Why Don't Teachers Get the Respect They Deserve? Republicans Would Rather Destroy Schools Than Raise Taxes on Millionaires
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The following is a transcript from part of Ed Schultz's March 1 broadcast on MSNBC
ED SCHULTZ: Governor Scott Walker has leveled the largest assault on public education in the history of the state of Wisconsin. Late [on Tuesday] thousands of locked out protesters stood in the cold and chanted while Governor Walker gave his budget address inside the capitol.
“The A.P.” reports Walker‘s budget includes, well, nearly a 9 percent cut in aid to schools which would amount to a reduction of nearly $900 million. The governor also proposed requiring school districts to reduce their property tax authority by an average of $550 per pupil. So much for a commitment.
Here‘s how the governor put it during his speech:
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Just as we reform our entitlement programs for the 21st century, we must also reform our education system. Clearly, we have to produce graduates who are able to compete not only with their peers from Chicago or Des Moines, but also from Shanghai or Sydney, and we want to do so while we balance a $3.6 billion deficit. That is why even as we reduce school aids, overall, we give schools across the state the tools to make up for those reductions with even greater savings through the budget repair bill. Again, this is why it‘s so vitally important for the Senate Democrats to come back home and do their jobs. If they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers.
SCHULTZ: No threat there. This is a classic Republican logical thinking by the way they see the world.
Walker is going to help Wisconsin school children. He‘s going to help them compete by cutting nearly $1 billion from public education? You think that‘s going to work?
Walker blames 14 Democrats for massive teacher layoffs when he‘s the one that‘s cutting the budget? Democrats don‘t want this.
This isn‘t just about an attack on teacher unions. This is an attack on every taxpayer in the state of Wisconsin and it seems to be contagious.
Cities would get nearly $60 million less in state aid in Walker‘s budget plan, an 8.8 percent cut.
Counties would lose over $36 million. That‘s a 24 percent reduction.
And the legislation—get this—would outlaw local governments‘ ability to increase property taxes except to account for new construction.
Now, think about that. If they have a shortfall of money coming into their district and they say, “Well, you know, let‘s get our community together, our town together and decide what we‘re going to do”—no, can‘t do that.
This is now big brother on the scene. This isn‘t local control anymore. If cities can‘t raise property taxes to cover Walker‘s cuts in education, and that would be a local decision, teachers are going to get the ax and public education is going to be put on life support in many communities in Wisconsin.
And as I said, this is contagious. This is the new Republican plan to go after budgets in America. This is exactly what Republican governors like Walker have always dreamed of. They‘ve been on a mission to privatize public education for years so they can make money.
Republicans can‘t stand the fact that public education isn‘t about the almighty dollar. The demonization of public education in America—can we come it a conclusion tonight that this really has to stop? Because we have to take a closer look at what we‘re doing to the future of our country? And it‘s all starting with the workforce, isn‘t it? The teachers. We got to go after them.
Let me remind Americans tonight that nobody goes into teaching to get rich. They do it because they love helping people. They love the reward of seeing kids reach their potential. It takes a special person to be a teacher.
But governors like Walker want teachers to bear the burden of shared sacrifice. Walker refused. He refused to raise taxes on the rich. But he wants to stick it to the teachers who average—don‘t let me knock you off the couch tonight—folks, a whopping $51,000 a year.
It‘s not just Wisconsin. Over in Ohio, Republicans are going after teachers—well, they‘re really over paid, they‘re making $54,000 a year. And across the river in New Jersey, Chris Christie wants you to believe, he wants you to believe that a teacher who makes $63,000 a year is rich.
Christie and Walker, what they want to do and Kasich and other Republican governors, they‘re watching this closely across the country and how they can do it in their state, they want to crush—and I mean crush collective bargaining and pin the blame on the teachers unions.