In the past month, I have heard that three people I know who are dedicated young teachers have been laid off from their jobs. One of them is a talented special ed teacher, another is a devoted English teacher who coaches his school's basketball team as a sideline, and the third is a PE teacher and baseball coach who had a slew of parents petition the school board to save his job. They are all now unemployed. They have school loans to pay off and young families to support. No matter.
I know that municipalities and states have no money, and budget deficits are growing every day. The recession is still with us, and vital services like libraries, parks, firefighters and police are trimming their budgets when there is nothing left to trim. Still, it is undeniable that education is the single most important factor in creating critical thinkers, people who can transform this world into the kind of place we all want to live.
It seems to me that a society that devalues its young and energetic teachers is a society that is headed nowhere good.