Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Surcharge! For What?

I have figured out a new way to make more money for teaching my classes. I am going to charge each student a surcharge for calculating his/her grade. I know that sounds crazy but I think it will work.

“Aren’t the students already paying to take your class,” you ask.

“Doesn’t the college pay you to teach that class and isn’t grading part of the responsibilities of teaching the class,” you ask.

“Isn’t that unethical,” you say.

The answer to all those questions, including the last one, is, “Yes!”

So, how am I going to get away with it? I still think it is not going to be too difficult. I am actually stealing the idea from local governments.

I confess, recently I got a ticket for speeding (a ticket I am fighting). Nowhere on the ticket does it say what the fine is. When I went to court to issue my, “Not Guilty,” plea, I found out that if I plead guilty, the judge decides how much the fine should be.

This, in and of itself, is wrong. Imagine if I did not let my students know how much each assignment counted when determining their final grades. Imagine if I did not weigh each assignment the same for each student. The students would be up in arms, someone would probably go to the department to complain and I would probably get a severe talking to, at best. And I would deserve it, or worse. Yet, this is exactly what the justice system is doing. It is no longer pay X amount for speeding and Y amount for ever mile over the speed limit you were going (or something like that). The justice can determine the amount. S/he may have a set formula to determine this but the justice does not have to, it is up to his or her discretion.

While I have a problem with this, this is not even my biggest objection to the whole process. Recently my wife was in court on another matter. She got her fine reduced, I believe to $50. Not bad! Then she told me that there was a $75 surcharge she had to pay and this surcharge was assessed on everyone (she knew this because she spent a bit of time in the court waiting for her case to be called, so she heard a number of cases before hers and each person, in addition to the fine, needed to pay this $75 surcharge.

A surcharge? A SURCHARGE? For what? For the right to pay a fine? For the right to show up to court and defend yourself? I don’t question that this happened and I don’t criticize my wife for paying it, after all, she had no choice and she did get her fine reduced. Still, a surcharge? That is absolutely disgusting and as far as I am concerned, dishonest (and from what I have been told, it happens in many municipalities). These individuals should be held accountable. It is clearly just another way to make money, but instead of calling it a fine, they call it something else.

To any government that does something like this, all I can say is, “For shame on you”. Like I said at the beginning, it would be like me charging my students for the right to show up to my class, or for grading them.

I propose we do away with this surcharge and if the local municipality is suffering from the loss of revenue it generates, lets implement a surcharge that all elected officials must pay annually for the right to serve as our officials (maybe $1000). If we need more, lets charge the same surcharge to all people appointed by the elected officials to serve as officials of the municipality.

Again, I am amazed that governments can charge a surcharge for paying a ticket, I am amazed that they actually do this and I am disgusted by the fact that it takes place. It simply has strengthened my resolve to fight my speeding ticket, and to win, so I don’t have to pay this surcharge (should that municipality use this tactic), and I don’t intend on finding out