Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just one more sign of the Education Apocalypse

Destroying the budget, it is.

Highly Ineffective Principal decides that the cost of printing is SOOOOO big. "Something must be done! I know, quotas!" Never mind that the principal himself prints out and copies tons of junk for our mailboxes instead of forwarding it. Never mind that the principal needs to hire someone to implement and oversee the quota system / accounting and is paid more than the printing budget. Never mind that the quotas are set without any rhyme or reason.

Whence the rant? I was just reading Mimi's blog and I ran across this sentence:
PS. You can see a copy of my said trig test here. Sorry but the font is small -- for two reasons: one is that I am almost out of printing quota for the month.

Kinko's charges 9 cents per page to make copies and they're making a good profit. A typical school photocopier costs between 3 and 5 cents a page, so let's say 5 just to be snarky. (It's based on print density and that trig test was hardly dense.) That trig test is two pages so that's 10 cents per kid; pretending there's 30 in the room, a total of $3 for that assignment or test.
Why, yes money grows on trees.
To pay the admins at least.

You're going to complain about a teacher spending $3?  Really? I can see why you'd want a teacher to consider the printing costs if the options were to print the text of War and Peace or buy the paperback, but otherwise the school should just shut up about printing costs. Three dollars is approximately what our curriculum coordinator (who never actually shows up and coordinates) gets paid for 2.5 minutes, assuming $90K, 180 days, 7hours/day.

"Sorry, I can't print out the work for all of my 150 students. A useless member of our school bureaucracy (is that redundant?) needs to be paid for the time she'll spend while her computer boots up today."

Zombies, all of 'em.


  1. sigh. It's one of the new policies (printing quota) that all the teachers at my school are up in arms about. We are given 1000 one-sided copies each calendar month. It sounds significant, but I did the math; if I divide that by the number of kids I teach (72), then divide by 4 weeks a month (an underestimate for some months), then I get roughly 3.5 one-sided copies per kid per week. That is fewer than 2 worksheets for me, as most of my worksheets are double-sided. And that is assuming I don't give any tests on top of teaching, which we know isn't the case.

    I don't know how other teachers are doing it, but I find that without making my own worksheets, differentiation is very difficult. When you've got near-genius children and very weak students all in one class, how are they supposed to open up the same textbook and get all of their needs met? Not to mention the variety of learning modes that I try to address, which the textbook simply cannot.

    My administrators' response is: We order textbooks for a reason. Use them.

    My thought: It's not that simple.

  2. Mimi - Thanks for having the consideration to provide extra for your faster students. I have known some teachers who just let them idle.

  3. We should run all schools without paper--and that includes books! No books! Let the kids explore! Maybe look up anything they need to know on an iPad! Why learn how to do a math problem when Wolfram Alpha will do just about any math problem for you. Why learn any history when you can look up just about anything on Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge.

    Paper is currently the lifeblood of education. It needs to be among the *last* things cut, and when you have to cut paper, your straits are too dire to worry about anyway.

  4. I think Darren just hit his quota for the month.