The single most important thing a society does is education.
If its citizens are educated, all else follows.
Defense, health care, technology, arts, and sensible governance.
Teachers are the foundation and the pinnacle of this ediface.
Remember the old bumper sticker "If you can read this bumper sticker, thank a teacher."?
This author's father was a physics professor for forty-two years at the Belleville
In the seventies, it was illegal in Illinois for teachers to strike or collectively bargain (as it will soon be again).
The professors at the college went on strike and were arrested.
As they were being hand-cuffed and loaded into the paddy-wagon, the deputy sheriff turned to him and said "I had you for Physics."
Teachers reach into every nook and cranny and crevice of our community and social life. For the good.
Everyone has had a teacher or teachers who made an incredible difference in
Who turned their heads. Warmed their hearts. Made them laugh. Made them think. Made them into themselves they are today.
There was a language professor at SWIC.
She had the equivalent of four Master's Degrees (English, German, Russian, Pedagogy).
She was the Valedictorian of her class at one of the finest universities in the world.
She spoke six languages (English, German, Russian, Latin, Monastic Russian, Georgian).
She was the head of the German department, founded and was head of the Russian department,
taught English as a Second Language, Citizenship modules, substitute taught and taught summers.
Also taught additional classes at Lindenwood College and Fontbonne College.
One hour short of "Full-Time" (as if that wasn't full-time enough), they would bump her an hour so she couldn't receive medical benefits.
The last two years she was at SWIC, she made $23,000 (Gross not net) for sixty-hour weeks.
That is less than the night manager at Domino's Pizza makes.
It is less per hour than the part-time telephone receptionist at Erb John Deere and she's sixteen.
This teacher can't make her house payments and drives a car with 300,000 miles.
She is selling her house, quitting teaching and leaving.
She has notebook of student evaluations of her and thank you cards telling how much of difference she made in their lives.
Gee, that was cost effective. Thirty years of experience down the tubes.
On the other end of the spectrum, students get to graduate college with a quarter
in student-loan debt that will follow them to their grave. Can't even declare bankruptcy like the president.
Mr. Sanders promoted free tuition in the last election.
There were difficulties with that as well, not least of all, who would pay for it?
And young people being young people, who's to say they wouldn't sign up for basket-weaving and walk away
halfway through the semester and have wasted the taxpayer's nickel?
And humans being humans, it is useful for all parties to have a little skin in the game.
Here's a suggestion:
A student signs up for a class. Pays the tuition.
If they get an "A", they get an 100% tuition remission or refund- "free edecation".
If they get a "B", they get an 80% tuition remission- cost them 20%.
If they get a "C" (average), they get a 60% tuition remission.
If they get a "D", they get an 40% tuition remission.
If they get an "F", they get an 20% tuition remission (they showed up and must have learned something).
If they drop or stop coming, they get zip. Nada.
Everyone wins. Students get educated with an incentive to do well.
Colleges still get revenue.
It's not Socialism for those to whom it matters.
The only negative is that it would be necessary to pay teachers more than minimum wage.
Otherwise the students will slip them a twenty dollar bill for an "A".
And what about that evil "Head Start" program?
Does it make great economic sense to deprive a needy child of a $700 stipend for a leg up in education
that likely will keep them out of prison and trouble in years to come?
No decent person would deprive a child.
Unless, of course, you own a private prison and losing $50,000 per year prisoners to a productive life of freedom cuts into your bottom line.
Follow the money.