Massachusetts educator warns: “Romney would move us backwards”
By Amanda Litvinov
As Lois Jacobs’ job evolved from library teacher to media specialist over the course of her 23 year career, she saw the first computers, Apple IIs, brought into school libraries to replace paper card catalogues. Now retired, Jacobs doesn’t recall feeling nostalgic about the transition.
“I am not interested in going backwards,” said Jacobs, referring not only to library operations but also to politics. The Massachusetts resident, who was a public employee and Massachusetts Teachers Association member during Mitt Romney’s single-term governorship, says one of her top concerns these days is the possibility of a Romney presidency.
“It was very much an imperial governorship,” she recalled. “He didn’t work that well with the statehouse, and he wasn’t open and available to us as citizens.” And that’s not all. “Trust me,” Jacobs continued, “he’s not here to see the public schools survive.”
That’s why Jacobs picked up and headed to New Hampshire to join fellow supporters of President Obama for a counter-rally when she found out Romney was making an appearance there.
“I decided it was time to put my boots on the ground,” she said. “I am a retiree on a fixed income, and I make donations when I can, but what I can give the candidates I support is my time versus my money. If they need me to show up holding a sign to say, ‘We’re not going away,’ that’s what I’ll do.”
And that’s what she would encourage all educators and public school supporters to do.
Jacobs said she is supporting the President’s re-election because she’s been impressed by Obama’s efforts to keep educators in the classroom as well as his support of workers’ rights, women’s rights, and health care reform.
Looking both at Romney’s record in Massachusetts and the stands he’s taken while campaigning, Jacobs is convinced that in education and on issues of social justice Romney “would be an agent of the right. Romney would be happy to see a corporate model applied to schools where principals are like CEOs, parents and kids are consumers, and teachers have no voice.”
She fears that decades of progress made through collective bargaining and educator-led reforms would be “out the window.” Romney’s promise to take so-called “right to work” legislation nationwide indicates that she’s right.
Educator and parent groups alike have also been dismayed by Romney’s insistence that class size doesn’t matter when it comes to providing a quality education.
“Anyone, who thinks class size does not matter knows nothing about young people’s needs,” commented teacher Cindy Crebbin, who had a class of more than 50 students in her Milwaukee high public school last year. She added that Romney might gain some perspective were he left in charge of a classroom like hers for a week, “to get a real taste of eduational needs.”
The bottom line for Jacobs, what really gets to her, is that Romney ”would put people in charge who would take us backwards in terms of the rights of working people and education philosophy.”
“I grew up pecking away at a typewriter, it’s a part of my history. But would I want to go back to that?” Jacobs asked. “I don’t want to go back technologically, mentally, or socially. Let kids laugh at typewriters when they see them in movies—it’s time to move on. That’s how our country moves forward.”
Education Support Professionals (ESPs) reflect on the importance of voting, political action and ongoing participation in their communities and workplaces. Read More