Lord knows I have had my issues with teachers. They can be pedantic, rigid, overly sensitive, autocratic and, occasionally, disrespectful to parents. I assume this has something to do with having to spend all their day with developing human beings who need a firm hand and that they sometimes don’t know when to stop.
I could never do what they do. I don’t have the patience or organizational skills. I don’t have the passion or mysterious magical ingredient that would make me want to spend all of my working day in a classroom herding cats.
So, when I read about what Philadelphia is planning for negotiations with their teachers’ union, my blood boiled.
These are working people who earn a living. Taking a 13% cut in pay is not an option. In fact, reducing the power and wages of the teachers’ unions comes back to bite all of us in the ass. We shouldn’t be pointing our fingers at them asking why their lives and wages are secure. We should be asking ourselves how we can get what they have. Not only that but the school systems of our nation should not be just another source for exploitative profit mining* for the well-connected.
It doesn’t serve American ingenuity or our future to have everyone stressed out to the max about where their next meal is coming from or how we’re going to pay hospital bills without go ing deeply into debt. And when we start inflicting that kind of stress on our teachers, it’s going to affect performance in the classroom. They’re human beings, not saints.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s up with Philadelphia’s finances. Maybe this is all just a giant scare tactic to illustrate what’s going to happen if we fail to fund our governments and go through with sequesters. But I’ve driven through parts of North Philadelphia and am shocked by the condition of the place. Houses are falling apart and trash is strewn everywhere. People LIVE there and it’s like a third world country. Do we want to add to that destitution by depriving people of their ability to free their minds? It’s disgraceful. What’s next? School fees like the kind they have in Africa where families have to decide which kid gets an education?
So, count me among the supporters of Philly’s teachers and teachers everywhere.
*Exploitative Profit Mining- the practice of seeking new profit streams from the exploitation of unprotected working people either through non-transparent financial transactions or privatization of public services. Add it to your lexicon.