Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Friday, 15 November 2013 04:18

Teacher's Day

Written by  Bob Serody

 

Teacher’s Day

A friend of ours e-mailed the following message, “It is Teacher’s Day today in China. Students send cards and flowers to show their best wishes to their teachers today. It seems that people around the world honor teachers … different days.”

Little did he know that where I live, teachers are no longer held in high regard. After a decade of FCAT testing, Florida ranks 47th in the nation in graduation rates. We have a very wealthy Governor whose objective is to further diminish public schools by privatizing Florida’s school system. He plans to keep federal stimulus money out of Florida by rejecting billions of dollars of Obama’s new jobs plan, money that would create much-needed jobs in our state.

As long as this country’s wealth is so unevenly distributed, the lack of jobs does not bother Rick Scott. The governor hopes to convince us that eliminating big government and lowering tax rates will bring back jobs, but this plays into the hands of the Republican Party’s wealthy supporters. They believe that accumulating personal wealth is associated with depressed wages, deregulation, no collective bargaining, elimination of the minimum wage, no tenure for teachers, pension plans limited to executives, reduced public services, and no health benefits.

Could we be going back to a time when these social gains didn’t exist? In 1922 Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a middle class businessman in real estate named George F. Babbitt and attempted to describe how this man viewed his fellow countrymen. In a speech to elect his party’s mayor, Babbitt had this to say.

“The American businessman is generous to a fault, but one thing he does demand of all teachers and lecturers and journalists: if we are going to pay them our good money, they’ve got to help us by selling efficiency and whooping it up for rational prosperity! And when it comes to these blah-mouth, fault-finding, pessimistic, cynical University teachers, let me tell you that during this golden coming year it’s just as much our duty to bring influence to have those cusses fired as it is to sell all the real estate and gather in all the good shekels we can.” 1

He might as well have been trying to elect the right-wing members of today’s Republican Party.

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1. "Babbitt" by Sinclair Lewis; Quote from pg 188.

 

Last modified on Friday, 15 November 2013 04:24
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