Dysfunctional Blame Dynamics

As most of ye know, many of your Gormogon spouses are either teachers or work in education. Not Mrs. Volgi. The Czar is not sure what she does, but it appears to involve an odd combination of vivisection, golf, and mining.

Your very Czar’s sainted Царица was describing a strange story from her school, which the Czar regrets he cannot relate because it involves another teacher, strange accusations, and disciplinary hearings that are ongoing. No, no children were harmed by the teacher; in fact, the teacher in question was attempting to help a non-English-speaking student who was about to be railroaded by a painfully incompetent district official about to send the boy to red tape hell. The teacher was accused of insubordination for interfering with the process, even though the process was painfully incorrect and transparently so. The union stepped in and challenged the action, and word is that the teacher will receive a non-binding reprimand and be left alone. Insanity.

But the point of the story is interesting enough. While we like to think in our right-wing bubble about how bad teachers unions are, and how they are admittedly uninterested in teaching kids anything, the Czar has realized (thanks his eternally patient spouse) that we may have oversimplified the problem with education. Rather than thinking of education as a unions versus students, the real problem appears to be a complex dynamic like this, at least based on the patterns the Czar spots in story after story:

Here is what you have. Blame arrows are in red. Support arrows are in blue.

And so the parents blame the unions for everything, but generally support the teachers. The teachers, in turn, blame the state guidelines and constant standardized testing requirements for most of their woes. The teacers also blame and support their unions about 80% to 20% respectively. Teachers also blame the red tape and procedural nightmares put on them by the bureaucrats (school boards, superintendents, principals, and administration). The unions support their teachers—dues first, of course, but they will go to bat for every complaint large or small directed at a teacher; unions also blame the bureaucrats as well for being money-hoarding management types. Bureaucrats support the dollars dumped on them by the federal government, and the federal government loves the red tape and procedural nonsense the bureaucrats are so good at.

Crazy. But notice what we have intentionally left out: the state doesn’t seem to support anybody. Nor do they blame anyone: they dwell in their own mirage about what constitutes educational standards and let the pieces fall where they may. Parents unwisely never seem to blame the state or the feds or the bureaucrats for their woes. The unions are alo comfortable with the state and the feds (and often get along well), and care not a whit about the parents. And so on.

Don’t dismiss this graphic as frivolous. Indeed, the next time you hear one of these groups complaining about another, this graphic will match up.

So let us consider. What would happen if, as both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich independently suggest, the federal government got out of the education business? And, if (they further suggest) the state backed out gradually as well?

Bureaucrats would lose their chief source of funding and direction, for one thing. With the loss of power, bureaucrats would become more answerable to parents—who presently have little interaction with parents on an organizational level. The unions would lose leverage against them as well, since they would have no one to blame but themselves. And teachers would be able to better control their unions, as the majority of teachers dislike their unions but currently view them as a necessary evil to oppose the bureaucrats.

This idea of forcing the feds out of education basically collapses this dysfunctional dynamic. The Czar has to think that the transition would be rough, but would ultimately benefit the one category not shown here: the kids.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.