Hundreds picket state school leaders Munster visit

Hundreds picket state school leaders Munster visit.

Please click the above link to read the brief Times article first, thanks!
I just want to speak a word in support of teachers. The Indiana plan recently put forward by the Republicans I voted for seems to be an adventure in missing the point. In my opinion, Charter schools aren’t the answer unless they charter under a mandate to educate every child in the neighborhood. Otherwise, they’ll likely siphon off more motivated students, leaving struggling schools even weaker with less funds and staff to accomplish their mission. To at the same time severely limit collective bargaining and teacher tenure seems like an attack on hard-working public servants.
I’ve done some substitute teaching in our region. I have to say I’ve discovered good teachers who care about our kids and many positive students who want to learn. But the biggest challenges seem to come where there isn’t much support at home. And this brings me to why I’m so mystified by current Republican leadership. I’ve voted for both parties over the years, especially in local elections. But I’ve voted Republican more than Democrat. I’m probably registered Democrat right now because I wanted to vote in a primary for an office Republicans probably wouldn’t win. Yet, I voted for our Indiana Governor and a Republican State Rep. So this isn’t about politics. It’s about standing up for teachers and encouraging families to support their children’s education. To me, what can make the Republican Party great is an emphasis on personal responsibility. Republicans are supposed to be about emphasizing the family. The current policy clearly makes it about blaming teachers and needing “better” schools. In my experience, parents can make the single greatest difference in the success of their children. Part of the challenge teachers face is that quite a few parents seem to expect schools to raise and discipline their children. Parents who discipline their children to respect teachers (and other students) and do their homework produce successful students regardless of the school they attend. So if there’s a Superman we’re waiting for or a magic bullet, it’s families.
To me this is a colossal Republican failure because it claims the answer is in schools and teachers rather than in the home. I think it’s about much more than balancing budgets. It seems like the absence of fresh ideas has made it convenient to make schools and teachers into straw men; standing political whipping-boys to blame for society’s ills. It acts as if schools are all-powerful. It only empowers families to play the blame game. In many neighborhoods of NW Indiana, teachers face abusive misbehavior from the pledge of allegiance to the final bell. Then, if they try to discipline the students, parents call administrators who are all too happy to undermine the Teacher’s attempt. But if the test scores don’t improve it must be the teachers’ fault. Hogwash. In most cases, the issue is way deeper than any teacher can solve. If the only perks these hard-working soldiers get is a stable salary, based on years of service, good insurance, and a decent retirement who can begrudge them? Indiana already pays teachers much less than neighboring states. If these benefits are undermined, many teachers will reach their breaking point. College students will choose another path. The best and brightest will cross the border to serve where they’re valued more.
I don’t understand why we want for-profit businesses to get tax cuts, but insist that paying our teachers is a burden! (I understand and support conservative economic theory, but not to the extent of undermining teachers and children, the future of our state.) Tax benefits should not be given on the backs of education.
Remember, to be a teacher requires a 4 year degree at an accredited school, passing teacher-certification exams, and keeping up with rigid continuing education standards. Truly unqualified teachers rarely make this cut. Teachers who don’t care about kids usually don’t make it to tenure. They abandon ship early in the journey. I’m tired of my leaders vilifying these long-suffering heroes of our state.
This article actually caused me to tear up. How great to see parents and spouses (and even dogs!) standing up for teachers. How sad that their opportunity to do so had to be in protest of a Republican leader. Mr. Bennett, please stop blaming and attacking teachers and schools in challenging times. Please start empowering families to support their schools motivate their children, passing on faith and values that will make every school great. It doesn’t cost Indiana a dime to ask parents to fulfill their responsibilities.
God, please bless teachers, schools and families. Renew our nation. Make us whole again. And let justice roll so government leaders look to more root causes of our national challenges. Please protect us from misguided ideas, seemingly designed to weaken our most vulnerable schools. Please empower our families to love our kids into greatness of spirit and character. Please give us a hope and a future so we can stop blaming each other and fighting straw men in the present.
May your Kingdom come, your will be done. In earth as it is in heaven.


Posted on March 1, 2011, in Chicagoland, Family, Spiritual Formation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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