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Friday, November 28, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
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Dave Lindorff
Published: Sunday 16 December 2012
How many of us would have had to the courage to stand in front of a closet door to keep an armed madman from finding the kids hidden behind it, as one slain teacher died doing?

America’s Teachers: Heroes or Greedy Moochers at the Public Trough?

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I’ll be brief here. Let’s just note that the heroic teachers who died while courageously trying to protect their kids at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and the others who survived but stayed to protect the kids, were all part of a school system where the employees are members of the American Federation of Teachers.

Let’s just let that sink in for a moment. Those teachers, who are routinely being accused by our politicians of being drones and selfish, incompetent money grubbers worried more about their pensions than about teaching our children (though most, even after 10 years, earn less than $55,000 a year for doing a very difficult job that involves at least 12-14 hours a day of work and prep time counting meetings with parents), stood their ground when confronted with a psychotic assailant armed with semi-automatic pistols and an automatic rifle, and protected their kids. The principal too, a veteran teacher herself, stood her ground, reportedly suicidally charging at the assailant along with the school’s psychologist in a doomed effort to tackle him and stop the carnage.

How many of us would have had to the courage to stand in front of a closet door to keep an armed madman from finding the kids hidden behind it, as one slain teacher died doing? How many of us would charge at an armed shooter, to almost certain death, in an effort top stop him from further killing? How many would bravely hide in a bathroom with a class of kids when we could have run away and saved ourselves?

And this: How many of the politicians in Washington and in state capitals and how many conservative think-tank “researchers” who attack teachers as leeches and drones would have shown such heroism under fire?

My guess is damned few -- if any. Yet it appears from the news reports that not one teacher in that unionized school fled the scene and abandoned the children to their fate. They all stuck with their kids. So did the custodian -- no doubt a unionized worker earning poverty wages -- who ran through the building warning everyone of the attacker’s presence.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Newtown school board, like school boards all over this country, was considering cutting the school’s elementary music program and library program. It should be noted that both the school librarian and the school music teacher, whose jobs were on the line at the school board, stayed with the kids they were teaching when the attack began.

Yet in an attitude all too typical of many Americans’ thinking, one man, in a discussion section of the local paper, discussing the local School Board’s $1-million budget cutting plans last spring, wrote to a teacher last spring:

You, as a public sector employee, don’t generate ANY revenue. Every penny of the budget of your public sector enterprise is TAKEN from producers. It’s other people’s money versus money your organization EARNED. Your salary is not market based. Your salary, nor your benefits, nor your job, is in jeopardy during contracting economic times. If I want a raise I have to prove I have contributed more to the bottom line, and then it doesn’t matter unless the entire firm has grown the bottom line sufficiently to give me that raise. You are insulated from that reality. Your private (sic) sector salary only goes up. How is that fair? Especially in light of the fact that you don’t even generate the revenue that pays for your constantly rising salary?

Some of those “non-revenue-generating” unionized teachers, and the school’s non-revenue-generating principal, just died defending those kids.

I wonder if their tax-obsessed critics would have done the same?



ABOUT Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. He received a Project Censored award in 2004. Dave is also a founding member of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening! at www.thiscantbehappening.net

So much talk about teachers!

So much talk about teachers! So little or none about administrators. I work in the school system - I have for 37 years. A good principal will transform a school - maybe let 2 or 3 teachers go but basically work with the teachers already there. The fact is that we have a lot of bad administration out there. Think about it - in a well run business there are competent leaders but the script of the anti-teacher movement doesn't mention administration except to tell us that they are hamstrung . I've seen it from the other side. As the president of our MEA local, I protect the due process rights of members. (At least I used to when due process rights existed). Over and over, poor teachers survived because incompetent administrators could not follow due process. What a one sided perspective to only look at teachers. Bottom line - undermining schools is a way for rich people to make more money!

The writer of the article has

The writer of the article has the same problem that Republicans have. He thinks the public are so stupid that we think the actions of some teachers represent all teachers. Republicans paint a broad stroke of lousy, lazy teachers, and the Democrats paint a broad stroke of the good ones. As Americans who have lived through public education, we know it's not that simple. We know there are excellent teachers and there are also crappy ones who have no business being around children at all.

That is why, ultimately, the end of collective bargaining is upon us, because it's not a collective, and it's not always a bargain either. We want a system that awards teachers, but weeds out the people who should not be teachers, so we can FIRE THEM, even when they somehow finagled their way into a tenured position.

Because we know the only way to truly reward the good teachers is to not have them associated with the lousy ones.

Republicans and Democrats will not have any of this type of thinking.

Oh for god's sake, why can't

Oh for god's sake, why can't they be both? Yes, people can be totally self-absorbed when it comes to their careers and yet totally self-sacrificing in a situation like this. In fact it's pretty common. So don't try to excuse years of bankrupting your ass by five minutes of saving it.

What is YOUR problem with

What is YOUR problem with teachers? Teachers, along with police and firemen do not earn anywhere near their worth. So claiming that someone making barely a living wage who wants a cost of living increase is self absorbed is absurd. Equally absurd is your comment that being totally self-sacrificing and stepping in front of a gunman is COMMON shows your utter lack of any type of knowledge of humanity and current events. On second thought, perhaps you do have a legitimate beef with teachers given your total lack of any type of ability to formulate concrete thought.

I am a consverative 60 year

I am a consverative 60 year old whose daughter and many firends are teachers (most in NYC). I greatly resent this insinuations as to how we feel about teachers. Union or not, most teachers are wonderful dedicated professionals who would do the same to protect thier kids. Union membership is no more relative than their eye color or shoe size.

It's the unions which are awful (wasn;t it a former teacher union president stating at his farwell dinner stating that 'it's not about the kids, it's about us and the union'? or words to that effect?

Also, we conservatives want to reward good teachers and rid the system of the non perormers (but teaching seems to be the only field that must have not a single 'bad employee - ie teacher' as none can ever be let go. Odd, no? or is it more important to shield the the inept rather than look out for the kids who get stiuck with the bad teachers)?

Finally, there was no 'automatic weapom'. The writer is ignorant and needs to learn before speaking (or writing).

To assume union membership was the motivation of those brave and now fallen teachers is a disgrace. Any attempt to correalate the two are an abomination. Stop using politics in this tragedy and stop blaming conservatives who DO care about their kids. You remind me why i went from a Woodstock attending liberal to a conservative with the lies the article and comments contain.

many posters should be ashamed of themselves.

As a matter of fact, I

As a matter of fact, I personally am a conservative who if fed up with my party constantly belittling and criticizing teachers. As a matter of fact, there are many teachers who have been fired or let go do to incompetence. To assume that isn't so is to be ignorant of the facts. Secondly, yo
u want to reward good teachers with more money? Wouldn't that mean raising taxes?

If you really are what you

If you really are what you say you are, then you should not spread falsehoods. It is an absolute falsehood that teachers, even tenured teachers, cannot be removed for failure to perform their duties. They can, and they are, and it happens often enough. That they can't be fired is a total canard put forth by those who want to see the profession lowered to the level of Walmart.

I have seen this same lie promulgated against many public employee unions, including my own, and it's just plain vicious hate filled lie. There is no union in the public sector or private that can prevent an employee from being disciplined or fired for just cause. Further, the attack on teachers and educators is based on the simple fact that the overwhelming majority of educators in this country are opposed to the ugly right wing agenda for this country and opposed to the damage that the right wing has perpetrated over the past 30 years. Your entire post is political diatribe against unions, and yes, there is NOTHING wrong with bringing up the heroism of the union teachers in Newtown. There are many different kinds of heroism, and I can attest to the fact that public employee union members perform acts of heroism every day. I've seen it.

I am a progressive gun owner

I am a progressive gun owner (more of a centrist, depending on the issue) who used to work in a school office. I'm also a 20yr veteran married to an active duty soldier who has over 20 yrs. We both love to shoot. That said, I also believe that gun owners must be part of the discussion-we have a duty to help find a solution to keep people as safe as we can, and that begins with sensible regulation. . It is not enough to scream about 2nd amendment rights, as that amendment was created during a time when militia members had to bring their own weapons to battle, and there was no such thing as an automatic of any kind.

just to inform the author et al, fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. The weapons the shooter used were semi-automatic-just saying.

Second-non-licensed staff in neither the district I worked in or the one I live in are members of the teachers' association. I'm very protective of teachers, having two special needs kids who are absolutely thriving because of the teachers here, and I don't believe one single teacher I've met over 15 years is only in it "for the union." In fact, the teacher's association here only has a membership of less than a third of the teachers. Teachers are in this because this is their life calling.

I want to make a point regarding the overall discussion on guns. It's a complex issue, and that includes the new situation today-I'm not trying to shift the conversation to Aurora; just making the point that even today's event will be complex, investigations will be ongoing, and that there are likely to be multiple issues contributing to the event, not just the shooter's access to guns.

NO TRAGEDY is a simple, one-issue ordeal. Every situation must be analyzed. Mental health laws. Ammo access laws. Determination. And, yes, DATA ON THE DEFENSIVE USE OF GUNS. For example, in the Aurora shooting,

"What must be cleared up first is that there is a difference between the state and municipal laws and the rules set by the Century 16 movie theater where the grisly shooting took place. The theater had a ban on walking in with firearms, and also on concealed carry permit holders from bringing their guns on the premises. The theater’s rules were quite restrictive, but did not prevent the shooter from committing the crime anyway."

"Aurora’s municipal laws disallow having a concealed carry for a “dangerous weapon,” discharging a firearm if not an official member of law enforcement, and having a loaded firearm in a vehicle. While the shooter broke all of these laws, they also prevented law abiding citizens from shooting back and stopping him."

SCC’s national spokesman, David Burnett, said after the Colorado Supreme Court decision to allow concealed carry on college campuses, “Gun-free policies are an open invitation to psychopaths. Signs on the doors are an unenforceable lie that only robs licensed citizens of their ability to defend themselves. Until colleges can guarantee our safety, they can’t criminalize self-defense.”

As a gun owner I think it's our duty to regulate and be safe-law enforcement does this, the military does this, and even public gun ranges control access and shooting privileges. As should we.

Lets look at the state of our culture -I was reading recently about the spike in gun sales after the Aurora shooting and then again after the POTUS won reelection- buyers often tend to be of the mindset that they're in constant danger (despite the fact that the FBI and NCIS state that violent crime is down compared to recent years) and because they also believe that every shooting and every democrat will use the event to take away all guns, when that has NEVER happened ever-no one has ever even suggested taking away ALL guns, so that's just craziness to go out and buy things you may not need and may not have the money to invest in. Just insanity. My husband told me that several of his soldiers wanted to buy guns after Obama was reelected, based on lies and rumors, even though Obama has made clear he would never take away all guns-my husband had to council those young soldiers that even though they want to run out and buy guns, they can't afford to do so and must prioritize their bills.... see what insanity and lies do to people?

We must be careful when it comes to mental health issues. if we decide to make this infor public, who will decide which people diagnosed with depression or bipolar are safe and which are not? will laws be made deciding that ALL with current medical diagnoses are ineligible to own firearms, even if they truly pose no threat? I take medicine to help with mood and depression, and I own guns, but I fully believe in and value life. Should laws be made forbidding me from owning guns or any weapons? There are millions of people across the country who own some sort of weapon, need help with something in the mental health realm, but who are law-abiding and who value life. Also, once you drag people's mental health issues into the public realm, you jeopardize their jobs and livelihood. I'm not saying we ignore this issue, but I think we must analyze every aspect of it from all angles-with doctors, mental health professionals, gun owners, legal reps, and progressives, and victims and every sector represented as part of the discussion. Keep in mind also the fact that crimes have in fact, gone down since 1990, and that we must also consider the data on defensive gun use.

and lets discuss hate groups-the guy who shot innocent people at the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in WI. Should we deny fire arms to all who are members of faith/race-based hate groups who are known to be aggressive historically? I don't hear anyone screaming for bans on weapons to KKK members or other white supremicist group members who "could" behave in such a deathly way.
I like this quote by "Opinionated Democrat" on Facebook:
‎"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

We have a public military and public law enforcement now. We didn't when this law was ratified. It was also to be "well-regulated" and "necessary"... neither of which are today. The first part of the amendment is always ignored. In that time, to be armed was to own a musket, which took a long time to reload, and shot one musket ball at a time. Not clips full of an obscene amount of bullets that can be changed out in seconds and guns that spray six bullets per second.

Times have changed, technology has changed, so the laws must be changed. We must be part of the solution!

I do think this is a well-written article-very succinct and protective of our teachers and other school staff who deserve so much but who receive so little respect. I for one, adore our teachers-even when I don't agree with them.

In response to the ludicrous

In response to the ludicrous assumption that teachers are not revenue generating members of the workforce: Teachers DO generate revenue. Each child they educate will be more productive in society. These children are less likely to engage in crime, and more likely to find a good job, and generate income. The added income creates jobs and tax revenue for the rest of society. For this, teachers are compensated. Teacher then PAY TAXES just like every other HONEST individual in society.

Old Joe, are you saying most

Old Joe, are you saying most abusers of children and users of porn are teachers? No other occupations have their share of perverts? What do YOU do for a living? And why are YOU so down on teachers? Have a bad experience in your childhood? Have you EVER spent more than an hour or two in a classroom lately? You should because you seem to have no idea what the MAJORITY of teachers are all about. Most of the teachers I know would do the same thing these courageous ladies did. Would you?

I wish to point out that the

I wish to point out that the letter to the editor comment printed in the article could be said about people who join the Armed Forces. They do not add anything to the economy, in fact, the military's sole purpose is to destroy things, no value added there.
Teachers are the people who will educate the next generation of people who will enter the work force and produce something of value. It is interesting to note that most high tech companies in this country rely upon immigrant workers for many high skill positions.
We need teachers. More of them. And we need to insure they have everything then need to do their job right. Enough cutting of education. Time to cut the War machine and the hand outs to big Corporations, and put that money into educating our young. And if it means paying the teachers more and building more schools and providing more high tech equipment for use in those schools, then so be it. That is much better than forcing American firms to have to hire immigrants becasue American kids didn't get enough education.

This article is such B.S.

This article is such B.S. Yes, those heroic teachers were members of the teachers' union. But so are the countless teachers who are arrested each year for child pornography, soliciting prostitution, sleeping with students, murder, income tax evasion, spousal abuse, DUI, buying or selling illegal drugs, etc., etc., etc. There are good and bad elements in every profession and the author's shameless attempt at scoring political points on the dead bodies of those teachers is just gross.

so, what do you have to say

so, what do you have to say about pedophile priests? there's no union for them, but their institution is more powerful and able to protect them than any union. I respect teachers across the board more than virtually any catholic priest.

Thanks for your talking points,
Rev. Renee

As with "any" profession,

As with "any" profession, there are certainly some "bad" teachers. They are, of course, human beings, who seem to have a proclivity for such actions. For the sake of discussion however, please provide the percentage of teachers involved in the nefarious activities you mention in relation to the "total" number of teachers at work in the United States. I believe, upon close examination, you'll find the number extraordinarily small. Certainly smaller than the government representatives we have in D.C. Perhaps "Fox News" has an "accurate" representation. To make it simple...you state "countless teachers." O.K., "count them."

Boris Badenov's picture

Public education or an

Public education or an education system run by ignorant Christians.
Tough choice huh?
I prefer the separation of Church and State.

local public school dist

local public school dist gets $11000+ per kid and is no longer accredited at least in the catholic schools the kids are learning [ i am not catholic] need seperation of school and state

The mean-spirited writer of

The mean-spirited writer of the discussion article in the local paper has predicated his opinion on the erroneous idea that all products are concrete & therefore their value can be reduced to dollars & cents. Schools are not businesses & never should be businesses. Our products are not widgets but human beings & the value of what we, as teachers, give each of our students is unique. It can't be measured by a standardized test & many times will not be realized until long after a student has left our classroom. Today I believe what the surviving students from Sandy Hook Elementary have been given by their teachers is a model of courage, self-sacrifice, & responsibility that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Bravo! Wonderful article.

Bravo! Wonderful article. Teaching is an extremely difficult job which has never been held in proper esteem in this country. The heroic behavior of the educators at Sandy Hook defines the character of most of this nation's teachers. It's about time the country gained some insight and perspective about the importance of the job teachers are doing. Politicians should back off and let teachers decide what needs to be done to improve the educational system. After all, they are the experts.

That custodian you mentioned

That custodian you mentioned -- is also a member of the American Federation of Teachers as are the secretaries in the school building.

Note that all of the adults

Note that all of the adults who died trying to protect the children were women. And in fact the majority of people who teach our younger children are women.

These women should be honored. Instead, they are being attacked by Tea Bag Republican governors and legislators as union freeloaders....

When was the last time a Tea Bagger died trying to save somebody else?

Talk about moral values is cheap. Dying for moral values is expensive.

This article is a disgraceful

This article is a disgraceful attempt to use this terrible tragedy for a political purpose and it contains factual errors.
I respect teachers too. But, whomever, if anyone, said teachers are greedy moochers wasn't speaking for thoughtful people who have simply tried to politely point out that while teachers benefits have been growing to the point where communities are have serious problems financing them, our children's test scores have been declining precipitously relative to other nations. Those are objective facts that need to be dealt with.
And the rifle used in the crime was not automatic. It was semi-automatic.The only significant difference between it and the squirrel rifle my father used in 1930 is its appearance.

The edu-profiteers are the

The edu-profiteers are the real disgrace to our children and teachers. Take up your complaints with Jeb Bush, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emanuel, Bobby Jindle, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Teach for America, etc. They're working hard to dumb down our schools and the teaching profession.

Our children's test scores are not declining. In fact they have been improving for decades.
http://zhaolearning.com/2012/12/11/numbers-can-lie-what-timss-and-pisa-t...

If our education system is so poor explain these numbers. Clearly our education system has not ruined our economy, national security, or creativity in patents :
The U.S. is the 6th wealthiest country in the world in 2011 in terms of per capita GDP[16]. It is still the largest economy in the world.

The U.S. ranked 5th out of 142 countries in Global Competitiveness in 2012 and 4th in 2011[17].

The U.S. ranked 2nd out 82 countries in Global Creativity, behind only Sweden[18] in 2011.

The U.S. ranked 1st in the number of patents filled or granted by major international patent offices in 2008, with 14,399 filings, compared to 473 filings from China[19], which supposedly has a superior education[20].

Jerry I hope you will read

Jerry
I hope you will read all the remarks that follow your nut job comments, since you did not read and understand the article.

Maybe the man commenting in

Maybe the man commenting in the local paper would rather have private schools. That way teachers would be revenue generators. Then this guy's children could attend the school that they can pay for, or if they cannot pay, no school at all.

The GOP, with the help of many Dems have put this country on the fast path to 3rd world nation status. Teachers are critical to the success of this country as is access to a high quality "free" education. The 1%, corporations, and the GOP need to study French history with a clear focus on the time BEFORE the French Revolution. Unless they change, we will have a 2nd American Revolution. We are now long past the "if revolution will happen" stage, the only question left is when.

Greater love has no man than

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. They came to server, and gave their lives as a ransom for many.

There is a recruiting ad for the Marine Corp currently on televeision which asks whether the viewer is the type to run from a fight, or to run toward it. If you will run toward a fight, then maybe you are fit to be a Marine. As I have seen this I have often wondered whether people realize how many other heroes are all around them who have that sort of courage. Tragically, we now have examples of that sort of hero. Even a union member public school teacher can have the courage to charge a machine gun bare handed when she or he realizes there is something at stake which they value more than their own life.

Clearly there were teachers

Clearly there were teachers who heroically sacrificed and risked their lives to protect the children at Sandy Hook. Clearly teachers nationwide are on the whole hard-working, devoted to the present and future well-being of students, and are neither greedy nor overpaid.

I'm mindful that it is the ilk of greedy profiteers and politicians whose actions and inactions contributed to the Sandy Hook tragedy and explain the lion's share of 30,000 gun murders and 70,000 gun woundings annually in the USA.

Ya ' know, back in Mayberry

Ya ' know, back in Mayberry good ole Aunt Bee used to say "One good teacher is worth a thousand good men!" S i m p l e arithmetic here wtp. 1000 good teachers equal 1 million good men/people. Good people make it difficult for bad people to get away with whatever bad things there doin'. Good people are bad business for wall street moneychangers and politicians! Now even ole Barney agrees with Aunt Bee, and ya' know, when those two get to agree'n, there's sometin' to be siad for what they be say'n.
Another thing Aunt Bee would say that her and Barney agreed on: "It's so much better to believe in and work for an America that can be instead being stuck in rut bitch'n about the one you got!" Ya' gotta excuse Aunt Bee's french once in awhile.

I will answer the "headline"

I will answer the "headline" and then go back and read the article
I find it offenseive...."America’s Teachers: Heroes or Greedy Moochers at the Public Trough?"
TEACHERS EVEN THE WORST YOU CAN IMAGINE....THE VERY WORST YOU CAN IMAGINE ARE NOT "GREEDY".....THEY GIVE OF THEMSELVES...
walk a mile in their moccassins as the old saying goes......
I can not address their being hero's - that depends too much on the circumstances they are thrown into. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

>>> This is ?? or isn't off the wall ??? Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT......as the republicans in Washington are stalling the "AID FOR THE SUPER STORM SANDY" A VERY SORRY, SAD COMPARISON.. sandy hook school / or storm sandy I can not think of one without not the other popping into my mind
.....beyond the call - or a responce to that author of private sector employee - - when you add everything up in life - as you can not take it with you - you have to consider all the un-paid kindnesses shown you......
you may pick them one by one and say they are nothing - but they add value to your life on a daily basis......as much as the common good morning does

I firmly brlieve that

I firmly brlieve that teachers are being targetted by the Right because they are predominently female. It is just so much easier to berate someone without economic power than it is to enter into a complex discussion of how education benefits the individual and society at large. I am curious to "follow the money" in public school systems. My personal experience is that they are usually overly bureaucratic (too many middle management types) and subject to the "latest trend." We need more comparisons with other developed economies and more focus upon critical thinking skills instead of test taking (by the way, who is profitting from all these standardized tests?) MMm.......

District Superintendent Janet

District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted "incredible acts of heroism" that "ultimately saved so many lives."
"The teachers were really, really focused on their students," she told reporters Saturday.
Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice.
The teachers who put themselves between their students and the nut sack with his gun obviously were only in it for the money.
REALLY. The shallow arguments against our public servants by the right in order to manipulate the budget to their advantage, and for those of their handlers, is wearing thin.

Every dollar put into

Every dollar put into education brings rewards several times over in the form of better educated people holding better jobs, earning higher salaries (thus paying more taxes), and in general, behaving better. Teaching may well be the most underrated profession in America, yet it may have more direct impact on the life of the average American than any other.

Like every other profession, teaching is subject to improvement. Allowing teachers to teach rather than merely train students to pass standardized graduation tests would be a great start. Along with the ability to discipline or remove a bad teacher--let's face it, there are bad apples in every profession and most have a less than stellar record in policing themselves.

But by and large our teachers are heroes. They are asked to take on more responsibility every day. They are roundly criticized for the slightest perceived error and rarely so much as thanked for excellence. So here's a salute to all of the teachers of America, who deliver heroic service every day--and regard it a just part of their jobs.

The man in the discussion

The man in the discussion section of the local paper summed up the contempt many hold for teachers: especially those in elementary and secondary school. Back in pre-Revolutionary times, the job of schoolmaster was assigned to physically unfit men. Later, unmarried women were employed to teach in the public schools, because they could be paid less and kept under the thumb of local school board. "Public servant" was synonymous with "public serf".

As a 15 year veteran of

As a 15 year veteran of teaching which is my second career, I can compare the business and education world's. I work much harder now than as an employee of a company. I hope I would do exactly what the teachers in Connecticut did but the fact that this could have happened at all must be laid at the feet of our country's gun culture and conservative bent. Until the people of the U.S. honor teachers, nurses, police and firefighters, and our returning veterans and decide to equally share the responsibility of taking care of those who have been left behind in the disgusting race to riches now being revealed by a few in our media, the status will remain "status quo".

Listening to the arguments

Listening to the arguments coming from the right, one has to question if their true desire is to produce a future society comprised of a few, very wealthy, rulers at the top with a small middle class of professionals and the bulk of the population as low skill, low wage workers without even unions to bargin for reasonable working conditions and living wages. If public schools become extinct leaving only private, tuition charging, institutions to educate the elite of our society, we will have returned to the days of feudalism. Add in a powerful military establishment and fundamentalist Christian theology and welcome to the new dark ages. There is a new TV series (now on hiatus) titled "Revolution" in which all the electricity in the world ceases to function. The result is similar to Europe of the 13th Century. Is this the goal of the conservative movement?
I can only hope that folks are beginning to pay attention. History and science matter. The nonsense of the right needs to be debunked.

You have described what

You have described what anarchist Emma Goldmann once referred to as the "worker bee syndrome." That is "exactly" what the right has had in their myopic, callous and avaricious minds for over 100 years. The "new Dark Ages" are right around the corner. You're absolutely correct; "History and science matter."

As a schoolkid in the 1960s,

As a schoolkid in the 1960s, I was confused by Republican hostility toward teachers and education. Now I understand. An informed public -- and especially, those who had learned critical thinking skills -- is a direct threat to the right wing agenda.

DHFABIAN, Very well said. A

DHFABIAN, Very well said. A "dumbed down"electorate is obviously much easier to fool and manipulate. I was a schoolkid in the '60's as well. Some of those teachers were amongst the best people I've ever known. I've volunteered as a softball coach at inner city high schools in central California for some years. I've come into contact with quite a few teachers. Many of them are "loved" by their students. I see or hear it when I'm out there. The teacher's chief complaint: "Let me teach!" In other words; "get rid of the failed standardized testing." The heroic actions performed by the teachers in this shooting massacre should come as no surprise to anyone who's spent some time around teachers. The Conservatives simply have no allegiances to anything...except money and power.

You have a knack for using

You have a knack for using violent, degrading and abusive language when you find yourself unable to comprehend large thoughts. How many "award winning" coaches like yourself turn out to be just another Jerry, Jerry?

"The fool wanders, the wise

"The fool wanders, the wise man travels." Goodbye...loser.

As a teacher of over 10

As a teacher of over 10 years, and earning less than $55,000 a year while dedicating 10-12 hours a day to various teaching and coaching duties, I thank you for pointing out the sacrifices we make for our children.
Under the circumstances, I think many people (non-teachers alike) would have done whatever was in their power to save those kids, if they could.
However, as teachers, we also protect your children from bullies everyday in school, we protect your children from on-line predators and false information, we protect your children from the ignorance of the world (and their own communities); we ensure that each and every child has the best opportunity to be a productive member of society. Every single day, teachers disregard their own personal wants and needs; everyday we sacrifice a part of ourselves for your children. We ensure that there are doctors, scientists, technologists, nurses, military personnel (and yes, even politicians) for future generations--to protect EVERYONE.
When we fail to honor the impact of educators, we fail to succeed as a society.

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