Educators setting up at Liberty Plaza for a rally in support of public schools – 5:30 p.m. start. [photo]
Teachers in our country rarely get the respect they deserve – a uniquely American pathology. But this year they’ve endured not just indifference, but disrespect – and from Congressmen, no less.
Teachers are now blamed not just for falling test scores, but failing state budgets and rising healthcare costs.
There was once a politician who took a different view. In 1787, Thomas Jefferson’s Northwest Ordinance – what some scholars believe to be one of the three most important documents in the founding of America, along with the Constitution and Declaration of Independence – provided funding for public schools and universities. In it, he declared, “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
The idea is so central to American public education, the University of Michigan has it engraved on the façade of its central building, Angell Hall. But few of the people walking by Angell Hall even know the line is there, or why. Ignorance makes it easy to take what’s good for granted.