I'm pretty sure that no one anticipated the 2010-11 school year evolving like it did. In Hudson, a border town that gets all it's news from the Twin Cities, Madison was barely on our radar. Shame on us for not paying closer attention to state and local politics. It took a nightmare to wake us up. Now our eyes are turned towards Madison, and we are fearful of turning our backs on what has become the worst predator of public education.
Governor Walker has been pummeled with name-calling; he's a moron, an idiot, imbecile. I have to disagree. Even though it is highly satisfying to think of him as a stupid man, I think his plan was smart marketing. He had an agenda he wanted to push through, and he needed an enemy. Polarize communities and get results. Bring the fight into homes and towns and you can sit back and watch the dominoes topple. Of course, you need to have a scapegoat - one that folks love to vilify.
Bring in the public workers.
Isn't it true that they have it better than everybody else? Unbeatable benefits, lengthy vacations, unbelievable retirements. They work half as much as everyone else, but get four times the perks. And those teachers...lazy, whiny, ungrateful.
I think Walker knew exactly what he was doing when he launched his insidious attack. He had the smarts to do something that Ohio didn't; he exempted our fire fighters, our police officers, and our emergency workers. You can't slant a congregation against our bravest in a post-9/11 nation. But leave them out of the fight, and you take away the greatest emotional outrage. What's left are the people that the people love to hate - state workers and the teachers.
My heart broke last year as I was told, in our papers, on blogs, and in the right media, that I was greedy, unbending, and self-serving. If I defend myself, I'm defending my lazy and egocentric livelihood.
Here's an invitation: come and spend a day with me and my students. Let me show you what it means to be a teacher. I can't say anything that won't be construed as hiding the truth of my cushy lifestyle. So let me show you.