Congress Fails America’s Children
Are children America’s most valuable resource? To the dedicated teachers I know and those who taught me when I was young, the answer is a resounding “YES!” To the cynical politicians who are catering to their rich benefactors who profit from the privatized educational industry, and to the politicians focused on reelection who cater to their ignorant constituents who believe the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, the answer is a resounding “NO.” The dedicated teachers or the bought-and-paid-for politicians? Which do you choose?
Today, as a result of decades of deregulation and the Great Recession brought to the world by Wall Street and the too-big-to-fail banks, teachers are being laid off by the thousands and unions broken on the altar of greater profit for those responsible for the Great Recession.
Those of you who believe that laying off teachers is simply the “free market” in action need to awaken to the fact that there is no such thing as the free market. It is a myth. The system under which the average person, including teachers, suffers is built around making certain that the wealthy and privileged maintain their wealth and privilege. You, your children and your grandchildren are being sacrificed so the wealthy and privileged can continue enjoying their position. If you are smart, you know this at a gut level.
That said, on August 21, Charles M. Blow, an OP/ED columnist with the New York Times illustrated just how bad the educational system is in the United States. Quoting from a Broad Foundation report, Blow stated that American students lagged far behind students in 27 industrialized countries in math, science and reading. Graduation from high school was way behind those countries and fewer than half graduated from college according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Some of those reporting rightly blamed poverty for the miserable performance. However, even privileged American students lagged well behind their privileged peers in other countries. In a world that is daily becoming more competitive, this is bad news and presages a rapid slide into second world status.
While the Obama administration is attempting to address this problem, Congress must waken from its narcissistic slumber and join in the effort to put the education of America’s children ahead of the imagined threat of deficits. The future of America depends on actually treating its children as the country’s most valuable resource.