Damsel Arise (Mark 5:35-43): The Bashing of Teachers is an Attack on Women

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Talitha cumi, Damsel arise, was the rallying cry among nineteenth century feminists, the words were used to lead the campaign for educating women. It would be appropriate for use today to combat the attacks on teachers. In his State of the Union message President Obama avers “stop bashing teachers.” (see video clip here)

3.6 million elementary and secondary school teachers were engaged in classroom instruction in fall 2010, some 76 percent of public school teachers are female.

The attack on teachers, to use the president’s words, the “bashing of teachers,” is an attack on women who make up the vast majority of teachers.

In Wisconsin the governor and the republican members of the legislature strip teachers of collective bargaining rights, Indiana becomes a “right to work” state, again limiting the ability of teacher unions to organize and defend the rights of their members.

In New York City Mayor Bloomberg advocates hair brained schemes,

if I had the ability, which nobody does really, to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.

And, tells the NY Post’s editorial board

“From the union’s point of view, if we get $200 million less from the state, what do they give a shit?”

Governor Cuomo backs up the mayor by threatening to deprive school districts of 4% of their state funding if they don’t negotiate a principal-teacher evaluation plan based on student test scores, in reality to ease the path to firing teachers,

The popular governor will include language in the budget that ties receipt of 4 percent state aid increases promised to the districts in last year’s budget — some $800 million — to adoption of the teacher-evaluation system developed by the state Education Department, which has been blocked from city schools by a teachers-union lawsuit.

All the systems, including the New York City schools, will have until Dec. 31 of this year to adopt the teacher-evaluation systems or lose the money.

Rather than convincing teachers to roll over and accept the “bashings” the union has responded with a TV infomercial that bashes the mayor  entitled “The Mayor Doesn’t Get It.”

Perhaps the governor and mayor feel that because most teachers are women that they will not fight back, that teaching is not their profession, is not their choice of a life’s work, they are sorely mistaken.

The heart and core of the teaching profession is women, and, there is no shortage of both skilled and tough women union leaders, from Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers to Maria Niera, the vice president of the New York State United Teachers.

Women have fought the sexism of discrimination in the teaching profession for decades. From the fight to allow married women to teach, to the firings of pregnant women to discriminatory pay scales. Their union has lead these fights.

The current bosses, the mayor and the governor are no different than the bosses through the ages – they threaten and attempt to intimidate.

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth. In 1940 Woody wrote “Union Made.” a song that should be sung with gusto throughout the ranks of union members.

Union Maid

A Song by Woody Guthrie.

There once was a union maid
She never was afraid
Of goons and ginks and company finks
And the deputy sheriffs who made the raid
She went to the union hall
When a meeting it was called
And when the company boys came round
She always stood her ground

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union
I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union
Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union
I’m sticking to the union till the day I die

This union maid was wise
To the tricks of company spies
She couldn’t be fooled by a company stools
She’d always organize the guys
SheÍd always get her way
When she struck for higher pay
She’d show her card to the National Guard
And this is what she’d say

You girls who want to be free
Just take a tip from me
Get you a man who’s a union man
And join the Ladies Auxiliary
Married life ain’t hard
When you’ve got a union card
And a union man has a happy life
When he’s got a union wife

Updated verse from the 1980′s

You women who want to be free
Just take a little tip from me
Break out of that mold we’ve all been sold
You got a fighting history
The fight for women’s rights
With workers must unite
Like Mother Jones, bestir them bones
To the front of every fight

And listen to Woody sings an excerpt here…

 ► 0:51► 0:51

Union Maid Excerpt – Woody Guthrie – YouTube

Woody Guthrie Union   Maid Excerpt The Asch Recordings Vol. 3 (1944)   www. woodyguthrie.com.

One response to “Damsel Arise (Mark 5:35-43): The Bashing of Teachers is an Attack on Women

  1. The links are a great addition to your arguments. People need to see how poverty affects the daily life for most of us in the city. The policy implementing middle class needs more exposure to this information. Times are hard outside your condo and your parking garage. The urban poor are not lazy, they are hungry. Who do you think they will vent their anger on?


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