You couldn’t pay me to be a teacher. Well, you’d have to pay me a heck of a lot more than you currently pay teachers. We expect teachers to be police, guidance counselors, parents, psychologists, janitors, nutritionists, nurses, and maybe squeeze in some actual educating. On top of their well over 40 hours work week, there are tutoring, meeting with parents, and extracurricular activities which many have to do. But hey, they get summers off, so what do they have to complain about?

Anything to help them actually do their main job better, I’m in favor of. So when Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White details a plan to spend $278M for school improvements, he has my attention. Forget the fact that my property taxes are in play or that I have kids attending public schools, education is the silver bullet to solve a lot of our societal problems.

Few people have been showing up to the meetings to discuss the plan. Maybe no one wants to be the one to argue against luxuries such as air conditioning (Northwest High School finally gets it twenty years too late to do me any good), roofing, electrical work, and enhanced security.

The entire district does need overhauling and honestly, I don’t think the current plans go far enough. A lot of it is updating the model already in place: new computers, wireless internet, facility upgrades, and possibly shortening the teachers’ work day on Wednesday to allow for further training. Maybe the entire model needs to be re-thought.

Maybe get away from the factory model brand of education which trains students for tedium. Moving kids, who don’t want to be there in the first place, from class to class to a Pavlovian bell response, separated by age, subjects separated, all perfectly “modern” ways of doing education. All the while, teacher training amounts to recycling teaching techniques and seminars which swap out what was in vogue a decade or so ago.

We expect a lot from our school system, even as many folks move away from IPS in favor of suburbs and homeschooling. The folks who remain want the system to improve, all while remaining convenient to our schedule. In other words, we don’t truly care, but we reserve the right to complain.