Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FAKING SOLUTIONS: FIRING ALL THE TEACHERS


When I was on the recent peace walk one night a pot luck supper was held for us at a church in Warren, Rhode Island. One of the women, a teacher, who came to the event told us during the program after supper that she had received a notice of dismissal that day from the city of Providence. She was on the verge of tears as she talked about the growing effort of cities to bring in new teachers with no experience to replace existing teachers because the replacements would be cheaper. The cities don't want to have to pay the higher wages and benefits to veteran teachers.

The woman told us that it takes at least eight years of experience to become a good teacher. She feared for the children who will be thrown to the mercy of rookie teachers.

Local politicians who claim they are doing what is best for their communities and then pull shenanigans like this need to be sent packing. We need to demand that elected officials begin to protect and defend their constituents and one important way to do that is by them having the courage to demand that we Bring Our War $$ Home. By doing this we could solve the fiscal crisis of every city and every state in the nation.

Today I went to the weekly Lenten Peace Vigil at Bath Iron Works and as I was leaving I was speaking to a local high school girl who came to the event. She told me that one of her teachers showed a news clip from CBS's TV news program 60 Minutes that featured a story about the effects of homelessness and poverty on children. The girl told me that during the class discussion after the video she mentioned the numbers she found here on this blog: The total debt of all 50 state governments is now $130 billion. The U.S. will spend $170 billion on our wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan this year. Maine's share of war spending since 2001 is now right at $3.4 billion according to the National Priorities Project.

The girl said that it's been difficult to get many of her follow students interested in these issues but when she mentioned those numbers several of them took notice and commented. It just goes to show how sometimes it just takes one of us to have to courage to speak up and make these connections that can help move people from apathy into consciousness and action.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

It's the most insidious part of that "Texas Model" of everything, labor relations, executive power, schools...

If you keep the people ignorant enough they'll stand for a lot of unnecessary crap for a long long time. It's why the Slave Codes forbade the teaching of Negroes to read and write and why, after Reconstruction, the primary targets of the Klan were schools and teachers.

3/13/11, 6:42 PM  

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