I have just entered the following post on a local journalist’s educational blog, and I also wanted to post my thoughts, regarding why teachers should remain in public education, on “Mary Elizabeth Sings.” See below.
“For those teachers who still may be reading this thread, I want to encourage you to remain in public education and become active politically to help sustain and improve public education, by safeguarding it from forces without which desire to dismantle public education, as well as by improving it from within.
Every teacher has to make his or her own personal decision regarding whether or not to remain in teaching, or even in public education, and I do respect that individual choice, such as the choice made – and so eloquently expressed – by (the named teacher) in her article, above (to leave education). However, I believe that, if the majority of teachers will choose to remain in public education, they have the opportunity to be happier in the long run because, together, they could secure for themselves, and for other teachers, more job satisfaction and a more fulfilling working environment if they would join their professional organizations, such as GAE, NEA, and their local branch which is affiliated with GAE and NEA, and become politically and professionally active teachers.
When great stress is thrust upon one, it is a known psychological fact that the one under that duress will either fight or flee. I urge teachers to stay in public education and fight for its continuing viability, and for its continuing improvement, for the following reasons:
(1) If public schools are, in large part, dismantled for private schools, or for public charter schools which are run by private corporations, children will ultimately be used for profit purposes and teachers will be controlled as commodities to ensure that that profit continues to exist. That means that teachers will have reduced salaries and benefits such as retirement security and health insurance benefits because teachers’ welfare will not be a primary goal of that educational industry; profit will be its overriding goal. (I realize that there are also nonprofit schools.)
(2) There is value in being a public servant instead of being simply a small part of a much larger corporate conglomerate in which the primary focus is on profit. Some elements of government service jobs must remain viable in order to emphasize to the nation the value of public service, which is not for profit, especially since a dominant political movement has been forged against the value of the public servant, for decades.
Please consider staying in public education, joining GAE and NEA in Georgia, and becoming politically active in support of public education, along with other teachers. There is power in numbers. Who knows what might be the end result of that combined effort? A teachers’ union may even, finally, be established in Georgia which would secure teachers’ professional rights and status, and in so doing, help to improve public school environments for students throughout Georgia. Nothing transformational occurs without, first, having a dream or vision for that future change, and also without exercising the will to make that dream become a reality. Would not it be a wonderful legacy for teachers in Georgia to have been the initial force through which all Georgians were able to break free of a long-standing societal paternalism which has curtailed any unions from existing for the average worker in this right-to-work state through a political power system which has been based on that paternalism?”