Mark Naison: In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in the industrialized world, with almost no social safety net to help struggling families, our teachers have to create a positive learning atmosphere in classrooms filled with young people under stress.
Bob Letcher: In the few weeks since President Obama so emphatically linked his education program to his effort to revive the US political economy, the President has not been pressed to detail either the substance of his education program or his procedure for winning support from a public that is increasingly cynical, skeptical, frightened, and angry.
Sikivu Hutchinson: The value-added sham won’t help parents and communities of color struggling to achieve educational equity for youth who have already been intuitively assigned a jail cell by a public school culture marching in lockstep with the teach to the test ethos.
Joseph Palermo: Nobody in power seems to be listening to what teachers have to say about how best to improve public education. The Administration is telling teachers that all those envelopes they licked, and all those doors they knocked on, and all those phone calls they made to help elect Obama in 2008 were nothing but a goddamned waste of time.
Nea Friberg-Price & Jed Von Dielingen: Because our school makes these cuts strictly on seniority, it’s always the newer teachers who go, the ones who connect so much better with us students. Athough we like and respect our older, more experienced teachers, these younger ones are more flexible in their teaching plans and are closer to us in age, so they understand us so much better. So we’re terribly sad to see their teaching careers end, at least for now.
John MacMurray: If the goal is to improve our public education system–and there is no organization or institution that cannot be improved in some way–then the most straightforward way to accomplish this is to give the highly-trained, highly-motivated professionals in the classrooms the resources they need, and let them do the job they were hired for.
Carl Bloice: Why is it that the richest, most powerful nation on the planet, one that produces more and more billionaires each year and can spend one million dollars each on the soldiers it sends off to war, can’t afford to educate its kids? It remains a mystery to me that an administration that can spend millions of dollars to bribe states into facilitating its quite controversial school “reform” programs can’t come up with the resources to stave off the pending mass layoffs of teachers.
Rev. Irene Monroe: We live in a society that is hypercritical of failure and super exuberant about success. As a culture, we have developed a false and damaging dichotomy about the relationship between failure and success that success has become a public affair of celebration and failure a private funeral of condemnation.
Carl Bloice–September is four months away and one thing is certain: the public is not be adequately alerted to the seriousness of the situation and mobilized to do anything about it. We would know far less about how critical things are in the schools had not students in California – where thing are really rough – set off nationwide protests about the cutbacks. And, as soon as that happened, on cue, voices popped up to declare that the protesters were deficient because they had no real analysis of the cause of the crisis and offered no solutions. The obvious response was: so what? Isn’t it the job of professionals in politics and government to provide those things?
Tom Degan: But other than those little candles in the darkness, I’m not particularly crazy about Texas. Truth be told, I believe it to be one of the nation’s glaring shames. Molly Ivins (rest her soul) once wrote that all Texans owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mississippi. But not for that state, Texas would be dead last in everything! And to think we fought a war over the place! I would suggest giving it back to Mexico but they have enough problems as it is. Why add to their burden?