Saturday, November 05, 2011

First they came for the puppeteers.....

Man oh man oh man. Liberals are so funny. Check out this article from The Nation.

Here's the awesome beginning:

"A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city’s school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe’s old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute”; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. “But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position,” he says, “so I’m working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don’t have health insurance…. It’s the best-paying job I could find.”Like a lot of the young protesters who have flocked to Occupy Wall Street, Joe had thought that hard work and education would bring, if not class mobility, at least a measure of security (indeed, a master’s degree can boost a New York City teacher’s salary by $10,000 or more). But the past decade of stagnant wages for the 99 percent and million-dollar bonuses for the 1 percent has awakened the kids of the middle class to a national nightmare: the dream that coaxed their parents to meet the demands of work, school, mortgage payments and tuition bills is shattered. Down is the new up."

Yikes! Where to begin. First of all, Joe started the story as "a full time drama teacher" in an NYC elementary school. How can that be a job that taxpayers are paying for? Jeebus help us all. Then Joe, or as I like to call him, the luckiest man in the world, turned into Joe the stupidest man in the world by SPENDING 3 YEARS AND BORROWING $35,0000 TO GET A MASTERS DEGREE IN $%#$$ PUPPETRY!!!!

Now he seems stunned to find out that he has a much much worse job than before.

And the magazine is using his case as it's opening wedge to indict the American economic system.

People, I say the system was failing when this guy was an elementary school drama teacher. Right now the system is working exactly as it should. You take 3 years out of your career path to get an MFA in puppets, you become basically unemployable.

Obviously there are real people with real problems unemployed and struggling due to no fault or error of their own. A 9% unemployment rate with our current social safety net is just not acceptable.

But I have no sympathy for the folks who borrowed a lot of money to go and earn a dumb-ass graduate degree and now find they can't make big money.

If you decide to "pursue your passion" in an un-economic area, don't be surprised when the economic system doesn't value you highly, and don't think that the problem is the system; the problem is you.


Dave Hansen said...

It's the degeneration of the American dream:

It once was this: "If you try hard, there's a chance you'll succeed" (i.e., own the roof over your head and food on your table, and maybe have a little bit of leisure time).

It turned to this: "If you try hard, you can be whatever you want to be".

And now it's this: "You can be whatever you want to be and you can succeed".

Michael said...

He thought he could use the teacher salary guidelines as a loophole to make an extra $10,000 a year by playing with puppets. That is, he got greedy and now wants us to bail him out.

Hasdrubal said...

They've been called "starving artists" since at least my grandparents' generation. Choosing a low paying career field has been hard on the lifestyle far longer than Wall Street has been giving out multi-million dollar bonuses.

In fact, hasn't the story of the daughter falling in love and wanting to marry a boy with poor career prospects been around for centuries?

And really, if you turned around and redistributed every bonus given to every Wall Street worker, how much would that turn out to be for the rest of us? Tens of dollars, maybe a hundred dollars?