Posted In: ESEA/NCLB, Retired Educators, Uncategorized, Workers' Rights

Election 2010: Why Education Voters Should Care

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by Felix Perez

Why is this election important?  Why should education voters go to the polls?

Here are a few reasons:

Teachers are under attack like never before. The most recent of several examples comes from a U.S. Senator who said single women who are pregnant or dating, and gays and lesbians should be barred from teaching.  There’s ‘Waiting for Superman,’ which pans teachers’ right to due process, that is, the right not to be dismissed without reason, and lionizes charter schools (even though less than one out of five outperform public schools) while painting public schools as a disaster.  And then there is Education Nation, the weeklong series of programming by NBC billed as an ‘informed and enlightened’ national conversation on improving public education.  Instead, the network gave a megaphone to celebrities and billionaires with no expertise in education while providing scant airtime to the voices of parents and families and, most distressing, the perspectives of the professionals in our classrooms.

Congress will rewrite No Child Left Behind next year. The men and women elected to the U.S. Senate and House will determine what changes will be made to the law.  Among the issues at play are paying teachers based on student test scores (even though teachers have no control over whether a student is poor, hungry or has unaddressed medical problems that impede learning), the use of test results to punish and stigmatize students, teachers and schools, and one-size-fits-all mandates.

Retirement security is under assault. Educators are paid less than private sector employees with comparable educations and experience, and have agreed to forego salary increases for years in exchange for a decent standard of living when we retire.  Yet candidates in state after state are scapegoating teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency workers and other public service workers for budget deficits.

Politicians want to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age. One U.S. Senate candidate called Social Security ‘unconstitutional.’  Another likened it to a ‘Ponzi’ scheme. While yet a third wants to raise the retirement age to 70.  Social Security lifts 20 million people out of poverty, and survivors’ benefits are an irreplaceable part of our children’s safety net.  Diverting Social Security funds to private accounts will expose the retirement security of millions of Americans to the volatility of the stock market.

Republican leaders vow to cut education funding by 20 percent. In their recently released economic plan, ‘A Pledge to America,’ Republican leaders promise to cut education funding by 20 percent, which would drop 200,000 children from Head Start and cut financial aid for 8 million college students.

Education voters, like all voters, are concerned about the economy and jobs.  Education voters understand that the single largest determinant of America’s success is whether we’re offering our children the best education possible.

It’s time to stand up to those special interests that tear down public schools and demonize teachers who, despite being subjected to relentless criticism and working under tremendous pressure, put in 12 hour days, work weekends, and spend thousands of dollars of their own money on student supplies.

We can change this conversation. We can answer the elites who say they know our kids better than we do, who would like nothing better than to silence our voice.

Talk to your coworkers, friends and family î º beginning now and until election day.  Volunteer at your local phone bank or neighborhood canvass.  Attend a rally.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of pro-public education candidates.  Share your ideas with us on how you’re getting involved.  Sign up to volunteer at Education Votes and recommend the site to others.  We can turn the election around one voter at a time.

Reader Comments

  1. Delonte West

    Candidates, politicians and TV talking heads who attack teachers and public schools would like nothing more than for us to be discouraged and stay home on election day. Well, in our great system, we have the power to decide who wins. We will not be deterred or intimidated. Share this article with your friends. There’s too much at stake to sit this one out.

    Reply
  2. Glenn S

    We might be taken more seriously if we didn’t support every tax raising, democrat for office. I am a 16 year public school teacher and have never once been asked by our “leaders” which candidates we should endorse. We lockstep with the liberals while most people are moderate and fiscally conservative – perhaps that’s why we are under attack

    Reply
  3. CommonSense4you

    “One U.S. Senate candidate called Social Security ‘œunconstitutional.’ Another likened it to a ‘œPonzi’ scheme. ”

    Social Security can actually be described as a pyramid scam. When it was first drafted those that opposed it claimed that it would never be self sustaining and that congress would use it as a slush fund. Guess what? They were correct and the progressives were incorrect. Social Security has been robbed and is now running at 53 Trillion in unfunded liabilities. This is not a safety net, it’s a death trap for this country. I am absolutely amazed that anyone would want to defend a system that has essentially created more debt than any program in the history of any country. I would expect “teachers” to know better than to completely ignore logic in place for illogical feelings around a system that is a complete failure. Then again I guess we are talking about the same teachers that make up the public school system which is failing everywhere.

    Reply
  4. Patricia Heller-Bramblett

    As a high school math teacher, I don’t know when everything changed in the educational world, but it has. Teachers are no longer considered professionals. Instead, we are the scape goats for a system that has decided for every student that every student should be college bound to be successful. We have taken away the rights of individual students to make any choice but a college education.

    Yes, there are teachers who teach below the standard levels of the educational system. But there are many, many teachers who work hard every day to make sure that each student is treated fairly and given the best chance to succeed. Those well-educated, dedicated teachers who spend 40-60 hours a week to assure that their classrooms afford excellent learning environments.

    When was the last time one of our law-makers tried to prepare a lesson plan for multiple intelligences, with differentiated levels of instructions so that all students from below average to gifted receive the correct amount of instruction. With class levels rising and teacher work environments and supplies being removed due to budget cuts, teachers are challenged every day to continue to succeed regardless of the obstacles.

    I don’t know what the cure for our ailing educational system is, but I know that the current process of punishing teachers and students who do not produce grades at the “appropriate” levels, is not a good solution.

    Reply
  5. laverdad

    Candidates, politicians and TV talking heads who attack teachers and public schools would like nothing more than for us to be discouraged and stay home on election day. Well, in our great system, we have the power to decide who wins. We will not be deterred or intimidated. Share this article with your friends. There’s too much at stake to sit this one out.

    Reply

Reader Comments

Learn More to Get Involved