is that the school system could have avoided controversy by simply banning the items. They would have seemed strict, but not petty. While the electric bills do add up, I bet they could have found savings elsewhere in order to retain this modest amenity. I see a union complaint in our future.

My second reaction is that one of the teachers interviewed makes a very weak case:
Norma Jorgensen, a kindergarten teacher at Homecroft Elementary, said she was upset when she first heard about the fee. She uses her classroom refrigerator to chill not only her food, but also the lunches of many of her students. And she uses her microwave not only for meals, but also for classroom art projects and making popcorn for her kids in the afternoons.
What art project needs a microwave? Is there one in the teachers' lounge that could be used for this rare purpose? Moreover, have they ever heard of a thermos for keeping foods hot/cold? It is hardly a depression-era hardship to expect brown bag lunches to stay at room temperature.

Who pays for the popcorn? Don't get me wrong, I am not criticizing Norma if she provides this to her students. Nor am I griping if the school district pays for the occasional snack. But my familiarity with the nutrition needs for human beings tells me that afternoon popcorn is not a necessity. Norma needs to stick with the argument that it is an amenity worth keeping, instead of making things up. But there's more:
"I wonder if corporate America would do this to their employees," she said. "But instead of whining and complaining about it, I asked my husband and he said, 'Just pay it.' "
I like Norma's husband.


Blogger Derek Jensen said...

The adoption of a system of government education of our children is the 2nd reason America has gone into decline.

November 29, 2005 12:04 PM  

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