Monday, June 15, 2009

Fabio Botarelli (2nd Blog: First Week On The Job)

My first work week began on a dramatic Monday morning with the unfortunate breakdown of the first two trains destined for Capital South, the stop of my work location. With ten minutes left before the dreaded 9:00 am time, I raced to the Senate Office building, reaching Schumer’s office two minutes early. The first thing that they had us do was teach us how to operate the phones. Later in the day they gave us a tour of the Senate building in which I took many pictures on my phone. But for the most part my first day on the job was about learning phones, checking mail and learning how to write constituent mail. For the next few days we performed the tasks that they have trained me to do but the real change in my schedule with on Wednesday when they had me attend the Dirksen building to attend a subcommittee hearing on charter schools. I was given this assignment due to the drafts that I have written for constituent mail and the fact that my boss was a legislative assistant who specialized in education. I was required at the meeting to write an action memo based on the notes that I have taken at the hearing. By the conclusion at this meeting I was able to completely understand why I wanted to get involved in politics. I wanted to hear about public policy before it hit the papers, sort of like watching a movie before it hit the theaters. From this meeting I learned how charter schools were outperforming their rivals due to the fact that they promoted a competitive education system in which only the brightest students could attend certain charter schools. The teachers who taught at these schools were more qualified because their salaries were determined based on their ability to teach. But the charter schools are not under the dominion of the all powerful teachers unions, so resistance is to be expected as more charter schools are opened. By the end of the week I was tired but thrilled that I got to learn so much in only a short amount of time. When it comes to everything in life the first stages are usually to toughest but I know that after this week I will not only know what to expect but will be given more challenging tasks that will take me outside of the office.

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