I think many of us have the sense that teachers are losing ground. My older sister and her husband were both teachers, then administrators, during what now look like the glory years of public education. One of the friends I most admire was a teacher, administrator, and finally a superintendent of schools in Massachusetts. Florence wanted to be a lawyer but bright young girls from 1930’s Flatbush mostly weren’t, Brooklyn neighbor RBG notwithstanding. My friend Ada taught both of my kids in elementary school. My friend Sally was a teacher and a building administrator. These are all exceptionally bright women who, had they come of age today, could have been anything.
A good teacher can make a world of difference in a child’s life. One that is unkind or inept can cause inestimable damage.
Teachers may not have made what others with comparable education did, but they had three months off in the summer and generous health care and pension benefits in addition to compensation. No more. Now, those benefits come in lieu of salary — and with the rickety state of public employee pensions in many states, that future bet hardly looks so secure.
If we say that teaching isn’t important enough to justify a professional salary package, then we’re saying our kids and their futures are not important either.
This drive to diminish public education isn’t coming from Congress as a whole; it’s a core belief of the Republican party, who want their children in charter schools whose ethnic makeup they can control. Betsy DeVos, our remarkably ignorant Secretary of Education, is the poster girl for their position — part of Trump’s Make America White Again agenda.
Think about that when you vote.