I heard it on the evening local NPR news, unceremoniously reported that the Ohio legislature voted to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights, including the right to strike. I can’t even put words to how sad, and how frightened, I am about the turn this country seems to be taking. The government has turned on those who serve the public – police officers, fire fighters, teachers – in the name of balancing a budget that the government officials have defunded year after year after year in the name of tax cuts that favor the top percentage. Now what? Cut their pay and benefits and leave them, and the rest of us, high and dry? Probably.
Ohio’s fight has not be as highly publicized as the fight in Wisconsin. None of the legislators left the state to keep a vote from coming to the floor. The vote was close, though, 17-16. The house has a bigger majority, so it will likely pass on through. What is the recourse now? Are we really heading back to the days of no worker rights?
What scares me the most in all of this is that I am raising children here in this state. One of them has special needs and thus educational needs that could very well be threatened by this latest turn of events. With even more cuts to education, which the bully governor assures us are certain to come, class sizes here will rise. Teachers jobs are likely to be cut. Will special education services be slashed? My littlest one is already struggling in school with class sizes of up to 25 kids. What will happen to her as class sizes rise? Will she also need special education services? Will those services even be available?
I am a firm believer in public education and am fortunate to live in a diverse suburb with an excellent school system. We have, however, lost two levys in a row now. With the state threats of even more funding cuts, I fear for the quality of not only our district but public schools throughout the entire state. I am not in a financial position to look into private school options, even if I were inclined to go that route.
I do not understand the direction that our state and our country seems to be going. When we stop valuing education, stop valuing the efforts of the many in favor of the few, what good can possibly come?
I am aware that this is rambling, possibly incoherent, and even more possibly asking for commentary that will burst into flames. I don’t care at the moment. At the moment, I am sad and scared and wonder what kind of state, what kind of country, and what kind of world is being created for my children. I am not feeling optimistic.