December 8, 2009 11:12AM

UTLA Teaches Great Vocab Word: “Hyperbole”

A good vocabulary word--and an important rhetorical device--that kids should learn is "hyperbole." Indeed, in Los Angeles the teachers union has apparently thought illustrating hyperbole so important that the union has, on its own time, provided a crystal clear example of it. Talking about a proposed 11.75-percent pay cut to control the Los Angeles Unified School District's red ink flood, United Teachers of Los Angeles elementary vice president Julie Washington declared that she's afraid  "with a 12 percent pay cut we'll see homeless teachers..."

That's a deliberate exaggeration, alright! According to a February Los Angeles Daily News report, the average LAUSD teacher makes $63,000 a year. Even the lowest paid LAUSD teacher makes nearly $46,000. Meanwhile, according to the News, the average household--not single person--income in Los Angeles County is only about $73,000. So right now the household income of two average LAUSD teachers would be $126,000, almost 73 percent higher than the county average. A household of the lowest paid teachers would also substantially beat the county average, hitting $92,000. Presumably, that means that right now L.A. teachers can afford way better than average housing, much less no housing at all.

Would a 12 percent pay cut change that? No way! The average household of teachers would still make almost $111,000, and the lowest-rung teacher household would make nearly $81,000.

So thank you, UTLA: You're always looking to set up teachable moments, and this time you've succeeded with hyperbole!