The Straight Line From Trump To The Teachers’ Strikes—And Back Again

By

Leonard Zwelling

Anyone who believes that the United States has the finest system of public school education in the world is delusional. Now that is being made manifest by the very people who know this the best—the teachers.

Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma teachers are all striking, have struck, or are about to and it is not hard to imagine that this will spread to other states.

Teachers are overworked and underpaid. They use their own money to supply their classrooms and more than a few have noted that they have inadequate numbers of books and desks and that the books are often out of date. This is unacceptable. It also portends that the education being received by our youngest citizens is not what it should be and, if true for the past twenty or so years, that alone could explain the election of Donald Trump.

This is not to say that everyone who voted for President Trump is uneducated or under educated. Nor does it indicate that those who voted for Mrs. Clinton are geniuses. None of that is true. The year 2016 may have provided Americans with the worst choice for president in recent memory. BUT you have to admit that Mr. Trump says a lot of silly things and does some even sillier ones with his Twitter account. He is rude and crude and seemingly uncivilized. He treats women horribly and makes fun of the disabled. He is, in no way, an example for the young people and a man like that should never have been able to get near the White House for a guided tour let alone live in it.

So I will attribute some of his political success to the under education of the voting public. And the under education of the voting public is, at least partially due to the poor state of teacher pay and conditions within the school system. Given Mr. Trump’s Secretary of Education and her lack of qualifications for the job, it is unlikely that things will get better for the public schools in the next few years.

There’s a direct line from the poor state of American public education to the election of such a mean and small person as Mr. Trump and I am afraid there is an equally straight line from Mr. Trump’s raising the expectations of those making what teachers make to the facts on the ground that their lives are no better after he has been in office for 15 months.

But, this one will not be solved in Washington, DC. It is up to the states and local school districts to want to improve the quality of education the next generation of voters receives. As of now, as the teachers are telling us, those branches of government are not doing enough to guarantee America an educated group of future voters which may be just what Donald Trump is counting on.

Teachers need raises. All of them. They need modern up-to-date and FACTUAL textbooks and they shouldn’t have to spend their own money to decorate their rooms.

It is a much better investment in the future security of the country to make sure the public system of education is truly the best in the world than is another aircraft carrier. Leave Afghanistan. Leave Iraq. Fund the teachers. Why the heck not?

Leonard Zwelling