So today I dabbled my toes in the sea of American politics. I weighed the issues and decided it was important enough for me to at least get acquainted with the process. Accompanied by 150 teachers from our district and thousands of others statewide, we marched, listened to speeches and talked to legislators. Oh, we also ate hot dogs. What's a political rally without hot dogs?
For those whose media outlets were blasting teachers and screaming about teachers wanting higher taxes, please read on.
For the first time in my life, I was here in a legislator's office with a group of colleagues and was able to explain my concerns about education. He listened politely.
But the bottom line is.... without an educated electorate, democracy is doomed to failure. I am teaching because I believe in the value of education, and I believe in democracy. Students should leave our schools able to read, write and do arithmetic. They also need critical thinking skills in order to listen to candidates and decide for whom to vote. They need the skills to understand the system and run for office themselves someday. They need the confidence to talk to legislators and government officials, to express themselves clearly and with purpose.
It is true that 20,000 teachers statewide have been RIFed (Notified that will not be employed due to Reduction In Force). Would we like to see these young promising educators keep their jobs? Certainly! AND...we'd like to see them remain in Illinois as a resource to the children of our state rather than migrate to the surrounding states where the prospects are less bleak.
We neglect the education of our nation's children at our peril. This state must do something to fund education and to fund it more equitably for all children. It means responsible spending and a responsible budget. The message was: SOS (Save Our Schools!)
And we had a great time with friends...and making new friends. The day gave us lots of time to share ideas and have fun!Five of the six representatives from Ellis. The other was meeting with a Representative at the time.