Friday, March 04, 2011

Ohio's Senate Bill 5

I have been a teacher for well over 3o years in Ohio, and I see the passage of this latest bill is a huge insult to all of us in the profession. Yes, teaching IS a profession and we are professionals. We do not deserve to be treated like children who are naughty and need our fingers smacked to keep us out of the cookie jar. Policemen, firemen, social workers are professionals too. As far as that is concerned, NO ONE who works for a living should be denied the right to organize and strike if they feel it is necessary to improve their working conditions or get a decent wage for their labor. This bill is a slap in the face to just about everyone.

Teachers are expected to do a multitude of things that used to be the job of parents, churches, communities, and the "private sector" as well as raise test scores and maintain discipline. Now we are being blamed for state deficits. The claim seems to be that PUBLIC EMPLOYEES are greedily robbing everyone else of their "HARD" earned money, and that the taxes we pay (public employees pay them too) are going into the pockets and pension plans of teachers, police officers, social workers, firefighters, EMTs , nurses, etc. If THEY didn't demand so much, we wouldn't have these deficits and this big government. Privatize education and get rid of the unions and everything would be just hunky dory.

Well, sometimes you get what you ask for, and the proponents of this bill may very well get two systems of education in this country, the private one and the public one. Then if they want their children to attend a good school, they can pay for it out of their own pockets. If you can't pay for the good school, your child will get public schools that are poorly funded with over crowded classrooms and poorly trained teachers. Certainly, this bill will make young people think more than twice about going into debt $20,000 or more to enter this profession. The same is true for police officers, firefighter, EMTs, social workers. Those veteran teachers who are hanging on after they could retire, mentoring young teachers, teaching education courses for little pay as a part-time job, or working part-time or as substitutes will quit. Then we will see how the law of supply and demand works in the public sector. I remember when we have had teacher shortages, especially in the fields where there is the most demand. Merit pay is going to fix this they think, but I don't know how you determine the merit of someone who can wipe the noses of a class full of kindergartners with a smile, or patiently explain for the 40th time in one day how to solve an equation or create a citation in a term paper. I would love to see any of those legislators who passed this bill spend one month in a classroom. If they say they have been there, then I would like to know why they left.

Republican leadership at both the state and national level has refused to even consider raising taxes to pay for the debt. Yet, the debt is so large that no amount of cutting will keep it in check. Why? Because, they say, " If we increase taxes, we will slow job growth and the economy." Well, if the bill passes, they have just given a tax increase in the form of pay cuts and increased insurance premiums to a lot of people. This takes money out of the economies of local communities, not only hurting the public employees, but those who depend on the purchases made by these employees. Schools and safety services have already been cut until they can't bleed anymore. Yet, they are expected to find more cuts.

The Tea Party groups have made taxes the issue, but I think we need to look elsewhere for the root of the problem. I pay about 30% of my income in taxes and health related insurance premiums, about evenly divided between the two. My pension fund pays some of my insurance as well, and my husband is on medicare. Then the government is using a large chunk of what we pay in taxes to pay for health care for the elderly and those who don't have health care. Then if we become ill, we pay a deductible and about 20% of the costs in addition to the money going from our income to pay for insurance and the taxes. Duh! Gee, I wonder why our taxes are so high? Then you can look at the banks, auto companies, stock and housing speculators this country has bailed out and the two wars we are paying to fight that IMHO we shouldn't have gotten into anyway, the wealthy who are hiding their money off shore, the underground drug and illegal worker economy that is the one of the largest businesses in the US, pays no taxes, sucks up a lot of tax money trying to stop it, and corrupt politicians that are stealing our tax money and failing to pay taxes themselves. I can think of lots of ways to solve the deficit problem.

But Republicans don't really want to solve it, they couldn't blame it on the unions anymore. There wouldn't be anything for Glen Beck to talk about and the Mother Grizzly would have to go back to Alaska instead of leading tea party rallies. Politics just wouldn't be politics if we actually tried to SOLVE the problems. No, lets just blame it on the public employees and if they don't like it, -----

Maybe they should run for office and throw the bums out! Haven't we been here before?

Ohio State - Political Cartoons
"Uncle Sam Walks the Plank." eHistory @ The Ohio State University. last visited (March 04, 2011)

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