Many of the folks who are making decisions about Public Education and other important issues facing the state are either so far to the right that the John Birch Society won’t take them, or a bit addled, possibly approaching senility.
After our group of IEA Local Presidents spent the morning on Thursday at the State house visiting our legislators, we returned to the meeting room and reported on what we had heard. Some of us were fortunate in that our legislators are sane. Reporting on my conversations with Donna Boe and James Ruchti was a pleasure. Likewise a few others. The disturbing thing was that many, reported conversations with legislators who just don’ understand what they are doing, don’t care what teachers think, and are a more that little bit looney. Several expressed a desire to eliminate Kindergarten as, not only a savings but as an unjustified intrusion by evil government on the family. Several expressed the need to “get the Federal Government out of Education.” One legislator actually stated that, “Since kids today are better behaved, large class sizes won’t hurt anything.” He actually said that. I’m sure many of you would like to invite him to be in your classroom for a while to see how well your students behave. I hardly know any elementary teacher who doesn’t have to deal with behavior issues that didn’t exist even ten years ago.
Many of these folks are of the same bent that questions Obama’s citizenship, believes the Communists are coming in their Black helicopters, and thinks Fox News really is “Fair and Balanced.” Some read The Spotlight as if it were biblical and a small number may actually be borderline senile. Ye these are the people making decisions about your life, the lives of your students and your families. Although they could try to find creative ways to raise revenue in dealing with this crisis, they lack both the courage and the desire to do anything about it. They are totally reactionary, thinking they can cut their way to success. Most of this crowd hasn’t had a creative idea since the Civil War.
Many of the Extreme Right Wing element which now controls the legislature see the financial “crisis” as cover to do the things that they have always wanted to do. They wish to return us to the early 20th or lat 19th century, do away with any and all “socialist” and progressive accomplishments and establish the imaginary libertarian utopia of their wildest ideological dreams. They do not see these changes as “temporary” but permanent, and high on their hit list are teacher rights. There will be an unprecedented attack on the contract rights of teachers this year. They will attempt to do away with our continuing contracts and with the Evergreen Clause which. they will be supported in this attack by the State Department of Ed, and tacitly if not directly by the Administrator’ s and School Board associations . You and I, through the IEA will have to be willing to stand and fight. It is only us, and our few friends in the Legislature against them.
Yours in Solidarity