Ah, the teacher, the unlikely companion in the race to save us from ourselves. We ask a lot of our teachers. They help raise our children, they provide mentorship, they buy supplies, they serve as a therapeutic ear to their students needs. Sometimes, they do this without heat in the classrooms, or without safe drinking water from the fountains. Indeed, we ask a lot of our teachers, but now they are asking something from us: to LISTEN!
Teachers went on strike in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and most recently Arizona. Further strikes are to occur in Colorado. They are doing so after years of stagnate wages and lack of proper upward adjustments in education funding. And no, not all school districts are created equal. The strikes come from the bottom percentiles in terms of losing out on education funds since 2008:
From my experience as both a student and a teacher, I can tell you how important proper funding is. As a student in Northern Virginia, I went to a top notch high school with plenty of diversity, arts, sports, and academics. Our buildings were under constant construction while I attended, but they turned the school into a remarkable campus with all the amenities.
As a teacher in Baltimore City, however, I experienced a shortage of chairs, which led to students sitting on the radiator, which broke the radiator so everyone had to wear coats in the classroom during the cold days. The Math Cart, which we had to use to give state sanctioned tests, would have to be manually hauled up and down the stairs when the elevator wasn't working due to frequent electric outages and sometimes small fires. The water fountains could not be used for fear of lead poisoning. The bathrooms had stalls without doors.
It is amazing the difference in the quality of learning when schools have the resources they need to conduct business. Most people agree, according to a poll on the recent teacher strikes:
People are listening, are politicians?