Monday, February 21, 2011

STOP GOP Union Busting Pt 1: Why I Love Teachers

Over the last several days, tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers have camped out at the Wisconsin State Capitol. They have been protesting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attack to Break the Unions. His plan includes reducing their take-home pay -- by increasing their contributions to their pension plans and health care benefits -- and BREAK THE UNION. Although Republican Walker CLAIMS he was forced to impose cutbacks because the state is broke, teachers found that he offered generous TAX BREAK to BIG BUSINESSES that were equivalent to the value of their proposed givebacks.

Teachers do not have large salaries, particularly considering they are required, at a minimum, to have Bachelors degrees; all continue their education and many have Masters degrees. The starting salary for Wisconsin teachers is $25K; the average salary is $46K. In return for lower salaries, their unions have helped them negotiate pension and healthcare benefits. Where the STARTING salary for teachers is $25K, overall, the
average salary offered to 2010 graduates is $48.4K, almost DOUBLE the amount of starting wage for Teachers in Wisconsin. Now the governor wants to unilaterally slash what has been negotiated. The Governor is WRONG. He is deep in the pockets of Big Business/Koch Brothers! (more on this in Parts 2 and 3 of this topic)

I stand with the Teachers, the workers, the Unions. We are Middle America. WE THE PEOPLE! March On Heroes! We support you!

I LOVE TEACHERS! As President Obama has often said, "Education is the Great Equalizer!"

You have to be a very special person to become a teacher. Most teachers know and understand they will have low salaries. Most are compassionate, caring human beings who care about educating our children. I had several teachers in my lifetime that were very influential in helping me become who I am today. Perhaps the most influential was my 1st grade teacher.

We were a poor, hard working Mexican American family with ten children. My Dad worked three jobs and my mother was a stay at home mom. Every summer, we picked crops - migrant laborers. My father wanted us to learn a good work ethic.

In first grade, I was the only Mexican American in class. I was shy. The first time I stood up to read in class, I stumbled over my words and the kids laughed, whispering I couldn't speak English. My teacher, a nun, stood next to me, put her arm over my shoulder, and she told all the children in class, "Dee is a little shy today, but she is a very good student. We are All God's Children! And she is going to prove to us this year how good she can be!" I finished reading and the kids didn't laugh again. My teacher encouraged me and encouraged me, often saying, "Dee, you can do anything you set your mind to!" I believed her. Within months I was in the top reading group and by the end of the school year, I won the spelling bee. I attribute much of who I am today to that one teacher. Had she ignored me, I could have easily failed. There were other teachers throughout my school years who were also very influential. I am grateful to them!

I stand with the Teachers, the workers, the Unions. We are Middle America. WE THE PEOPLE! March On Heroes! We support you! God Bless You! God Bless America!

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