Teacher’s voices must be heard

Published 10:23 pm Monday, April 25, 2011

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” These words would be easily received if uttered by a philosopher or theologian. Yet this powerful quote came from the loveable elephant in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who. There was something extremely moving about Horton’s compassion.  This giant elephant wanted to protect and save the tiny inhabitants of “Who-ville.” It would have been easy for a creature of such size to ignore the small people, but not Horton. Horton’s hearing was not distracted by the many tasks of daily life.

This is what the teachers and state employees have been screaming to the legislature for the past two months, “Help, we are here!” Like the small inhabitants in Horton Hears a Who, teachers and state employees have simply been ignored or treated as if they don’t exist by many Republicans. I don’t believe education and state employment should be partisan issues, but the Republicans have decided to make them so. In one session, the Republicans have set education in Alabama back by 20 years.

I introduced a resolution urging the State Textbook Committee, the State Board of Education, and local school boards to make available electronic textbooks for students in public education. If agreed upon by both the House and Senate, this will be a move towards increasing the quality of education in Alabama.

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Despite teachers continuously yelling, “Help, we are here,” their salaries were still cut through increases in health insurance and retirement.

Like Horton, I keep hearing my Republican colleagues say to close loopholes might upset big corporations and cause jobs to be lost. In other words, they have chosen multi-national corporations over the education of our children. We cannot continue to balance the budget on the backs of students, teachers and state employees.

In spite of how much those in the jungle fought to destroy the speck, Horton courageously protected the lives of the Whos. A day came when those in power were about to destroy the speck and Horton encouraged the Whos with all of his might to keep on yelling, “We are here!”

Every voice counts! So, teachers and state employees, your voice counts.  Let it be heard because I believe that we are all people no matter how big or how small.