To the Editor:
Bob Wilson’s most recent published letter (www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/12729-kids-can-endure-a-little-stress) typifies the callous oversimplification and blanket insults typical of today’s Republican Party fed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc.
To quote Mr. Wilson, “One must dismiss opinions that teachers come up with because they are, after all, union members and unions exist to protect teachers, not students.”
This is akin to claiming that “one must dismiss opinions that (all) Republicans come up with because they are, after all, more devoted to the almighty dollar than they are to the Godly principles they claim to hold.”
First, this is an oversimplification. There are many conservatives who put moral principles ahead of profit, but those who are in control of the current political-economic process clearly worship money and power above biblical principles.
Secondly, teachers do have a state teachers’ organization, but it is not a union. We cannot legally strike, nor would we want to. We care too much for our students and our communities. They are our children, however they come to us.
Teachers are public servants, serving the public (all of us) with a vital service: educating and preparing our children to be responsible adult citizens. That is a heavy burden, and we treat it as such.
Yes, teachers try to make a living by doing this, but we sure aren’t getting rich. We, part of the working middle class, pay taxes like everyone else. And like most residents of Macon County, we live paycheck to paycheck, and spend it locally. We are regular folks, and some of us are quite conservative.
Finally, let’s talk about Republicans and public education. The complete Republican takeover of our state government has led to the laying off of thousands of teachers and teacher assistants across the state.
The Republican politicians have slashed the textbook budget while requiring that our children pass the tests based on the new standards that we don’t have books for.
And the Republicans are trying to give away $10 million of our public education tax dollars to private and often religious schools. Certainly the Fox/Rush crowd has been instilled with the idea that we should have an official government religion, in spite of our Constitution.
Further, the Republicans currently in charge of our state gave massive tax breaks to millionaires while underfunding public education and many other basic services, such as mental health care. Basically, they are stealing from our children and giving it to the wealthy.
Finally, the Republican ruse of a raise for teachers is just that. They plan on giving teachers a slight raise, but require the county governments to fund much of this. This is an underfunded mandated, which our Republican Sen. Jim Davis from Franklin railed against when he was a county commissioner. How times have changed.
I strongly urge all critics of public education to spend a day volunteering in a class to find out what is really going on in public schools.