Is there a legal standard for the punishment of educators who commit egregious errors in grammar and the use of punctuation? Consider the following memo that our superintendent recently sent to the board:
Dear Board Members:
Irregardless of what you may have heard, we are not planning to recommend a change in attendance zones for next school year. Certain people in the media are criticizing me, but I could care less. I will literally throw up if I hear one more comment from the yapping morons in the press. But I do care what ya’ll think. For all intensive purposes, our attendance zones have worked well. In lieu of that, I’m not calling for any changes. The column in the newspaper today was written by a writer that does not know what they are talking about. I don’t mean to infer that we would never change attendance zones. But its not the right time.
See what I mean? What can we do? I think forfeiture of this man’s entire TRS account would not be too severe. GRAMMAR MAVEN.
DEAR GRAMMAR MAVEN:
Yes, there are a number of errors in that memo, but your superintendent almost makes up for it with the colorful (and accurate) description of the “yapping morons in the press.” There is something to be said for a man who can turn a phrase like that. However, we think the most egregious error in the above, given that the man is a Texas superintendent, is the misplaced apostrophe—ya’ll where it should be y’all. This is not rocket science. The apostrophe represents the letter or letters that have been omitted. In this case, that would be the “ou” of the word “you.” Thus the proper spelling is “y’all.” We polled Texas educators on this question, asking what the penalty should be for an educator who makes this mistake. We liked best the response of John Kuhn, Twitter- master and Superintendent in Perrin Whitt (Follow @johnkuhntx). John suggested extradition to some northern state. Good idea.
We understand that we are about to receive a “voluntary” survey for our employees and staff members to fill out and return to TEA. What’s this about? Sounds fishy to me. I think they will just gather a lot of my personal data, pass it on to the NSA and Obama Administration. I’m not much into conspiracy theories, but I do watch out for black helicopters overhead. WATCHING. WAITING.
DEAR WATCHING. WAITING:
T.E.A. is following up on a legislative mandate to survey educational professionals about working conditions. The survey is dubbed TELL Texas, with TELL referring to Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning. The survey will be administered online from April 7 to May 5. Go to www.telltexas.org for all the scoop on this. They absolutely, positively promise that the whole thing will be anonymous. It all sounds like a good idea to the Dawg, but we are afraid that they might not have the gumption to ask some of the really important questions. We would suggest that any good survey of Texas educators should include the following questions:
1. My principal is:
A. Really smart.
B. Somewhat smart.
C. Pretty dumb.
D. Dumb as a stump.
2. The teacher’s lounge at my school is:
A. A place where student confidentiality is violated every day.
B. A whine bar.
C. Where the teacher organizations recruit.
D. All of the above.
3. At my school, football is:
A. Too important.
B. Way too important.
C. More important than anything else.
D. A big deal, but still running a close second to cheerleading.
4. Having a Commissioner of Education who has never been a teacher, a principal or a superintendent tells me that:
A. Experience does not matter.
B. Governor Perry does not think much of educators.
C. Educators don’t vote.
D. It gives me hope—I’m not a doctor, but I plan to be Dean of the new UT Medical School.
5. We teachers are:
E. All of the above.
6. Our school lawyer:
A. Is as fine a person as I’ve ever met.
B. Cares about kids.
C. Is smart. Really smart.
D. Should be on the Supreme Court.
What about you? What questions do you think the survey should ask?