BY SHARON MARTIN
We don’t engage in politics. We don’t talk back when the propaganda machine misleads the voters. We don’t play dirty against the kill-public-education folks who have been playing dirty from the beginning. We are embarrassed to toot our own horns. We vote party over pro-education candidates. Hell, some of my colleagues don’t even vote.
We can’t stand by any more if we are going to save what is left of public education in this state. And if we aren’t willing to get down in the mud to save ourselves, we better find someone who will do it for us. We need an organizer, our own Cesar Chavez.
Teachers have been painted as greedy and self-serving because we want decent pay, health insurance for our families, good working conditions, and respect. The propaganda machine that has made us out to be enemies of the state has done a good job making the public believe this.
Does the public know that after six years of college and a graduate degree, I made less than my daughter who was waiting tables while going to school?
Does the public know that legislators get insurance coverage for themselves and their families, but teachers had to pay their own premiums until a few years ago? We still have to pay for our families, and for some teachers, that can be more than $1,000 a month in premiums which leaves precious little else to live on.
Bad teachers can’t be fired because of the union, they say. Bull.
Teachers have easy hours. Bull.
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Bull, bull, and bull!
Before you believe any of their lies, maybe you should walk a mile or so in our comfortable, ugly shoes.
Teachers aren’t the enemy. Those who pillage the state treasury for themselves and their cronies are not your friends. It’s high time the public – whom teachers serve with servants’ hearts – knows the difference.
And it’s time for teachers to understand that we must become political activists if public education will be saved.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer