Dear Governor and dear Representatives who voted against the resolution that would’ve allowed teachers to take more than 3 sick days without penalty, let me ask you: how many times did you take a sick day this past year? How many times did you have to assist a sick family member, whether a child, a spouse, or an elderly parent? And all this when you hold a position that doesn’t keep you inside a classroom five days a week. Along with train stations and public places, schools are the primary route for the spread of infectious diseases.
We entrust our children in the hands of highly dedicated workers who, not only have to deal with coughs, colds, stomach bugs, but also family crises, bullying, aggressive behavior from some kids coming from very difficult family situations. Teachers take each one of these realities and dedicate to them the best part of their lives, nurturing, teaching, explaining, turning boys and girls into passionate human being, eager to go out into the world and make it a better place.
And how do we reward these dedicated workers? By not giving them a pay raise in years and not allowing them to take not even a week – a week! – of sick leave without penalizing them. Would you treat your own children this way? Of course not, right? Yet this is how you are treating those who are in charge of educating our children.
What kind of hope do we place in our future generations if we disrespect the very people who are supposed to teach them and prepare them to take on the world? Teachers and professors have one of the most important professions in our society. Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.” What does that say about a society that values more tax cuts to big corporations than rewarding hard working teachers? What does that say about a society that makes education a privilege of the rich instead of a basic human right for all our children? If we deny our children the best education by mistreating our educators, by forcing educators to find better paying jobs, what kind of future are we offering to our society?
Think about that next time you take a sick leave.