...Constitution where religion is concerned. I also agree that prayer has been practiced in public schools, in TN and elsewhere.
I would just make two points...
First, it is important to distinguish between (a)prayer/religious practice promoted or established by a public school leadership versus (b)prayer/religious practice promoted/established by people in the school (students and community members).
Second, (b) is fine, legal, constitutional and practiced in many public schools to this day. However,(a) is unconstitutional and illegal in a public school. And while I don't assume all people follow the Constitution in a public school, they ARE supposed to do so.
...are not very knowledgeable about this issue.
First, Perry introduces this issue into his campaign because it is 'red meat' for his base. It energizes them...like the issue of Texas seceding from the union. 'Prohibiting Prayer in Public Schools' is a RW talking point that is not true. What IS true, is that separation of church and state exists in this country...but that is a more complicated, nuanced issue. It's easier for Perry to bash schools/public education than to explain the real issue...if he even understands it at all himself.
Second, government agencies...federal, state and local...are prohibited by the Constitution from establishing or promoting religion. Public school educators work for the government, therefore they are NOT ALLOWED by the Constitution to do anything that promotes religion...any religion. Or one religion over another. Our forefathers came here seeking religious freedom and wrote that into our Constitution. So educators cannot LEAD any religious activity (such as prayer). Schools can (and some do) allow their facilities to be used by others for such purposes...but they MUST legally be open to giving that opportunity to ALL religious groups. All or none.
Finally, this is what I am troubled by in the OP:
One measure of why we needed to get prayers out of school is this: before prayers were cast out, Catholics felt a need to send their kids to Catholic school; public schools were for the Protestants. Now the parish schools are closing due to lack of enrollment. Catholic parents feel their kids are welcome at public schools.
This assumes we need to get rid of prayer...and that assumption gives the RW their power on this issue. Prayer was never 'cast out'. People started suing schools. And the part about Catholic vs Protestant is an example of what our forefathers were trying to fix by separating church and state in our Constitution.
...everything and it takes time, commitment and great effort for teachers to have an impact. Problem is, NCLB undermines that...because it targets (as ineffective) the very teachers, usually in Title I schools, who are doing that very challenging work.
Teachers can, and are, making a big difference. But they are now leaving IN DROVES...or rejecting a career in education altogether...because of the punitive nature of NCLB/ESEA. (And it doesn't matter what it's called. )
...we allow it. You said:
"We are entering into almost a full year of continuous campaigning and we will be inundated with all kinds of deceptive, negative commercials and political ads. And guess what - we will fall for it like we always do.
Caveat Emptor!!! There's a sucker born every minute!!! These still ring true and we still haven't gotten it.
Why are we so gullible? Why do we let this happen to us? Why do we get suckered everytime?"
We will not fall for it if we pay attention and educate ourselves. That means watch TV that gives the context not the sound bite. Educate ourselves... READ a LOT. Read newspapers, online, books, etc.
To answer your questions:
Why are we so gullible? The other side gets away with spin if we are too unaware of the facts to counter the spin.
Why do we let this happen? Lots of reasons ranging from busy lives to laziness to complacency.
Why do we get suckered every time? We get taken when we become complacent...and expect others to do our job as citizens. But we don't get suckered EVERY time...2008 was the exception. People were engaged like they hadn't been in years. If we want things to change...really change...we have to STAY that way.
JMHO. Edited to add a favorite resource... http://www.c-span.org /
"There are plenty of other Democrats who could do better. The question is, could they get elected?"
"The country voted for hope and change and got almost zilch. Is it possible people will believe another hope and change candidate or assume she or he is of the same ilk?"
NO and NO
I agree there are other Dems. I also voted for Gore, Clark and Kerry. No, none of them could be elected in the political environment we have today. Do you realize how amazing it was that Dems came together for Obama in 2008? That will not be repeated in my lifetime.
I think we got more than zilch...but certainly not enough. I just blame the GOP more than I blame Obama.(I know others disagree on this. ) Another 'hope and change' candidate would flop...worse than that, any other Dem running against Obama would divide the party and insure a win for the Republican candidate...whoever that person is. AND that is PRECISELY what they want.
...this whole post is misleading.
Democrats I know were against the IRAQ war...not the war in Afghanistan...for four major reasons. One, it destabilized the ME...which was contained before GWB started that war. Al Qaeda was NOT in Iraq when we did 'Shock and Awe.' Two, it distracted us from fighting and winning the real war against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan...where OBL was. Three, the WMD lie that was used to trick the American people into supporting that war. Four, the lousy management which (top-down) allowed torture to occur on our watch.
As to Afghanistan/Pakistan, the root of our rightful concern after 9/11, Obama did what GWB never did...he took out Bin Laden. Once that area is stabilized, I hope...and believe...Obama will wind down that war as well. To do it right is taking longer than I would wish, but stabilizing Afghanistan/Pakistan (a nuclear power, BTW) is important to do. Otherwise, we'll be dealing with that problem again.
Finally, your link to an unjust war in VietNam with your title. I was against that war. Please remember, President Obama DID NOT start either the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan. He did not lie us into Iraq. He did not destabilize the ME. He is working to responsibly end both wars. Yes, it is taking too long IMO. But is it really futile to stabilize Afghanistan/Pakistan so that a nuclear incident...possibly terrorism related...is prevented? I think it is worth the effort.
And I will celebrate the day our troops come home.
...fixing education is SO important to our future...and I believe it is...that they would help dismantle the old system, unions and all. MY PROBLEM is what they are replacing the old system with(privatization that is cheaper)...and that they blame teachers for what is wrong with the old system when, in fact, teachers have had little voice or power in that system.
...before unions were created to stand up for them and collectively bargain for their rights. 40 hour week and weekends, child labor laws, equal rights for women in the workplace, healthcare benefits and some kind of plan for a pension (SS, state or company pension plan, 401k) all enjoyed by both public and private employees...all because of unions. I don't think going back to the old days are a good idea. Do you? It's kind of like 'a woman's right to choose'...we fought for these things. (Or our parents and grandparents did.)
...that he thinks we shouldn't vilify them as we make fiscal changes. And he wins on this either way, IF he stays on the fence and IF it is not nationalized. Playing it down and generalizing...rather than unequivocal support...works for the Democrats' and Obama's education policy.
If Walker loses, Obama and the Dems can claim they supported teachers all along. No risk for fence-sitting.
If Walker wins and unions are busted, so called 'expensive' public employees will be more easily removed (think, $$$ saved). If these GOP governors pull a Reagan and fire them all...same outcome...money is saved and the GOP gets the blame, not Dems or Obama. But there will be money saved for TFA teachers...which Ed. Reformers want.
You said, "Obama's comments -- which put him squarely in opposition to the right's ongoing campaign to scapegoat public workers for our economic woes -- could draw more national media attention to a story that's mostly unfolded so far online."
Nationalizing this issue is what President Obama wants to avoid. I have to say, Prosense, I vehemently disagree with the President on this. If keeping this out of the spotlight allows states to rid themselves of collective bargaining rights and cut teachers in order to further what the Education Reformers want...ie. getting rid of my profession...then he's lost me as a supporter. And he will lose a large part of his base as a result.
...is flat-out untrue. I heard this 'talking point' on both Fox and MSNBC from Pat Buchanan this morning.
Edited...after coffee ...to add my rant:
I have so many frustrations when I hear this talking point...mostly from my own experience as a teacher who has other relatives who are teachers (none of whom make $100,000/yr BTW). The first is about that whole debate we are having in Education Reform about evaluating teachers based on data. If the data they will use (and are using in some cases) is as flawed as the 'data' that they used to come up with this talking point...the data is a MESS.
The second frustration is that I have a family member who started teaching...in a Title I school...making $7,600 a YEAR in 1973. When he retired (after 33 years), he made +- $84,000 a year. I'll admit that the rising cost of health benefits may have put his total 'cost' for the state up to $100,000. (But that just reinforces our Democratic Party's position that we need to lower health care costs.)
Another example of that is my own salary level. I started teaching in 1983, and made $21,500 a year to start. That increased to $73,000 by the time I left in 2008. I wanted to and did continue my education during that time...which (with service and experience over time) increased my salary. I know other teachers who did the same (at their own expense, BTW) and took on other duties in the district which may have increased their salary level in recent years to close to the $100,000 number...but they are the exception, not the average. I am sure other teachers who read DU and elsewhere have similar stories.
Finally, the expectation that teachers continue their education is really important. Not only are those of us who did so...at our own expense...being slammed for it, and the higher salary and learning we gained from it...we are being told on TV that we are rich (Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha.....that is SO funny. ) and that we need to be taken out. Our salaries, sometimes higher than those in high-poverty neighborhoods in which we serve...are compared and belittled. But we have college degrees...aren't they supposed to mean something? We all want our kids to believe so. Yet, we are being told that we did something wrong and that we are now the PROBLEM.
You know, I'm in California and I GET the money part of this debate. I understand that California cannot afford us anymore. California and other states that legitimately DO have a budget crisis have to make monetary cuts. Many have already been made here...more are coming. Wisconsin, too, may have budget issues to address...and I hope they will.
But when did teachers become the enemy? The new teachers or the veteran teachers? WE'VE been the ones trying to work together and stop bullying, create a positive climate for kids in poverty, and teach the next generation FOR YEARS. When did we become the target? I'll tell you my answer to that. We experienced teachers became the enemy when the system started being restructured to save money. Expensive teachers are now encouraged to leave (quit, retire, die...we don't care) and new cheaper teachers are being encouraged to apply (but we'll make up data to evaluate you, work you to death, deny you benefits, and give you merit pay if you not only survive...but we like you!)
Is this the system we want? Really? I have children. I used to always encourage them...and student teachers I mentored...how GREAT teaching was. And it WAS.
I can't say that anymore. I think that saddens me more than anything else.
... and why they don't already have strong words for Governor Walker?"
Because they are on the fence, and every time they try to get off on one side or another, their pants get caught. Seriously. They have taken a position on education reform that is anti-union and anti-teacher. If they support the protestors in Wisconsin...they are at odds with that stance. If they support the Republican Governor, they just lost the national union vote.
So they stay on the fence. Lead, Mr. President. LEAD.
...feature? IMO, starting NOW, the media (including online and DU) and politicians need to put Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and FOX all on ignore. No more news or discussion involving any of them. Just let them fade into oblivion...
...spouting the usual stuff, and Matthews agreed with her on everything. I emailed the show to express how disrespectful this was to educators, and I haven't watched Hardball since.
I like MSNBC, but I refuse to watch this crap about teachers.
...teacher qualifications. It's about restructuring the system into one that's affordable and sustainable...hopefully with the right balance of highly qualified teachers still around.
It's a constant balance between having the number of teachers the system requires (at whatever stage of the restructuring process) while...at the same time...cutting costs. Cutting costs requires getting expensive teachers out...by attrition, retirement, or any other method possible that is legal. Bringing the cheaper teachers in requires programs like TFA (and others).
Evidently, there has been some success at getting experienced people out, so...to keep the balance right...more TFA's are needed. And, of course, they must be highly qualified...even if in name only. HQ TINO ?
...time. Do you?
Imagine what it's like to be in elementary school...or middle school...or high school. Your teacher tells you to work hard, do your homework, get good grades, turn in that report...and you know ALL THE TIME that you can't get in to college or get a good job anyway because you came to this country, illegally, when you were 2, 3 or 5 years old? Would you still try? Or would it seem like a waste of time...
As a teacher, I know these kids. They are SMART. But they don't always try their best because they know they are WASTING THEIR TIME...until this country gets it together and passes comprehensive immigration reform, or a 'Dream Act'. Yet they still dream...
Does Congress really want to improve education? Give these kids a reason to NOT waste their time. Give them HOPE and help them dream.