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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Teachers' Work Conditions are Students' Learning Conditions: Making Sense of Health Care

I serve on my school's local union board. Today we are meeting to discuss new health care guidelines. It appears that our members will have difficult decisions to make regarding their health care costs in the year ahead now that the system has decided to change health care benefits.

I don't think I'm alone when I say that health care is confusing. I receive countless health care notices for my family--notices that are extremely complex and difficult to figure out. Plus, the new plans are tricky too since they involve all kinds of personal and professional accounts.

Now, however, as a union board member, I have to wrap my brain around this and listen carefully as my colleagues discuss the tough decisions that our members will have to make--decisions that I'll have to explain as a union board member.

In all, there's much to be said about all of this.

First, there's no reason why in this day and age that health care paperwork or plans have to be so confusing. The only reason I can think of for all of this confusion is that confusion breeds ignorance and ignorance opens the door for profits since people are so confused, they don't know what to do. This is an area of great need with regard to our legislatures, health care companies, work places, and tax efforts. Of course, I believe that health care is a human right and that it should be fairly distributed, supported, and paid for. We can definitely do better in this regard as a people and nation.

Next, it's true that teachers' work conditions are students' learning conditions. Fair pay, good health care, and reasonable work conditions create an environment where teachers don't have to work two jobs, and conditions where teachers can do their work well. I believe that all educators deserve a good wage--the kind of wage that allows them to own a home, raise a family, work one job, and have a little fun once in a while. When this happens, educators are able to go to work each day and do the best possible job.

So in a short while, I'll devote a good deal of time with colleagues to unearth what seems like a very complex new system of health care, one that appears to raise costs for some if not all educators. I'll know more in time and be able to report more accurately then. Onward.