The ongoing online debates about American public education have attracted all manner of commentator, from passionate defenders of traditional public education to dedicated reformsters. And, of course, teacher-bashing trolls.
Not that everyone who disagrees with teachers is some sort of troll. It's a big Internet, with plenty of room for many opinions. But from mainstreamish media like Slate, to the usual bloggy outposts, to The Huffington Post (motto "Providing the fertilizer from which a thousand trolls can grow"), teacher bashing trollery is in high gear.
There's a difference between debating and baiting. And taking a big trolly club to teachers seems to be particularly enticing. So as you stroll the education blogs, here's a field guide to the basic varieties of Internet teacher-haters you may encounter. (And remember -- don't feed them.)
I don't have any kids, so why should I be paying any kinds of taxes to pay teachers' salaries? Cut their salary back to where I don't have to pay any taxes ever. Mind you, I still expect my doctor, neighbors, fellow voters, and every employed person I ever deal with to be an educated adult. I just don't want there to be any schools. I don't know how that's going to work. You're so smart, you figure it out.
Public Service Troll
People should work with children for free because it's such important work (also, musicians and artists should never want to be paid). When teachers complain about salary and benefits, it's unseemly. If they really cared about the children, teachers would happily live in a cardboard box just for the warm glow of satisfaction that comes from teaching. When teachers complain about no raise for eight years or trying to support their family, it just pisses me off -- don't they care about the children??
"Those Damn Unions" Troll
It's the damn teachers' union. Teachers all want to go sleep at their desks because the union will protect them. The union does nothing but protect bad teachers. In fact, the union actually goes out, recruits bad teachers, and then cleverly forces administrations to give these crappy teachers tenure. The union also elected Obama President, and they have the power to bend all elected officials to their will (except for Rand Paul). Union leaders have a giant pile of money that they like to swim in a la Scrooge McDuck; they use it to buy all the elections and all the power.
Teacher Hater Troll
Teachers are the single biggest obstacle to education today. They are only in it for the power and the glory. Well, no -- they also became teachers because they knew that would put them in the best position to interfere with the education of American students, which is every teacher's goal. Teachers hate children, and they hate learning, so they become teachers so they can devote their entire lives to destroying those things. It's perfectly logical.
Race To The Bottom Troll
The guy who cooks the fries at McDonalds does not have tenure or make any more than minimum wage or get vacations, so neither should teachers. The guy who dropped out of school in tenth grade and now works part-time at Mega-Mart doesn't have job security, and he barely makes enough to pay his cellphone bill, so why should teachers not have to struggle, too? There are employers in this country who force their workers to toil in unconscionable conditions; why should we fight to improve those conditions when we can fight to drag teachers down to that crappy level instead.
Sad Bitter Memories Troll
I hated high school. My teachers were mean to me. I remember a couple who picked on me all the time just because I didn't do my work and slept in class a lot. And boy, they did a crappy job of teaching me anything. I sat in their classroom like a houseplant at least three days a week, and I didn't learn a thing. Boy, did they suck! Crappy teachers like that ought to be fired immediately! And that principal who yelled at me for setting fire to the library? That guy never liked me. Fire 'em all.
Unlikely Anecdote Troll
There was this one teacher in the town just over from where I went to school, and one day he brought in a nine millimeter machine gun and mowed down every kid in his first three classes. The principal was going to fire him, but the union said he couldn't because of tenure, so that guy just kept working there. They even put kids in his class who were related to the ones he shot. Tenure has to be made illegal right away.
Just Plain Wrong Troll
Tenure actually guarantees teachers a job for life, and then for thirty years after they retire and fifty years after they die. It's true. Once you get hired as a teacher you are guaranteed a paycheck with benefits for the next 150 years.
Confused Baloney Troll
If you really care about children and educational excellence, then you want to see teachers slapped down. The only way to foster excellence in education is by beating teachers down so they know their place. Only by beating everyone in the bucket can we get the cream to rise to the top.
Like A Business Troll
You know, in every other job, you get judged on your performance and then rewarded or fired accordingly. Personally, I would have been a useless lazy bastard at my job except that my boss was always looking over my shoulder. People suck unless you threaten them. Nobody threatens teachers enough; that's why they all suck. All the best businesses like, you know, big investment banks like Lehman Brothers or energy companies like Enron -- those totally function on accountability.
Fake Statistic Troll
It's a known fact that 63% of teachers failed high school shop class, and 43% are unable to even dress themselves. If you have a bad teacher in Kindergarten, it's a proven fact that you will make $1 trillion dollars less in life; also, you'll be plagued with adolescent acne until you're 34, and your children will be ugly. 92% of high school graduates last year were unable to read, and 46% of those were unable to even identify the English language. Also, 143% of urban teachers are "highly ineffective" and 52% of those are "grossly ineffective" and 24% of those actually give off waves that cause metal surfaces to rust. I ask you, how can we continue to support public education under these conditions.
Tin Hat Troll
Teachers are part of the Agenda 21 agenda, and will be used as tools to turn students into mindless puppets who will smother their parents in their beds at night. You can read all about it in the Codexes of the Postuleminatti.
Charter School Troll
All of these bad things only apply to public school. In charter schools, all students develop a cure for cancer and build pink unicorns from ordinary materials you can find around the house.
There are still poor children in this country who are doing poorly in school. That must be a teacher's fault. Hunt that teacher down and fire him, repeatedly.
Incoherent Rage Troll
Teachers just all suck with the suckiness think they're so smarty pants with their fancy college edumacations and don't even work a whole year or a whole day even they just work an hour and then twelve months off every summer resting up from just babysitting which any moron could do so fire them all because, suck gaaaaahhh.
If I missed any, you can just sign on as a Hey You Made A Serious Omission troll in the comments below.
Originally posted at Curmudgucation
Follow Peter Greene on Twitter: www.twitter.com/palan57