Blue Girl, Red State

A fantastic Idahoan started making these stickers a couple of years ago. I think they are pretty clever.

Click for their website!

She also makes them for Texas, Utah, and Colorado. I bet she would take requests for other states.

Confession# 1: I don’t actually own one of these cool stickers.

I keep meaning to pick one up, but in my head, I imagine putting the sticker on my car. And then I imagine coming out to my car after school to find my tires slashed. Or parents lined up in the office to pull their kids from my class.

Point being, I am a wuss. I don’t like confrontation, and I often keep my beliefs to myself. We in Canyon County are serious about our politics. Party lines are rarely crossed. I can’t find the numbers from last night yet, but in 2008, we voted about 80% Republican. My move to Nampa makes me much more of a political outcast than I already was:

  • I was in Idaho for the presidential election in 2004. I went out drinking in sweatpants that night and seriously considered moving to Canada.
  • I was living back in Oregon in 2006, and I thought things looked a bit more hopeful  (in Ada County, not the state).
  • I celebrated quietly in 2008, keeping my happiness to myself at school. Listened to accounts of parents outraged by teachers who had their classes write a letter to the new president. Children crying and refusing to participate.
  • In 2009, I held my temper and agreed to the ‘request’ that we not show President Obama’s speech on education, as we had too many preemptive phone ‘threats’ letting us know that students would be kept home that day if we did.

Confession #2: This year was the first time I voted in mid-term elections.

I finally felt like I had a reason to vote locally, like I would be directly effected by the results.

I  was concerned about the governor’s race. I honestly liked the democratic candidate. I didn’t just see him as the lesser of evils. I knew his chances weren’t the best.

But most of all, I wanted our state superintendent of schools out.

I honestly didn’t even realize that the position was party-affiliated until very recently. My decision had nothing to do with that.

My initial impressions of our incumbent Mr. Luna left a lot to be desired. During my first year teaching there was a meeting in Boise where teachers were given a chance to voice concerns about a merit-based pay program that he’d proposed. I didn’t know anything about him, I had only been a teacher for 3 months, and he had only taken over that year.

But I watched him, while the teacher’s were talking.

I will forgive him his smirk. Maybe it’s an unconscious facial expression. And his staffers, sitting with their Blackberries, sending mean-spirited messages to each other about the union… maybe that has to be forgiven as well, as the behavior has been seen at the highest levels (at least no one was heckling). But his blatant disregard for the speakers, his inattentive, unprofessional behavior during that meeting and others? Nothing about his actions that evening gave me any confidence that he was on my side, and that never changed. He is a businessman. Are our children goods, or services?

I am not confident about many things. But I am a good teacher. Maybe even a damn good teacher, some days. And I have very little to show for that. In my 4th year, I am still making ‘starting salary,’ because of the pay scale freeze to accommodate the budget cuts. I won’t say what that amount is, because it’s a personal matter, but oh wait, no it’s not! A conservative watchdog group published all state employees’ salaries last year, “to keep us accountable.”  There is no definitive answer on whether these ‘frozen years’ will be compensated for next year, or ever. I have a master’s degree that I am not being paid for. I teach in a state that is already ranked one of the lowest in teacher pay, where $128 million dollars was cut from the education budget last year.

The men responsible for this history-making cut were heartily re-elected last night (Governor and State Superintendent respectfully).

Idaho deserves to have good teachers. Not just the ones who couldn’t get a better paying job elsewhere (or *ahem* the ones who got stuck here because their now ex-boyfriend lived here and they’d already signed their contracts). But our state leaders are going to drive talented young people away from the field. At some point it just won’t be worth it anymore.

I went to bed before 9:00 last night when I realized I didn’t have to sit in front of the TV, growing frustrated and sad. I found a little solace here this morning, some blogs that helped me take a deep breath. Thank you  Second Class CitizensNexus, brotherpeacemaker Down and Out in Denver, Do Wacka Do and others.

I know I should be happy to have a job, and I am, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to feel like what I do matters. According to the votes of the parents of my students, it doesn’t.

Sorry. This was long, and political, and not funny. Just had to get it off my chest.

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~ by Lindsey on November 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “Blue Girl, Red State”

  1. I should get some of those stickers for my aunt and cousin in TX.

    I was too young to vote in 2004 (by a whole month – boo!) so my first election was the 2006 midterm. I live in a pretty safe blue state, even though we have a thing for Republican governors. Our state assembly and Congressional delegation – plus the rest of the state general officers – tend to be solidly Democratic.

    We elected an Independent governor this year. Our Democratic candidate had a meltdown (he was the guy who said Obama could take his endorsement and shove it, we’re all so ~proud~ of that moment). I don’t know what the new state assembly is going to look like, but my district flipped from D to R this go-round.

    Your superintendent story sounds absolutely nightmarish. We don’t elect the superintendent here, I think the position is chosen by the teachers’ union, but even ours got a lot of flack this year over the school that failed their NCLB assessment and was rejected from the first round of Race to the Top (they did win the second round, though). I’m worried that public education is going to be totally gutted with the new Congress critters whose campaigns were so gung-ho about dismantling the Department of Education on the federal level.

  2. […] there was no mention of any plan, grandiose or otherwise. I’ve mentioned how I feel about him before, but he really makes it difficult for me to feel proud of my profession. His proposal was divided […]

  3. Where can I purchase one of these?

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