On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, Indiana public school teachers and their supporters participated in a special day. They gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to lobby for more money for teachers and for schools. They wore red t-shirts (and perhaps red sweatshirts) with slogans on them to indicate their solidarity with each other. They showed their numerical power to the Indiana political representatives.
Because the teachers and their supporters were encouraged to wear red, the day was officially designated as Red for Ed Action Day. (Ed is short for education, obviously. I had an Uncle Ed; in his case Ed was short for Edward. He was eccentric but lovable. Okay, we won’t go there. I’ll try to stick to the topic at hand.)
More than 130 school corporations cancelled classes for the day, so that teachers could participate. That was true of one of the schools in my county. In other cases, individual teachers just didn’t show up for their normal work day, and instead went to the Indiana Statehouse.
Two longish articles about the Red for Ed Action Day showed up in our local newspaper. I will use some of their statistics to try to think about what is going on in Indiana (and basically in the country as a whole).
The average starting salary for teachers in public schools in Indiana is $35,943.00. This ranks only 36th in the nation. There are 50 states in the nation. (Well, not according to Barack Obama, who said there were 57, but I’m sticking to my instincts on this one.) Which indicates we are doing pretty rotten. Supposedly. But think about it a bit more, doing mathematics. Assume teachers work about 8 months in a year (counting fall, winter, spring, and summer vacation time as adding up to about four months). Eight months is close if not exactly correct to the day. Eight months is equal to about 34.67 weeks of work. So the beginning teacher is earning a salary of slightly more than $1,000.00 per week.
Or look at the same math another way. Assume teachers put in a 40-hour work week. They work about 1,386.8 hours in a year, at an hourly wage of $25.90 per hour, if they are a beginning teacher.
The average salary for all Indiana teachers is $50,614.00 per year. Again, only 36th in the nation, and thus rotten. Supposedly. That works out to slightly more than $1,459.00 per week. On an hourly basis, the average teacher in the state of Indiana is collecting about $36.50 an hour.
We are spending $8,496.00 per public school student in the state of Indiana. Which ranks an horrific 47th best in the nation. Again, rotten. Until you think about the math a bit more. A private person at home with a gift and passion for helping young people learn, teaching students for $300.00 per month for eight months, might well be able to teach 10 students successfully. (One-room schoolteachers often had more than 10 students.) Such a person would earn $24,000.00 in an 8-month school year, which translates to an hourly wage of $17.30. For the parents, $2,400.00 is a lot less the $8,496.00 the state is currently paying.
Change the math slightly. Say the parent has to pay about $4,250.00 to a private school teacher for an 8-month school year. That is half what the state is paying now. It would result in a salary (for eight months’ work) of $42,500.00 for the teacher, about $30.50 per hour. This is not shabby pay. Neither $24,000.00 nor $42,500.00 is a fortune, but neither is to be sneezed at, either. Private teachers can earn a good income, at half or less the cost per student which the state of Indiana is paying now.
There was no controversy about Red for Ed Action Day. It was assumed that this day was something we should all be glad about. One headline quoted a public education person. The headline read: ‘It’s about THE KIDS’.
Mankind approaches the infinite in his capacity for self-deception. As near as I can tell, these teachers and their supporters really do believe that “‘It’s about THE KIDS.'” This is an indication of how far we have to go if we are going to put up a fight to preserve Christian civilization. Intelligent, well-educated people, many of whom are Christians, believe it really is about the kids. Such self-deception is off the charts.
Red for Ed Action Day was very appropriately named. The irony is palpable–but maybe I am incorrect in calling it palpable because it was completely ignored by everyone, again as near as I can tell. Internationally, red is the color which represents communism. The teachers and their friends are at bottom supporters of a communist way of life. God is the Supreme Ironist, and He is having a giggle at the expense of the teachers in causing them, or allowing them, to name their special day Red for Ed Action Day.
The teachers are only a symptom. They are not the originators of the public education system. At bottom, public education comes out of the hearts of antinomian pietist Christians who want their neighbors to pay for the education of the Christians’ children. Ain’t nothing going to change until Christians make practical application of the Eighth Commandment that we not steal (Exodus 20:15), and begin to accept responsibility to educate our children at our own expense. I’m not holding my breath until that happens.
If public education teachers want education to be “about the kids,” all they have to do is leave public education and start teaching a few kids in their home, for a moderate cost to parents. This would benefit the children. They would have individual instruction, safety, a quiet and calm atmosphere, and Christian ideas and principles could be on the table for discussion if the teacher were a practicing Christian.
I had a blog post entitled “Public education–bad news/good news” on July 25, 2019. It covered some of the same ground. However, Red for Ed Action Day made me, uh, see red, and I needed to put in another two cents worth on the topic, for my own peace of mind.
Recently Kentucky had an election for governor. They elected a routinely leftist Democrat. I hold no particular brief for the defeated Republican. I don’t know much about him, other than to believe that he was somewhat more conservative than his Democrat opponent. One Demo commentator stated that the Republican lost because he was a “jerk.” Well, maybe. But it was a very close election, with the Republican losing by only a few thousand votes. I think he lost partly because the public education teachers voted against him in huge numbers. And also partly because the urban vote is so overwhelmingly Democratic that a Republican had better run extremely strong in the provinces if he hopes to win. So, if the Repub was indeed a jerk, it may well have hurt him enough with his natural constituency to keep him from winning. But mostly he lost because of the red big city and, to at least some extent, the red public education teachers.
We in Indiana face a similar future. The more naturally Democratic voters we create, the less likelihood that a candidate believing in freedom and responsibility can win office. Our public education teachers are a natural red constituency for Democrats.
This world that we live in has not happened by accident. Almost everything flows from our brand of Christianity. We can have a world where kids learn a lot for $3,000.00 or less a year paid for by the parents, or we can have a world where kids don’t learn much reading, writing, and arithmetic, but get propagandized to believe a lot of nonsensical things. The choice is ours, and always has been. For the foreseeable future we will continue to choose the latter option, but I am optimistic that we will choose differently some day. No doubt I will be long dead, but the world and world history do not exist for me alone. (More is the pity.) The future can be better.
Enjoy Thanksgiving and count your blessings. Mine are numerous. I will name just one: I can still say things like I said in today’s blog, and not worry that I will be arrested, even though what I said would offend perhaps 95% of the population, including the official Powers That Be, if they knew I wrote it. It is a great blessing to be able to say what I believe, and not fear arrest.