It has been a rough year to be a public school teacher, the roughest in recent memory. Gov. Rick Perry joined governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states in declaring war on the profession, costing thousands of teachers their jobs, increasing class sizes for others and undermining the strength of the public school system, the foundation of our future.
Wouldbe education “reformers” – some wellintended, but others simply trying to turn our schools into profit centers for their own entrepreneurial schemes – remain busy promoting charters, vouchers, virtual schools and other alleged “miracle” solutions. Those ideas may benefit a handful of students, while robbing our traditional public schools of the tax dollars they need to provide an equitable and adequate education to the vast majority of our children.
While antieducation governors pander to ideologues, while “reformers” scheme and while selfstyled “experts” try to tell us what is wrong with our public schools, the real education experts – our public school teachers are doing what really matters. And, they are doing it very well, under increasingly difficult circumstances. They are in the classroom every school day, teaching our young people how to learn.
According to one estimate, there are 12,000 fewer teachers in Texas classrooms now than there were a year ago, victims of a governor and a legislative majority who slashed $5.4 billion from school budgets. This time next year, there will be fewer still, and many teachers who keep their jobs may see their pay cut and their class sizes continue to grow. But their dedication to their profession and their students remains strong, and their importance to their students’ futures is more vital than ever.
Thanksgiving is a good time to remember to be thankful for our public school teachers. And, this year, they have earned an extra dose of gratitude – from people who really mean it.