It’s back to school time again, and it’s time to get those no good, lazy leftist overpaid whiny teachers off their butts and back into the classroom.
At least this is how many in my state of Wisconsin profess to feel about teachers these days. Ever since presidential candidate and governor in absentia Sarah Pal__, wait, I mean Scott Walker (sorry – I accidently mistook one brainless self-promoting Republican for another) came into power, teachers and education have been targets, first in removing the right to collectively bargain and now through ridiculous and unprecedented budget cuts. Walker is making the vilification of teachers and his “bold” and “unintimidated” assault on them the center of his presidential qualifications. He has even compared teachers to ISIS.
That’s right – he’s compared the people we leave our children with every day to barbaric terrorists who behead people.
And many on the right see nothing wrong with this.
Here are a few of the complaints about teachers taken point by point:
“Teachers are overpaid”
Which ones, the ones working in the violent inner city or the ones teaching the obnoxious and spoiled and conceited suburban kids? The point is, they have our children for about eight hours a day and their job is to try and make something valuable out of them. What could be more important? What could be more difficult? What do we love more than our children?
“They only work nine months out of the year”
And they put up with the worst brats and most obnoxious parents, they have to maintain licenses and accreditations, keep up with curriculum changes, and stay fresh. All for less money than they could make in the private sector. A summer vacation doesn’t seem extravagant – if we want them to retain their sanity.
“They’re nothing but glorified babysitters”
And take your two income household and see how long your jobs last without these “babysitters” to look after your kids. Or go out to dinner for a couple of hours and pay that bubble headed teenaged girl next door to look after your kids. Then imagine paying that same rate for eight hours a day, five days a week.
“They’re pushing a political agenda that conflicts with our faith”
No, it’s not an agenda, it’s called science and history – and before you complain that evolution is blasphemy and that the bible says the earth is only six thousand years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed and that global warming is just a theory and why do we need to teach science when the Lord God will look after us all, consider this – if we stop teaching science in favor of fundamentalist theology, where will the cure for cancer of heart disease or Parkinson’s disease come from? Where will the people who fix our cars or our washing machines or make sure our food and drinking water is safe come from? And as far as global warming being “only a theory,” remember that gravity is also only a theory.
If your child isn’t taught foundational and fundamental English, math, science and history, what role is he or she likely to have as an adult? Parents are supposed to want better for their children than for themselves.
“My kids are grown and out of the house – why should my property taxes pay for the next generation of kids?
When you go to the hardware store, do you want the cashier to be able to calculate how much change you get back? What is it worth to you to keep teenaged kids in school? Or would you rather see them roaming the streets, bored and stupid, looking for trouble to get into. Everyone benefits from a well-educated populous. When education is effective, income goes up and crime goes down.
And save your breath, I know what you’re going to say: “If the system is so great, why do we have so many problems: Inner city drop outs and gangs and crimes, childhood obesity, low literacy and test scores, teen pregnancies …” and on and on. Look, I’m not saying there aren’t issues. But these issues aren’t going to be solved by demonizing those who are on the front line, nor are they going to be solved by five second slogans or sound bites. It took a long time for things to get this bad, it’s going to take some serious work and innovation to straighten these things out. I’m having trouble grasping how removing teachers’ rights to collectively bargain or by lowering the minimum requirements to teach or slashing budgets is going to fix anything.
“They get better benefits and pensions than I do.”
This may be true – and if it is, you should protest loudly and energetically – and demand you get just as good benefits as they do! The sad reality is we are all paying a lot more for health care and receiving a lot less in pensions than we were only a couple of years ago. So why, unless we are really stupid, would we want to bring someone who is getting better benefits down to our level? Wouldn’t we be better off asking why our benefits aren’t as good? Wouldn’t we be better off raising ourselves up instead of tearing others down?
Teachers are people who have chosen, as their vocation, to help our children find and reach their potential. They have chosen to serve us, the parents, and we in turn put out trust in them to reap the generosity of their souls and the fruits of their endless hard work. It’s an honorable and vital profession, worthy of deep thought and appreciation, not vilification and opportunism.