Those of you that know me would probably agree that I have been largely quiet and fairly passive about politics. Don’t get me wrong, I always vote and I do have an opinion about most of the issues, but I really don’t enjoy conflict and it always seems that there are others more opinionated and passionate about the issues than me. Also, I often don’t seem to find the time to educate myself about the details of the key issues and as a result I tend to let the status quo play on without very little input from myself.
However, I did something yesterday that I have never done before and it was something that I am sure to never forget. I became an activist! Many of you are aware of the upcoming legislation being forced into the the state assembly and senate by our newly elected state governor, Scott Walker. It’s starting in Wisconsin and now Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are following suit. Even California, though they are thankfully not part of the Middlewest, introduced a similar bill yesterday.
This budget repair bill will strip collective bargaining away from all public employees except firefighters and law enforcement officers. While this affects many individuals on a very personal level, it will affect all of us in Wisconsin that benefit from our public schools. Our state has one of the best public school systems in the nation and by taking away collective bargaining, our children will suffer greatly. All the previously negotiable variables that made our classrooms ones that allowed quality education for our children will no longer exist. It has the potential to place teachers in an even more difficult work environment and at some point the career won’t be a desirable one..
I have experienced the life of the teacher through my mother (a high school teacher for many years before her untimely death) and favorite aunt (a middle school math teacher) and I know first hand what teachers endure on a daily basis. I assure all of you that they don’t do it for the pay. They do it because it is a passion. I grew up with it every day. My sophomore daughter, Emily, has always wanted to be a teacher and still has aspirations. I hope that she can continue to be passionate about her dreams knowing that our state supports teachers now and in the future.
Recently, I met someone who has also endured similar personal and emotional hardships in her recent past. She too is a teacher….and does she ever have an opinion! If you don’t believe me, just ask her for yourself sometime! Monday she called me up and asked if I wanted to join her and her father in Madsion on Tuesday to march with the other teachers and public employees. Of course I would! I am a product of public education and my children were at various times throughout their lifetimes. And especially in honor of my most respected and loved public school teachers, my aunt and deceased mother, I will fight this fight on all of their behalf!
We should treat our teachers as well as they treat our children. In my opinion, by allowing teachers to maintain collective bargaining will result in a WIN WIN. Teachers and their families win! Our children win!
Feel free to enjoy the pictures and videos of this day here: Madison Demonstation.