I am a product of the Wisconsin educational system. I received an excellent elementary education in Racine, Wisconsin. My dad was an executive with the farm equipment division of The Case Corporation, which had its primary headquarters in Racine at that time. (Case-New Holland is now a global farm equipment company.) Quite naturally I have watched the events in the Wisconsin state legislature this week, which have dramatic implications for public educators.
Teachers in Wisconsin have had collective bargaining rights for a long time. A bill introduced in their state legislature would effectively remove that privilege. (Other state employees would be affected in a similar manner as I understand it.) Are teacher unions a good idea? I could probably argue both sides of that issue. What troubles me goes much deeper than the existence of a teacher’s union.
Public school teachers are the backbone of our society. In today’s world, we expect them to be social workers, security keepers, and trained diplomats to handle conflicts with helicopter parents hovering over their little darlings. And somewhere in the process they are required to prepare their students for a world that is far more competitive than ever before. A massive amount of mandated documentation takes them away from the primary task of interacting with students for the purpose of educating.
I have yet to meet a teacher that chose that profession, because they wanted to be on the fast track to imminent wealth. The vast majority of teachers are totally committed to their students. Being an educator is truly a calling. It defies all reason in my estimation to slash a budget by punishing the very people that are helping to hold our crumbling society together.
I have not lived in Wisconsin since 1975. I completed my education in Texas with equally competent professional educators. I have several friends that are teaching in the public school system in Wisconsin. They are teaching English as a second language, economics, and providing special education for students in need of such services. They are highly competent individuals whom I would eagerly entrust my children with. I support my lifelong Wisconsin friends that are called to be teachers. In fact, I am supportive of public educators everywhere. Let’s communicate to our children’s teachers this week that we appreciate and value their sacrificial service.