Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Happy May Day, Especially for K-12 Teachers

May Day is an ancient holiday commemorating spring that was appropriated by American workers in the nineteenth century as their International Workers' Day.

Today on May 1 I would like to acknowledge and honor all those workers, especially teachers, demonstrating for fair pay and working conditions in an environment of declining living standards for the vast majority of the workers in industrialized nations.

Teachers everywhere who strive to enlighten and support their students deserve recognition and honor, but in the US we compensate our teachers less on average than just about every other profession. We demand teachers' selfless devotion to our children and then marginalize their needs and educational concerns.

I cannot think of another job that demands so much and pays so little in return.

There are complex reasons for the lack of affirmation of teachers, ranging from our general societal de-valuation of children to the gender of the majority of K-12 teachers.

Our unwillingness to value the future is encoded in our willingness to demand teachers work for sub-standard wages under increasingly stressful and dangerous conditions.

If we truly loved our kids and were truly committed to a better future for them we would pay our teachers more and support education more generally.

Demonstrating civilly, in the name of the future and for the love of our children, is among the most visible ways of promoting change: