Young educator to GOP: To keep America safe, we must invest in education

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By Chelsey Herrig

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Last night’s GOP presidential debate was centered squarely on the safety of America. It’s understandable that figuring out how to counter terrorism be a topic in this debate.

But it’s disappointing that not a single Republican candidate understands that providing the best possible education for our citizens is a key part of every effort to keep our country safe and thriving for generations to come.

With the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, it was disappointing to watch the Republican candidates spend three hours fighting for the spotlight without one mention of how our nation is embarking upon a new era of education. The candidates did not even mention how the ISIS threat to our country is impacting our students and their education.

I was surprised when Donald Trump mentioned that he would invest more in schools and transportation, but he gave no details on where that money would go or how it would benefit students, nor did he suggest any connection between investing in students and strengthening our country and economy.

It was the only mention of America’s schools during the entire three hour debate (other than Chris Christie mentioning that students in New Jersey felt unsafe after receiving an e-mail threat).

What is discussed during a presidential debate—and what is ignored—matters.

America’s students are growing up saturated in media that would have them believe that living in fear of terrorists, and of being gunned down in your school is the norm. Public education should be acknowledged in the national conversation about strengthening our country, especially by a presidential candidate.

Our K-12 students deserve a President who will stand up for them, and so do America’s college students. So how are we going to make higher education more affordable and loan repayment more reasonable? How are we going to make sure that educator voices are heard in the process of making education policy?

Thus far, the Republican candidates have avoided talking about the issues that matter to us.

Reader Comments

  1. Oh, you’ll get lots of cooperation from the GOP when we turn schools from .org to .com and place them on the Stock Market. Think of all the capital we’re talking about!

    The GOP’s intent, according to an offhand comment made by one of our State legislators to a constituent when asked how they would go about privatizing public schools, remarked, “… starve the beast!” Politics and $money!$

    1. You better hope our educational system never hits the stock market. Share holders DEMAND results and currently our public education system is a giant failure. If we go public, most of us will lose our jobs due to the sheer incompetence!

      1. Scott, in my state (PA), for one thing, public schools are required to use the State Standardized test (PSSA) which are the product of public (for profit) corporations like Harcourt Educational Measurement, CTB McGraw-Hill, Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin company), and NCS Pearson, where private schools can opt out of these test and use their own tests that assess differently, so it is difficult to compare results using standardized test scores. (ALEC, a right wing think tank known for its position in favor of privatizing public schools is , advocating vouchers to speed public schools’ demise. Like every other politically divisive issue under the sun, there are those who claim that standardized tests are designed with answers ambiguous enough to confuse even the most ardent students, let alone students with IEPs, 504s, etc., just to make public schools appear, to use your word; “incompetent.”
        Public schools take in ALL the students from their communities, and cannot cherry pick students they admit through a selection process that includes multiple interviews, tests, as well as ethnicity, gender, religion, and parent assets…
        Then there’s the issue of teacher certification. Public school teachers are certified by attaining their Bachelor of Science degree from approved institutions; private or charter school teachers do not need to meet these standards.
        Plus, according to National Report Card (NAEP), a reportedly non-biased testing organization, private schools did no better than public schools, in spite of such advantages mentioned above. I don’t usually stoop to ad hominem attacks, but you should spell check your entries…

  2. Hey, Bob,

    As a teacher, you’re sure quick with advice, but you failed the “show and tell” test. You’ve “told” us, in a very uncivil tone, about how much of a liar Hillary Clinton is; but you’ve not “showed” us one example.

    I suppose you’re a little like Donald Trump: A lot of negative bluster but not s single helpful fact about anything.

    As a teacher, Bob, I grade you an F.

    1. Really, she confessed to lying about e-mails, she lied about healthcare and the tax amounts, she lied about republican candidates being racist, Libya, she lie, she lies, she lies. Get of the river of denial. Just the facts.

  3. The Republic batch of candidates are quite a group. However, everyone needs to recognize that Bernie is a self proclaimed Socialist, a recipe for financial disaster for any country and its residents: except those who do not like to work hard and suck on the hind teat of the government. Or how about pathological liar Billary?

    The interesting candidate, Trump at least is honest, arrogant, ambitious, rich, can’t be bought and intelligent, proud to be an American in the sense of how this country was created.

    Do not just line up behind any single issue for any candidate. For too long teacher organizations have blindly led their members in some particular direction with no consideration of the myriad of issues that need to be addressed by a real leader, which this country has lacked for the past couple of decades.

    For Clinton fans, you might wonder why she has been relatively silent in the recent past. My money says her campaign managers told her to keep her trap shut. That works best for her. If her mouth is not open, she is not lying about something.

    1. I am not a DEMOCRAT! But I can say without question that Donald Trump is nothing more than a side show, a circus performer, and a snake oil salesman! As a country, I believe we deserve a President like Trump because the overwhelming majority of our voters are uninformed, uneducated citizens who pick a candidate based on personality, or the way one looks. It’s really quite pathetic and because of our shallowness we have earned the right to see President Donald Trump in the White House.

    2. Bob, if you’re a teacher, you should be familiar with 19th and 20th century USA history as it pertains to the deep shyt we’re in today, thanks to recent tax, financial sector deregulation, FTAs, and FEC funding.
      why is the mighty USA broke(n)? Why have we been wading deeper into debt for close to 50 years? For an answer, you have to go back to the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, when a majority of our citizens who worked in agriculture and the trades, began to leave the farms for steady jobs in the towns and cities that housed the “factories.”
      The Great Depression was arguably caused by wealth consolidation to the top, much of which was accomplished when the majority of the capital growth went to Industrial companies (corporations) that monopolized commerce, as well as those who invested (in same corporations) on Wall Street. Stagnant or declining wages for our workforces, now dependent on factory jobs to keep stock yields high, eventually resulted in reduced consumption and the stockpiling of goods that couldn’t be sold, then demand for production fell, and the ensuing snowball effect of unemployment (lay-offs), further demand reduction, and the domino effect of diminished returns on the stock market, the curtailment of capital investments, the withdrawal of capital when stock prices sheered off, and finally the bank runs, and Stock Market crash of ’29.
      Coming out of the Great Depression, with its lessons of loss and suffering fresh on the minds of our nation and its elected officials, policies were enacted to fortify and bolster a thriving middle class consumer market. To kick start a recovery, Roosevelt enacted New Deal work programs for the displaced workers like the CCC, CWA, and PWA. Then, policies like The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, The Wagner Act, otherwise known as The National Labor Relations Act, and later, the Employment Act of 1946, were all measures enacted to fortify the middle class.
      The Glass-Steagall Act separated the investment banks from commercial banks, and marginal tax rates were set at 90% to incentivize investment in the USA. These measures, it was agreed, were necessary to fortify the middle class (create and sustain a dynamic consumer economy), stabilize the financial sector, and practically assure the investment of capital back into the USA.
      These measures were met with bitter opposition and cries of protest from the financial and business sectors and their friends and profit protectors (Republicans) in Congress who claimed they were “unconstitutional,” an “infringement on freedoms,” “socialism,” etc. … Sound familiar?
      But look at the results! For the remainder of most of the 20th century, the USA cultivated the world’s premier, most prosperous consumer economy. The cumulative effect of employing millions of high wage workers resulted not only in the clearing of retail shelves (demand) and the uptick in production, but in the filling of local, state, and federal treasuries (workers’ taxes come right off their paychecks; no carried interest, capital gains, stock options and other tax dodge strategies employed by the rich). To get a tax break, the rich INVESTED their vast wealth in the USA: A win-win-win set-up. Our middle class was gainfully employed, our wealthy received outstanding returns on their INVESTMENTS, taxed at a fraction of their marginal rate of 90%, and our treasuries were plush with cash.
      Together, we were able to achieve the largest expansion in US history, create a “social safety net” (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, unemployment compensation, etc.), develop the world’s most powerful military, rebuild post WWII Europe and Japan (The Marshall Plan), invest in our infrastructure (roads, dams, bridges, suburbs, parks and recreation, etc.) win the Race to the Moon, AND win the Cold War against the competing Communist system.
      During those years of unparalleled Historic USA expansion and investment, we even had eight years when there were budget surpluses (1947, 48, 49, 51, ’56, ’57, 60, and ’69). We also had steady trade surpluses up until around 1975; by then the corporate model of offshoring of our manufacturing sector jobs (shoe, garment, textile, toys, and electronics) to 3rd world countries to by-pass the high wage US worker began to take its toll. Then, by the end of the millennium, GATT and NAFTA, but in 2001, when China (Avg. wage- $1.36/hr., some of their children work for 30 cents/hr.) joined the WTO (with MFN status), even our jobs in Mexico left for China, and it’s been a steep downhill plunge ever since. (Incidentally, our burgeoning trade deficits exceeded over Half a Trillion $$$/yr. by 2004 and have not diminished!)
      In my view, our middle class got fat and happy, stopped paying attention, and left the fight for their slice of the American Pie to “someone else,” but in the business sector, their eye never wanders from the bottom line. They continued to probe the fences for weaknesses so they could reclaim their “losses” to US labor.
      FTAs incentivized the jobs exodus to offshore sweatshops in exchange for ever higher Wall Street returns, which introduced the “global economy” where “multinationals” and “transnationals” continue their monopolization of world commerce. The Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act repealed The Glass Steagall Act and initiated the deregulation fever that created the lucrative bonus systems on Wall Street trading that witnessed the “smartest men in the room” behaving badly, then Citizens United and the Super PACs purchased our elections which opened the floodgates of money-for-influence in our “pay-to-play” legislature we have today. Marginal taxes on our top earners were continuously reduced since the 50s and 60s until today’s rates are around 39% (they were dropped as low as 28% throughout the 80s) and capital gains (where most of the earnings of the wealthy reside, have been reduced to somewhere around 15%, about half the rate the middle class pays… All of these bills advanced the interests of BIG $$$, and the by-pass of the spoiled, fat and complacent USA middle class (aka: we the people). And now, after 30 years of favor for our “job creators” (how disingenuous), and the decimation of the middle class consumers, the USA has her tit in a ringer!
      Ironically, no sooner had the USA won the Cold War, proving to the world that BALANCED capitalism (this is what Bernie Sanders is calling Democratic Socialism), combined with a prosperous middle class consumer market was a system that really worked, than capitalists went about proving Karl Marx right about how capitalism- run amok, works.
      And now, after just 35 years of legislative favor (trickle down, supply side economics, capitalism run amok), we’re back to pre-Great Depression conditions where corporatists have managed to purchase legislative favor, and garner all of the gains to themselves that they were once required to share with our middle class. Our Utopian (sophisticated and expensive) society is going broke, and guesses who is making record gains again? It’s a bubble that is bound to burst!
      We’ve forgotten the lessons of the past.

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