How’d We Get Here ?

Any reader who would like to offer some help in filling in the blanks, please do.

I graduated from high school in 1958.  All of my schooling at that time took place in New England.  In high school a lot of the teachers were veterans of WW2 and used the G. I. Bill to go to college and become teachers.

I cannot recall when I first heard of teachers/teacher unions having difficulty with school boards over items like pay or class size, but it was long after I left high school.  It might have been in the 1980s.  Anyone can offer some help here.
But all of a sudden, we have multiple crises that singly would be manageable, but taken in total,  are crippling our country.

  • A public education system that is failing
  • A federal budget deficit
  • Infrastructure that is coming apart at the seams

Beginning in the 1980s, the Neo-cons assumed as their mantra “No-New-Taxes” which is still being sung today. From the Americans for Tax Reform web site

In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol.Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.

Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.

I’ve said it before – taxes pay for making roads smooth, for fire fighters to be on duty to respond to an emergency, for an Air Traffic Control system AND for public school teachers.

Every time ‘we’ as the body politic, have a public dispute over teacher salaries or items that affect the ability of students to learn, we are telling the students and the rest of the world that we, as a nation, do not care if the students learn.  All we want is NO taxes.  Period.

I recall some ten or twelve years ago there was a small municipality that had a ballot item to install an Enhanced 9-1-1 system.  The system they had could only receive one call at a time.  A second emergency got a busy signal.  The tax increase would have been $18 dollars a year.  That’s right – a buck and a half a month.  It was soundly defeated at the polls.  Oh, I forgot to mention that just six months prior a small girl died because the 9-1-1 line was busy.

Anyway, this concept of ‘no new taxes’ is turning the United States into a 3rd world country.

I do not know how this gets turned around.  Back to education, maybe we nee longer school days.  Maybe we need to eliminate the 3-month summer break.  I mean we are no longer, primarily, an agricultural nation.

Unfortunately, this subject being fraught with politics, we see absolutely no leadership – not on the national level, not on the state level and not on the local level.

The terms of the strike settlement in Chicago may be a start.

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