@HighEliteMajor Now we are getting somewhere even if you still haven’t answered most of the questions I posed. You are correct that opportunity matters but As you’ve pointed out multiple times not everyone gets the same opportunity. It’s just not possible. If we think about basketball, As a 5’8” male with a limited vertical I’m not going to get the SAME opportunities as someone 6’4” with a 45” vertical. Just so I’m abundantly clear, I’m not advocating that I should. America is the land I would say more than anything else of individualism. And that’s what allows you to make this argument about opportunity. You can always point to a few people who make it out of poverty or overcome certain obstacles. So as long as they can do it, why can’t everyone else?
The problem is though, that despite certain individuals successes, you can still fairly accurately predict a persons economic future of you know their zip code and their race. There are MORE opportunities in certain communities than others. That does not mean there is no opportunity for anyone but people with privilege are provided with more options. More choices. More fall backs and back up plans. To see this opportunity gap you have to look at results. As a basketball fan I can hope we agree that results do in fact matter more than opportunity.
The people in power in this country have implemented systematic oppression at all levels since it’s founding. That does not mean there aren’t great and amazing things about America. As you pointed out and I agree everyone (for the most part) has at least some opportunity to improve their station in life with hard work. That’s INCREDIBLE and not true everywhere around the globe. But thinking America is great shouldn’t prevent someone from pointed out how it could be better. The founders of the country built in a system to allow for that constant change. It’s what government is supposed to do.
But it can’t be ignored that there are others who improve their station or maintain it without hard work. Those who manipulate systems to give themselves an unfair advantage. Just as Coach K manipulates the refs so his team has 2 fouls called against it in 14 minutes of intense basketball. There’s nothing in the rules that prevent K from using his prestige and power to intimidate refs into making things go his way. Unfortunately human nature is to hold on to power. There have been loads of studies that demonstrate once a person has power they become significantly less empathetic to others and more willing to break rules or create new ones to maintain their power. But just because it’s our natural instinct doesn’t mean it’s the best way to live.
To your point about the real world we have some fundamental disagreements. I think there are lots of places in the real world where cooperation is valued over competition. Sports is not one of them obviously. It sports, despite the many metaphors claiming so, are not life. One persons success in life does not necessarily doom another to lose. It’s not a zero sum game.
My hope is that you can read and think about some of what we are both writing with an open mind. That’s my goal in this conversation. I want to think more deeply about this topic and understand where you are coming from. In doing that I’ve tried not to label you or make any assumptions about who you are as a person beyond what you’ve put on the page. I’m sure I’ve not been 100% successful in that attempt but it has been my goal.
Regarding the “normal teaching day” I’d be curious if you expanded your network of teachers you were familiar with what you would find on that topic. In my experience at a school for the last 11 years, most educators work about 9-10 hours a school day and then take a significant amount of work home with them, whether that be grading, planning, or in my case writing 42 letters of recommendation this year for my students who don’t have access to the connections some of their peers have. Add onto that coaching (yes there is a stipend that if you calculate $/hr usually comes out to about $7-15 per hour) and you have a pretty full schedule. Most of the teachers I know are ok with that not because they think that’s what they are worth but because they find the job provides worth because does good for the world and helps others. All motivation factors that have little to do with money or competition.