I love the Bill Gaither Quartet. I own most of the Gaither Homecoming CDs and Videos. So when I heard that two of my favorite past members of the quartet (Mark Lowry and David Phelps) were rejoining for a tour, I was anxious to know more.
I went on-line and was referred to VividSeats.com to purchase tickets for an upcoming April concert in Fort Worth.
Long story made short...
I ended up paying $490 for 4 tickets. When I actually received the tickets, the price printed on each ticket was $39.50. Here, let me save you the time to do the math - 4 X $39.50 = $150.
I know there are various fees and surcharges and mark-ups the ticket agencies charge...BUT:
$490 - $150 = $340 in extra charges ??????
I surfed around and found similar costs on various ticket sites.
What is going on here?
The fact is, the individual consumer - that's you and me - has little chance of buying good seats for any concert directly from the original source. Large ticket agencies are buying the best seats in huge blocks.
I don't blame the Gaithers. I don't think the performers have any control over this. I do know that there is a HUGE Gaither audience of elderly retired folks on fixed incomes. I feel sorry for them - even the $39 would be a stretch, but add on the extra charges, and they are totally blocked.
Something is wrong here. Really wrong.
But if the average consumer - that's me - just puts the money down and shrugs it off as business as usual, nothing will change.
But what choice do we really have? Pay the cash and enjoy a live concert, or save the money and stay home with my iPod?
You know those commercials for Southwest Airlines where something embarrassing happens to someone and you hear the voice-over, "Wanna get away?" That's how I'm feeling about our "profession" today...
Item One: A few days ago Scott McLeod wrote about his son's assignment in a math class. His son had to write the numbers from 1000 to 2000. You know...write them out...pencil to paper...as in 1,000...1,001...1,002...1,003...1,004 - 1,998...1,999...2,000. (I get mad just typing them!) It gets better...the other students had to write the numbers 0 to 1,000. Scott surmises his son is in the AP group since they progressed right to the bigger numbers (1000 to 2000). Hey, the thought about it being an AP assignment ain't THAT far off the mark. Isn't that the accepted practice for Gifted Kiddos...MORE/BIGGER/LOUDER = SMARTER? Forgive me, but something is seriously amiss with the entire design of that lesson...gosh, ya think?
Item Two: Today's headline on the Fox Morning News was about a 14 year old student who was expelled for taking a butter knife to school. By all reports on the news this was a "good" student with no history of discipline problems. She was in a hurry and left for school with the butter knife still in her possession after making some breakfast. She realized she had the knife and tried to return it, but the house was locked and she didn't want to be late for school. So, she took the knife to school and put it in her locker. It was discovered and she was EXPELLED FOR THE YEAR. OK, maybe leave the knife on the porch at home...maybe take it right to a teacher and explain...maybe the locker wasn't the smartest place to leave it. But for crying out loud, a BUTTER knife, a student with no discipline issues...maybe, MAYBE a coupla days suspension. An entire year of missed schooling for a butter knife? There's a crime here alright.
And finally, Item Three: I am writing a review of a new book titled Tested by Linda Perlstein. As part of my research for the post, I wanted to see how many days we are testing in my district this year. I pulled the Testing Calendar straight off the District Web Site. It was difficult research lemme tell ya...I simply printed the calendar and counted the days...We have 175 total days of school for students. Out of those 175 days, some type of test will be given on 132 of those days. That leaves a GRAND TOTAL of 43 days in my district on which NO students anywhere are taking any tests. 43. Oh my God, what are we doing?
That's when it hit me. Add these three items up and you get a picture of modern educational practices from lesson design to discipline to assessment that makes me sick.
<and at this point the voice-over asks...>
"Wanna Get Away?"
Sorry. Who? Mr. Farr?...the educator? Never heard of him...