As a career educator, I am heartened by the emphasis there appears to be on addressing teacher salaries during the upcoming General Assembly session. In spite of all the advanced tools now available to educate young people, research continues to show an effective teacher to be the most critical factor to student academic success.
That said, the need for compensation that attracts and retains quality school support staff should not be overlooked. It is imperative for school districts to have bus drivers that can safely supervise a busload of children while driving in difficult conditions, classroom assistants that can be trusted to handle very sensitive personal care of special needs students, technology staff that can keep devices and networks consistently working, and maintenance staff that can keep often aging facilities operational. I could also go on and on about clerical staff, custodial staff, food service staff and so many others that keep schools running every day.
Legislators should not lose sight of these tremendously important people. Schools could not operate without them, and they are deserving of a wage that reflects their importance. Far too often, these professionals are an afterthought.
True democracy will only happen after gerrymandering districts are gone
We really haven’t been a true democracy for all that long. Until women won the right to vote in 1920, over half of the U.S. population was disenfranchised. For much of the 20th century, Jim Crow laws prevented millions of African-Americans from voting. Arguably, we didn’t become a real democracy until 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
True democracy can’t exist unless all adult citizens (with the possible exception of persons serving time for felonies) have the right to vote. Anyone – Democrat or Republican – who tries to distort the vote using gerrymandering or any kind of voter suppression either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t trust, democracy. If we want to preserve democratic rule in America, all redistricting after the 2020 census must be done on a bipartisan basis to eliminate gerrymandered districts. Voters should choose their political representatives, not the other way around.
President’s level of corruption demands impeachment
A recent letter to the editor suggested that the current president is OK based on several factors which include sexual behavior no worse than Bill Clinton, normalized “presidential” behavior, transparent communication via tweets and rope-line media answers, and, finally, not being President Obama. This perspective is unfortunately naive and simplistic.
Each day brings another indictment to high ranking government officials including the president’s inauguration committee, the Trump charitable foundation, multiple Cabinet officials, violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and on and on. It is nearly impossible to keep up with the increasing levels of outright fraud and corruption. And, this is all occurring after the promise of “draining the swamp” in Washington.
The very foundation of our democracy is under siege and at stake. It is becoming clearer every day that the only way to protect our democratic system of government is to begin the process of impeachment of our president. This will allow real transparency that the entire country can observe, thereby challenging the nonstop falsehoods spewing from our president’s mouth. The level of corruption evident daily demands impeachment now.