You can say what you want about teacher’s unions. We can probably have totally civil disagreements as to their efficacy and to their place in the U.S. education system. But can we all agree that villifying teachers, as the GOP have been relentlessly doing, is deplorable? Teachers are among the hardest working people in the world. There are a crapton of bad apples, but for every lazy teacher who coasts, there are a dozen that bust their ass to try and give some time and attention to students who the system has often forgotten.
The real sting, though, is that suddenly, teachers are characterized by politicians and pundits alike as greedy money-grubbers with powerful unions and bloated benefits, who work a few hours a day with summers off, and can’t even get a kid to pass an exam. There have always been people who say this, and normally we can laugh it off — you need to have a good sense of humor, after all, to be a teacher. But now, it’s not just anyone saying these things — it’s our leaders, the ones we voted for and listen to. And people, from school boards to parents, are listening to them as well.