With a background in journalism and a recent foray into substitute teaching in Las Vegas, I have an entirely new view of education. Actually, it's not a new view, since what I'm witnessing now in education is no different than what's been going on for decades.
Any problems with education can be traced to one singular issue: teacher salaries. There's no teacher shortage. There's no unwillingness on the part of students to learn. Even the notoriously low math and science scores would leap through the cosmological heavens if teachers were treated with the respect they are long overdue.
A scan of salary comparisons across a number of industries and occupations is revealing enough. But nothing is more appalling than when exotic dancers and prostitutes are buying $300K homes in Vegas and teachers are leaving because they can't get loans.
Nevadaâ€™s â€œInvest In Educationâ€? and the Nations â€œNo Child Left Behindâ€? programs are a joke. They are made a joke by one simple comparison: the salaries of teachers versus the salaries of exotic dancers, strippers and prostitutes, especially in the state of Nevada where prostitution is legal.
Statistics are the most common rhetorical device used to prove something. This means comparing actual teacherâ€™s pay stubs with sex worker tax records. Next, we would add up the number of teachersâ€”in Nevadaâ€”and compare that figure to the number of sex workers.
I imagine seeing a room full of city and state officials, lawmakers, and members from the department of education, looking over these statistical comparison charts and going, â€œHmmm, there is a difference.â€?
This is not about providing affordable housing for teachers who make $28K average and maybe up to $50-55K or so. This IS about an exotic dancer making 6 figure salaries and owning a 1/4 to 1/2 million dollar homes.
Any discussions about salaries based on performance, inflation raises, teacher shortages, high drop out rates, incentive programs, or just the state of education in general, are an abomination of justice and morality when porn stars make millions.
Did I make some sort of irrational leap from exotic dancers making 6 figures to porn stars making millions? Was it jarring and made you question the relevance of my argument?
How many porn stars live in Las Vegas? Shall we do a head count? Do a Google search on any combination of the following keywords: exotic dancers, Las Vegas; strippers, Las Vegas; prostitutes, Las Vegas. You wonâ€™t get statistics.
Perhaps maybe Nevadaâ€™s state legislature would be interested in providing the necessary statistics, just to have them on hand.
This is not an anti-sex message. This is a pro teacher message. This is a message that those who are in charge of teaching our youth are paid pennies on the stripper dollar.
Allegedly, America in 2005 is predominantly conservative. Ask any politician and he/she will tell you education is our nationâ€™s number one priority, give or take a few others. Critics scream about national and state low performance averages in reading, writing, math and the sciences. Crime is blamed on poor or no education.
Meanwhile, whoâ€™s that young exotic dancer walking out of a $300K home with swimming pool and getting into her $40K SUV and driving off to work for a few grueling, labor-intensive, highly-skilled hours of pole gyrations and lap dancing? Is this just an imaginary scene from a Hollywood movie?
If we as a nationâ€”and particularly Las Vegas where â€œsinâ€? is the calling card and NOT educationâ€”spend billions in the sex industry while teachers and students beg for national and state government handouts, then we are clearly teaching our kids the wrong things. Itâ€™s not math, science and English that will get you ahead in life. No, we think the sex industry is your best bet. This includes teachers too.
Seems kind of silly for a teacher to be responsible for the future of 20 grade schoolers at $400 a week when she could be making $500 a night dancing and listening to music. Ironically, it makes you wonder if teachers arenâ€™t, well, sort of stupid.
Or, maybe everybody thinks teachers are second-class citizens while porn stars are turned into multi-million dollar enterprises. Of course they think that way because thatâ€™s the way things are in reality.
I could argue the same for health workers, firemen and police officer salaries, but you get my point.
Itâ€™s not about free enterprise. Itâ€™s not about sex being bad or good. Itâ€™s about misplaced priorities. If we put equivalent amounts of money into our education system as we do the sex industry, weâ€™d have a country full of geniuses.
But then, maybe those geniuses just might realize sex is where the money is, and then where would we be?