Saturday, July 28, 2018

Politics and Teaching

There is an undeniable intersection of politics and teaching. To teach well depends on many laws, policies, protocols, and budgetary decisions. A teacher cannot stay silent when he/she sees ways that the country can better serve children, families, schools, and communities. We know that when children, families, schools, and communities are well served by political leaders, decisions, and financial support, those children, families, schools, and communities have the potential to thrive.

As an educator, I do not support specific politicians or policies in the classroom, instead as a teacher of young children, I teach children about our country's government, laws, and processes. I remind them of their rights as well as their responsibilities as citizens and residents, and I promote fair, inclusive discussions about world issues when appropriate.

On my own time via writing, advocacy, debate, and discussion, I speak up and work towards the kinds of supports that will better help children, families, schools, and communities. As a teacher of 32 years, a parent, family and community member, and a citizen of the United States, I notice many ways that we can better what we do and how we support one another. I also notice good work and questionable work by multiple elected and appointed leaders. While I'm not always right, I feel that I have an obligation to share my point of view if I believe it will make a positive difference.

Right now, I am writing about and advocating for the following issues.

Ethical, Legal Behavior
When politicians and appointed leaders act without ethics or fidelity to the law, they challenge our individual and collective rights, opportunities, peace, and potential. Not only does unethical and illegal behavior challenge our good government, but this behavior wastes our time and resources too.  We need good time and resources to do our work well, care for our families and communities, and forward our country in ways that matter, therefore we have to expect ethical and legal behavior by all leaders, workers, and citizens, and we need to help each other to meet the goal of positive, ethical work and living.

Inhumane, disrespectful treatment of people creates a domino effect of disrespect, hurt, and harm. People do not leave their homelands without a deep need or desire for change. I don't take lightly the desire of multiple peoples around the world who are risking their lives, spending their hard earned dollars, and leaving the land and people they love to start new lives. I know that the roots of immigration, in part, lie in the mistreatment of people and lands over time--many countries around the world reaped the benefits of the people and resources of other countries with little sensitivity and care about those people or their resources. This, in part, has resulted in conflict and a desire by many to leave their homelands. As world citizens, we have to respectfully, humanely, and kindly respond to immigration issues. We can do this in the following ways:
  • Fix the grave error by the current United States presidential team by reuniting all families separated at the border and offering all with the exception of dangerous criminals full, legal residency in the United States as reparation for the disrespectful and serious separations that occurred.
  • Review the immigration laws carefully, and find ways to respectfully honor those laws.
  • Work to change laws that are not working well.
  • Make all laws clear to those who desire to live in the United States, and all of those in the United States who profit from and exploit illegal immigrant workers.
  • At the border, rather than a wall, create a transiency center that helps those who arrive at the border to know their rights and what they need to do to gain residency in the United States or other countries. 
  • Pay close attention to where people are coming from and why they are coming--work with those countries and peoples for win-win solutions to welcome those citizens to the United States and/or create situations in their homelands where they can live peacefully and happily. There could potentially be immigration centers set up in people's homelands and in those centers people could learn about immigration procedures and preparation--these centers could potentially bring income to other countries and even help people to gain better lives in their own countries if desired. 
  • Illegal immigration that is related to crime needs to be flushed out, made transparent, and dealt with using innovative, creative, humane solutions.
Safe and Dynamic Communities
The national government has to support personalized supports for communities throughout the United States by providing supports to uplift those communities. Perhaps there could even be national awards for communities at various income levels that best serve their citizens with top-notch recreation, schools, safety, health care, protection of natural resources, good homes, nutritious food, and more. Without a one-size-fits-all approach, the government can look deeply at the problems communities face, and utilize tried-and-true as well as new and innovative supports and solutions to uplift life in those communities. There's a lot of good going on in the United States, and by identifying and supporting that good to better lives throughout the country we will create a better, stronger, and happier country.

Treating Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue
I've read a lot about the senseless pain and destruction that misuse of guns causes Americans. This problem also costs the country money. We can look at this problem as a public health problem and make good change similar to the positive change we have made with regard to public health issues such as minimizing cigarette smoking, promoting safe driving, elevating nutritious diets, and lessening neighborhood crime. For starters we can create gun registries in every state that mimic automobile registration centers. We can create laws that reduce, restrict, and regulate gun use so that those who own guns are well trained and evidently responsible. We can require gun owners to pay a gun tax that connects them to gun safety information, and we can heavily tax and regulate gun companies so that they don't put their profits ahead of people's safety.

Greater Support for Health Care and Education
A healthy, well educated population is a population that is more peaceful and productive. Right now education and health care are underfunded. We can use the great advantage of increased automation by doubling the number of employees in service industries such as health care and education by creating opportunities to train more teachers and health care professionals. We also can better use tax dollars to support schools and health care agencies so that everyone gets the care they need. There should not be long waiting lines of individuals who are waiting to get the kind of education and health care they need. 

Protection of our Natural Lands, Water, Air and Resources
It is short sighted to not look for ways to protect our natural lands and resources.  As a world we have limited resources, and we know that clean air, clean water, and clean soil are essential to good living. We cannot move backwards in this arena. Our current presidential team is not taking this issue seriously at all by deconstructing regulations that protect our resources and not making time to create more regulations that safeguards our lands, air, and water. This problem is staring all of us in the face because if we don't protect our lands, water, and air, there will be less opportunity for healthy, peaceful living on Earth. It is foolish to not take this seriously by promoting our country's efforts to partner with countries around the globe to care for our planet and people in ways that matter.

Transforming the Concept of Police Protection Alone to Multidisciplinary Health and Safety Organizations
We need to move the idea of "police" to the concept of community health and safety organizations. While there is a need for traditional policing in some circumstances, we can do better by transforming old time police work to work that includes some traditional policing and more public health and safety work--work that focuses on prevention. Many police departments are already moving in this direction and we can continue this transformation.

Modernizing and Revisiting Ethics and Global Partnerships
As we increasingly move towards the need for world government, policies, and protocols due to our ever increasing interdependence on one another, we need to work at modernizing ethical expectations and developing stronger, more collaborative, and forward focused global partnerships. Peace, protecting our planet, good living, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all world citizens should be at the forefront of this work.

Regulate Businesses and Private Organizations
We can retain the healthy competition that comes from capitalism while preserving the rights and opportunities for all by regulating businesses and private organizations in ways that create greater equity and opportunity for good living for all the country's and Earth's people. We need to regulate against excessive greed that prevents others from getting ahead.

We have to visibly work to make sure that no Americans are left behind by prejudice, lack of opportunity, little to no access to basic needs, education, and health care, and full awareness of their rights and responsibilities as citizens. 

To teach well is to care for each and every child that you are responsible for.

To teach well is to give students the concept, knowledge, and skill to be effective lifelong learners, apt collaborators, worthy contributors, and good livers--people who can reap the rewards of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for self and others.

To teach well is to make sure educators have the work conditions and fair salaries at school and in the greater community that enable optimal teaching and learning.

To teach well is to speak up and advocate for needed supports, student/family rights, and the freedom to do your job well without unnecessary obstacles and restrictions.

Politics and teaching are tightly intertwined--one cannot exist without the other because both fields are people-fields, fields that depend on a positive focus related to what we can do with and for one another.