Robert Reich (Republican War on Teachers There’s a War Going on…)

Republican war on teachers

There is a war being waged on America’s teachers, and we must defend them before it is too late.

Teachers watch over America’s most valuable possession – our children.

They dedicate their lives nurturing our youth, serving as role models, and making sure future generations are set up for success.

So why on earth do we treat them so badly?

Not only do our nation’s teachers work long hours in and out of the classroom – but these days they are blamed for almost everything imaginable.

They are shouted at by their parents for masks, reprimanded by school boards about the books they assign or allow their students to read, and denigrated by politicians for teaching them honest lessons about America’s history of racism and genocide, even told to arm themselves against the possibility that they will be Their classrooms are invaded by young men who use semi-automated killers.

And teachers are also making less money than they did ten years ago. Their average salaries today are about $66,000, but when adjusted for inflation, this is a $2,000 reduction compared to 2012. As recently as 2018, nearly 600,000 public school teachers had to work a second job.

We are also burdening the teachers of our nation with huge debts. Nearly half of the teachers, 45%, have taken out student loans to pay for the advanced degrees they are required to often — with an average debt burden of $55,800.

On top of all this, 94% of teachers had to dip their own pockets to buy school supplies. This, in the richest country in the history of the world! Meanwhile, the average bonus for Wall Street employees in 2021 hit a record high of $257,500. It would take a typical guru nearly four years to achieve that much – and that’s just a bonus to Wall Street traders – a huge golden cherry on top of their most formidable salaries.

I guess Wall Street companies don’t make merchants pay for their pencils.

Do Wall Street bankers deserve much more than the people we ask to look after and educate our children? Excuse me.

None of this, however, prevented Republicans from accelerating their war on teachers, turning teachers into political pawns in their fight to advance a radical agenda.

Since January 2021, 35 states have introduced 137 bills that limit what teachers are allowed to talk to their students about — regarding race, American history, politics, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Texas Governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis of Florida are the poster boys for this campaign, even supporting legislation that intrudes on a teacher’s ability to craft lesson plans.

Republicans are quick to stick the terms “critical race theory” or “wake up” against any curriculum that allows our young people to express their identities, develop critical thinking skills, and be honest about our nation’s tragic racial history—they call it “indoctrination” or “brainwashing.”


Because the greatest threat facing the Republican Party is a new, multiracial generation of young people who are not afraid to speak the truth to power.

Ultimately, if we do not learn from our history – which often means learning from our mistakes – there is no way we can address our nation’s most pressing problems while building a better and more inclusive future. The foundation of this future begins in the classroom.

So how can we resist this war on America’s teachers?

First, pay them double what they earn. minimum.

Second, they fought for their freedom to teach. Many decisions that affect teachers’ daily work – as well as students’ lives – are made at local school board meetings. So, go for one. Better yet, run for office on your local school board.

Third, listen to our teachers. Do you know what was lost in the cultural and political war against education in this country? The voices of actual teachers. If we really want to support them and repair the damage to our education system, they need to be listened to.

Defend our teachers. Our teachers’ salaries. Rate our teachers. The work they do determines our future.


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