Before Edmond Heatley was hired in Clayton County, MACE made its sentiments known in no uncertain terms. As usual, the Clayton School Board, under the non-leadership of Pam Adamson and Alieka Anderson, learned dumber.
[Note: After having slept too late for church, I looked at the Get Schooled blog in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A person calling himself/herself “A Conservative Voice” peppered me with questions about MACE. Also, another blogger, “Focus,” urged the readers to stay focused on Edmond Heatley in Clayton County and not make MACE nor me the issue. I whole-heartedly agreed with Focus’s focus. In Clayton County, the issue is Edmond Heatley and how his administration is treating the employees of the Clayton County School System. Below are my responses to “CV” and “Focus.”]
Well…CV, I got up too late to attend church. So, listening to Chris Matthews and other political pundits. (I even missed my TV buddy, Joel Osteen.) A little Folgers in my cup. “Fixin'” to get ready to take scads of vitamins, minerals, and herbs…after a good protein breakfast. About Five Guys…two tops (with sesame seeds on top and bottom)…load it up with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and peppers. Have to eat it with a fork sometimes. Ha! Don’t eat all of the Fries in one setting. Just once or twice a month…usually on Wonderful Wednesday! Great hamburgers and Fries. Actually, the best! Like Five Guys, MACE is simple. Right to the point. Just kick ass and get the harassing administrator off the teacher’s case. Don’t ask for Cheese Cake at MACE. Just Hamburgers and Fries.
Now onto MACE. Some things, you know, are trade secrets…like the Coca-Cola formula and the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices. At MACE, we have never made any bones about being “for-profit.” We think that this is hugely a good thing. We are profit-motivated…like Coca-Cola, Chick Fil-A, AFLAC, and Best Buy. Therefore, we work our asses off to produce great services for our members. We try harder, as they used to say at Avis.
The good Lord has blessed us. We don’t murmur. We count our blessings. What we do is not easy. It was not easy for us at MACE to richly earn our reputation. Teachers know what MACE stands for. MACE, they immediately think, will kick the administrator’s metaphorical ass if he or she screws with its member. MACE protects and empowers its members. That’s all MACE does. No tote bags. No spelling bee contests. No political endorsements. No pitiful posturing at the Capitol trying to make people think that it has the influence over the politicians. GAE and PAGE try that, and they have NO influence. MACE doesn’t even engage in any anemic attempts to posture. MACE doesn’t posture. MACE acts. That’s the difference. MACE protects each INDIVIDUAL member; MACE doesn’t make GLOBAL pronouncements…which mean NOTHING to the individual teachers in their classrooms. MACE protects and empowers classroom educators…one member at a time. Forty bucks per month. Significantly cheaper than GAE but more than PAGE. PAGE was founded by administrators in Clarkston, Georgia in 1975. You figure.
MACE is a boutique shop…as they say among law firms. MACE doesn’t try to be “all things to all teachers.” MACE is not like Sears Roebuck. You can’t buy both baby diapers and lawn mowers at MACE. If your superintendent and your principal are your uncles, then you probably don’t need MACE. But, even if you aspire to be an administrator yourself, you can still join MACE. MACE membership is confidential, but when you do actually become an administrator, we have to kick you out of MACE. Ha! True. We do. I have even had to kick out my nephew when he became an administrator. His wife could and did continue her membership but he couldn’t. Does this hurt MACE’s finances? No really. Our classroom teachers who are members appreciate the fact that we have no conflicts-of-interests. Does closing on Sundays hurt Chick Fil-A’s sales? Sure…on the short term. But, in the long term, it is one of the genius marketing moves of Chick Fil-A. (I am not suggesting that Truett Cathy made this decision because of marketing. But, serendipitously, it tremendously helped the company.)
Administrators help promote GAE and PAGE. I just got an email and a text from teachers the last two days, talking about different unions/associations sending out communiqué to teachers within the school systems while using the emails systems paid for by the taxpayers. Administrators don’t mind this; in fact, they encourage this…because they want the teachers to join GAE or PAGE instead of MACE. Now, if MACE used the same email systems, the administrators have bouts of fits or apoplexy. This is a testament to MACE and how administrators are afraid of MACE. Do I get bent out of shape when the administration doesn’t treat MACE the same? Not really. I just realize that the administrators are afraid, and they ought to be. MACE does indeed devour administrators who abuse teachers.
Bad administrators are good for MACE business. MACE protects good teachers from bad administrators. You want to get rid of MACE? Hire and promote great administrators! Ha! This isn’t going to happen. The things in public education keep getting worse and worse. I have watched the trend for decades. I am reminded of the phase in one of Shakespeare’s plays: “Kill the lawyers!” I think it was about trying to truncate the rights of the people. Therefore, the exhortation to “kill the lawyers!”
C. V. , I have to finish drinking my coffee and eating a hearty breakfast. I hope that I have at least partly satisfied your curiosity. Yes, we have done alright at MACE, and success does engender petty jealousies. In the early years, the going was tough. I was unlawfully thrown in jail on a few occasions…but to no avail. I do understand my rights under that most cherished and profound document called the United States Constitution. I have never been convicted of anything but a traffic violation. But, the battles were fought…and lessons were learned (especially by administrators…that MACE is a tough cookie which will not tuck its tail and walk away). The reputation is there. The unfair treatment of MACE remains. But, this doesn’t matter. The overwhelming majority of teachers who are members of MACE apparently adore MACE. They seem to have a love affair with MACE. Quite frankly, this is all we can ask for. If you are happy with GAE or PAGE, then stay there. No problem. I just hope that one day you don’t need aggressive protection. MACE provides aggressive protection and representation when a teacher needs it.
C. V., you say that I am wordy. That, my friend, it true.
@ Ms. Focus: You are right. I did not start any rumor about Edmond Heatley. I admit, however, that I am a convenient and easy target — “the white devil.” Ha! I heard the rumor(s) swirling all over the place. It was like a tempest that wouldn’t go away. Almost developed into a tornado that kept hittin’ on the Southside. Ha! Yep, I am not the issue at all in Clayton County. The issue, as I stated before, is how Edmond Heatley and his Kappafornians are treating — or mistreating — the good employees of Clayton County.
For those who may be interested in more details about what all MACE does for its members, below is a link to an article that I wrote back in March of 2005 on the MACE website explaining what all MACE does…