Originally published Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 07:10p.m.


America’s public school system, the bedrock of our democracy, is under a well-funded, tightly coordinated, attack. And teachers are bearing the brunt of the assault.

The bulk of the funding and planning originates with the Koch brothers. In his 1980 run for national office, Charles Koch articulated the goal, one from which the brothers and their supporters have never deviated: the weakening and eventual elimination of America’s public school system by demoralizing public school teachers.

At a resent Koch “retreat” Arizona was labeled “ground zero” for the attack. 866 Arizona public school teachers abandoned or resigned their positions during the first four months of the 2017-2018 school year. Numbers like these are being repeated across the country, mostly in states controlled by conservative governors and legislators. The University of Arizona tried to hold a workshop to encourage students to enter the teaching field, but it failed when teachers proved reluctant to promote their own profession.

The major cause for the exodus of teachers is lack of support from the top. The Federal Secretary of Education has no experience nor knowledge of the public school system. She supports vouchers as a means of funneling funds from the public budget to the support of private and religious schools. And states continue to compile a history of broken promises.

Diogenes said “The foundation of every State is the education of its youth.” In America, that foundation is being deliberately eroded. This process must be stopped in November.

Ron Woerner