The Republican War on the Teachers
A war is being waged against America’s teachers, and we must stand up for them before it’s too late.
Teachers watch over America’s most valuable asset – our children.
They dedicate their lives to caring for our youth, serving as role models and ensuring that future generations thrive.
Why on earth are we treating them so badly?
Not only do our country’s teachers work long, grueling hours in and out of the classroom—they are now blamed for almost everything imaginable.
They are yelled at by parents for masks, scolded by school officials for books they assign to their students or read, vilified by politicians for teaching honest lessons about America’s history of racism and genocide, and even urged to speak out against the possibility that their classrooms might be invaded by murderous young men with semi-automatic machines.
Teachers also earn less than ten years ago. Their average salary today is about $66,000, but adjusted for inflation, that’s a $2,000 pay cut compared to 2012. As recently as 2018, nearly 600,000 public school teachers had to take part-time jobs.
We also saddle our nation’s educators with enormous debt. Almost half of teachers, 45%, have taken out student loans to pay for the graduate degrees they often demand — with an average debt load of $55,800.
Additionally, 94% of teachers had to dig into their own pockets to buy school supplies. This in the richest country in world history! And that’s at a time when the average Wall Street employee bonus for 2021 has hit a record high of $257,500. It would take a typical teacher nearly four years to make that much — and that’s just a bonus for Wall Street traders — a massive golden cherry on top of their increasingly sweet salaries.
I suspect Wall Street companies don’t let retailers pay for their own pens.
Are Wall Street bankers really worth that much more than the people we ask to care for and teach our children? Please.
But none of this has stopped Republicans from accelerating their war on teachers and turning educators into political pawns in their struggle to impose a radical agenda.
As of January 2021, 35 states have introduced 137 bills restricting what educators can talk to their students about — related to race, American history, politics, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida are frontrunners in this campaign, even supporting legislation that interferes with a teacher’s ability to create lesson plans.
Republicans are quick to toss the terms “critical race theory” or “wokeism” against any curriculum that allows our youth to express their identities, encourages critical thinking, and speaks honestly about our nation’s tragic racial history — they call it “indoctrination” or “brainwashing.” .”
Because the greatest threat to the Republican Party is a new multiracial generation of young people who are not afraid to speak truth to those in power.
Ultimately, unless we learn from our history—which often means learn from our mistakes—we cannot address our nation’s most pressing issues while building a better, more inclusive future. The cornerstone of that future begins in the classroom.
So how can we defend ourselves against this war against America’s teachers?
Start by paying them double what they earn. The absolute essentials.
Second, fight for your freedom to teach. Many of the decisions that affect the day-to-day work of teachers – as well as the lives of students – are made at local school board meetings. I know go to one. Better yet, apply for a position on your local school board.
Third, listen to our teachers. Do you know what has been lost in the cultural and political struggle against education in this country? The voices of ACTUAL teachers. If we really want to support them and repair the damage that has been done to our education system, they need to be heard.
Defend our teachers. Pay our teachers. Appreciate our teachers. Your work determines our future.