Teachers are facing “the perfect storm”

Between one-half and one-third of American teachers are considering quitting at the end of the year. States across the country are sending veterans or college students into K-12 classrooms to bridge the teacher shortage, or they’re switching to four-day weeks, while remaining teachers struggle without fair pay and working families scramble to find childcare. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our guest, historian and educator Eric Blanc, explains how 90s-era neoliberal policy, recession years, and COVID have created the perfect storm for teachers, and why we all need to support them in their fight for survival.

The Democratic Party often presents itself as the champion of education for all and of working families and children. But Eric reveals that the history of Democrats’ involvement in educational policy over the past few decades is a history of austerity and anti-union activity. He argues that the current funding woes of the American educational system come from the neoliberal Democrats of the Nineties and their inheritors, especially Obama, under whose administration teachers’ unions faced attacks.

This is to say that COVID didn’t start the struggles that American teachers face today. It did, however, force our country’s educators to face new political and economic threats. Now, as teachers stand up and fight back on picket lines across the country, we’re also asking questions about what our educational system could and should look like. What new roles could public education play in students’ lives, and why is it so important that we fight for them? This is just the beginning of our conversation with Eric, and we hope you enjoy.

Categories: Education

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