No surprise to teacher shortage

The News tells us there is a shortage of substitute teachers. Experience tells us it will soon be followed by a shortage of full-time teachers. Are we surprised? We are not.

You cannot denigrate an entire profession year after year and expect young people to flock to that profession. Remember how you respected your teachers? Even invited them to your class reunions?

When you rant and rail against the “thugs” in the teachers’ union, are you aware that “the union” is made up of teachers? They are not thugs. They are men and women who’ve dedicated their professional lives to teaching your children.

Every year we cut funding for education and blame teachers for our children’s poor academic performance. Every year we expect the schools to teach more and more of the things we should be teaching at home.

It isn’t the teachers who decided to cut funding for up-to-date textbooks and materials. It isn’t the teachers who fail to repair leaking roofs or to allocate funding for paint and caulking.

Michigan is failing her children badly. This sad state is not an accident. There are powerful people in Michigan who do not believe in public schools. They have used their money and influence to pull funding away from local public schools and direct it to private, for-profit schools.

There is money in charter, private and online schools, and absolutely no evidence any of them perform better than our own local public schools. Some of these very wealthy people really believe it is their holy mission to turn every tax-funded public school into a tax-funded private school. You know, without the encumbrance of local school boards, voters and others telling them what to do. They feel that only they know what is best for Michigan’s children. Mustn’t tie their hands with things like college degrees, teaching certificates, contracts, pensions and local control.

Don’t be fooled. “School choice,” as they use it, does not mean choosing between Norway or Iron Mountain. It means shareholders instead of school boards, no accountability to taxpayers, low wages and poor working conditions. And profits. It means no respect for the teaching profession.

Teacher shortage, indeed.

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