Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What did teachers do to deserve this?

Governor Walker,

I am a teacher and a reading specialist, and I am also apparently a thug, a slob, and a “tool,” albeit a well-educated one.  I have a Master’s degree and three teaching licenses, which I am still paying for because I do not have a corporate backer nor come from a wealthy family that is able to skirt taxes.  I am the breadwinner in my family of four. 

We have two children, ages four and two.  We live in a small home and sometimes struggle to pay our bills, although we live extremely frugally.  The school district I work for will be more than $8m behind next year because of your proposed cuts to education.  With teachers paying in your 5.8% and 12.6%, my district will still be $4.2m behind next year.  And they are practically giddy:  without collective bargaining, they can make us teachers pay as much as they want and work as much as they want.  So your “modest” contribution means AT MINIMUM $800 less pay per MONTH and an increase in my job responsibilities of 40%.  There is nothing “modest” about that.

What did teachers do to deserve this?

And while my professional life is falling around me, I face daily scrutiny and disrespect—no, hatred—because of my profession from ignorant, blind, non-thinking GOP-followers.  Hey, they say, life is rough—it’s about time “you” had to get hit, too.  You, Governor, have made that jealousy and hatred happen. You have encouraged it.

We gladly pay our taxes in order to support public services for ourselves and our neighbors, in order to educate our children and those in our community.  Everything I do is for my children—my students in school as well as my two at home.  By standing up to you, I am fighting the ignorance and lies that you are choosing to spread.  Do you not see what you have done to our state?  While you are busy hiding from the public except for the occasional vomiting of your usual talking points (your “tools…modest…taxpayers…fair share” garbage), families and communities across the state are turning on each other.  And do you know the saddest part?  When the poor, uneducated, lower and middle class workers support you by believing the lies that you and your GOP buddies have been cultivating, all the while you are worsening their living conditions and taking away their rights.  Whom can we thank for this?  You.  Rather than leading by finding a common ground, you are choosing to divide.

But that, Governor, will be your downfall—because eventually your façade will crumble—it already is—and you will leave office as the laughingstock that you are.  But you, with your delusions of grandeur, will not even understand what happened—because clearly you cannot see what you have already done.

You are a fool.

And we will take back our state—for our children.

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