A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Monday, October 24, 2005

What is the value of a school nurse?

What is the value of a school nurse? How about a young life?

Last week, an underclassman at my school suffered a cardiac arrest at lunch. The school nurse and the principal and some other staff came to this child’s assistance and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. They kept this child alive until she could be taken to the hospital. After several tense days, she is awake and talking. She will hopefully receive a pacemaker and recover fully.

A couple years ago, one of my colleagues had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured, also at lunchtime, so thank God it wasn’t in front of students. She told me she was feeling bad (we had known about the problem, but her doctor was trying to treat it with drugs which didn’t apparently work) and suddenly, she briefly passed out into my arms. After I carried her to the nurse’s office, she was treated and comforted by the nurses until the ambulance could come and take her to the hospital. She ended up recovering.

Another incident a few years ago happened at the middle school where I taught, when a kid who was running through the halls lost his balance and flew head-first into a wall. The nurse stabilized him and made sure his neck wasn’t moved or injured further while we waited for the ambulance. Come to find out, he had a fractured vertebrae, and if he hadn’t been treated properly, he could have been partially paralyzed.

There has been a lot of talk in the edusphere by Mike at Education in Texas and Joe at Shut Up and Teach about a group called First Class Education, which is backed by Patrick Byrne (the guru of Overstock.com and the incredibly annoying commercials). Basically, they want to force school districts into spending 65% of revenues on instruction. Although sports counts as instruction, nurses do not.

You can read the rundown over there, since they do it so well. But be on the lookout for this. It sounds good to devote more $$$ to instruction, but apparently there is a hidden agenda.



At 10/24/05, 10:47 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Speaking of school nurses...

Our archaeology teacher had a dig simulation in the field behind the school. Unfortunately, one student found gass, and had a deep cut. The teacher bandaged the wound and sent him to the nurse.

Her reaction? "Where's your pass"?

She made the student, bleeding and all, go back to the teacher for written permission to see the nurse.


At 10/25/05, 7:28 AM, Blogger Amerloc said...

School nurses are like the rest of us in education - of varied pedigrees.

But yes. Football is instruction, but nurses aren't, librarians aren't, transportation workers aren't. I realize that if you belong to the side that says there's a magic number (why 65??) you have to draw that line somewhere. But why are helmets and knee-pads on the instruction side?

At 10/25/05, 7:05 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh I know. We had one nurse once who, no matter what the kid said was the problem, if the kid was female, she was asked if she was pregnant.

The football thing was expected, especially if you've ever lived in a Friday Night Lights kind of place. You can almost hear the beer-bellied former coaches (who are now administration, BTW) saying, "Football teaches about lahf. Football teaches about valyoos. Hell, football IS lahf! And ennyone who don't agree is a g-d- terrorist!"

And I love football probably more than most, before anyone starts calling me a effing liberal, or whatnot (in college I was on national TV three times screaming for death to our enemies from my seat in the band during my alma mater's glory days in foootball).

But I remember that, once, when the school district I lived in as a child couldn't get a tax increase from the people, they cut instrumental music and art, and most people took it on the chin. They then laid off teachers, and not a word. So, finally, they threatened to cut elementary, junior high, freshman and JV football-- leaving varsity technically untouched, but still-- and suddenly, guess what happened? The voters came roaring out of their pickups and voted in that tax increase! It was a miracle!!!

So no, football isnot going to be targeted by these people behind the 65% Rule. That's not their point-- to actually increase instructional moneys. Their point is to divide teachers and other staff further and to create a smoke screen that Republicans actually fund some of their policy in education. Go to the two websites mentioned in the post and take a look.

At 10/25/05, 8:35 PM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

Not only do they want to do away with nurses in Texas schools they also want to replace them with untrained "diabetes assistants". These positions will be "voluntary".

Of course, getting rid of nurses means you can save some money on salaries. This is impt to those who want to take over the schools and run them for a profit. As always, follow the money and it will lead you to people who don't give a rat's ass about schoolchildren. These are the people trying to pass "reforms".

At 10/25/05, 10:59 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Diabetes assistants? Is there that much diabetes in the Texas schools?

School nurses already get paid way less than other professsionals in the schools near me. A real way to save money would be too ditch one or two of the superfluous asssistant supes-- that would save a good $150 K. But that's never an option....

At 10/29/05, 1:15 PM, Blogger Joe Thomas said...

The 65% scheme is simply an attempt to get school personnel to start in-fighting. There is no research, no methodology, no logic behind the benchmark of 65%. It is as arbitrary as if they had said 66% or 59%.

The measure is an attempt to get more dollars into the classroom, as if the classroom is the only place in need of funding.

Gasoline costs are forcing districts to shift funds from building repair and after school reading programs.

Heating costs this winter are expected to drastically increase. Where will that money come from?

No, re-sclicing the pie does little to help schools. It merely makes Republicans look like they are finally getting more funding to teachers. If it has to come at the expense of nurses, librarians, heating and air, security guards,transportation costs, groundskeeping, custodial services, school breakfast and lunch programs, after school reading and math programs, livable wages for support staff, etc -- then here is one teacher that doesn't want the "extra" money.

At 10/31/05, 8:58 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I agree.

And we all know infighting is oh so simple to accomplish, as we witnessed recently when our school realigned graduation requirements. Science teachers versus the social studies teachers! Gym teacher versus the home ec teachers!


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