This year is not a very big year for elections nation wide. However, the results of our local elections hold a lot in the balance, most importantly, my job.
Our mail-in ballots contain only 5 items up for vote; the three open seats for our school board and two items for funding public education. The reason this election has such high stakes is because the outcome of public education in the Grand Valley could be drastically changed. Currently there are two people on the school board who have proved them selves to be for radical education reform and anti-teacher. In the few years since they have been elected they have sought council with those who promote public funding to be channeled into private education, considered Falcon 49 as an appropriate model for our school district, gone on the record saying that continuing education of teachers is a waste of time and teachers should not be paid more for their continued education efforts (some education is good, but too much is bad. . .??)and most recently flat out refusing to negotiate with the teacher union. Three open seats on the school board means the majority is up for grabs, and could be claimed with just ONE vote going the other way.
A friend asked me why vouchers for private schools and charter schools was "bad". In a nut shell: private and charter schools can pick and choose the students that attend their schools, public schools cannot deny anyone. What ends up happening is the students who cost the least to provide education services to go to charter or private schools and with them the state and federal money. The students who cost the most to educate- who need the most resources- are typically denied to charter and private schools and are left to attend public schools, but now there are much fewer funds to educate them. As a public education teacher I don't support public funds going to private entities.
Now this is where it gets messy. . .
Recently the US Government shut down- the issue was over raising the debt ceiling and holding out for "Obamacare". This particular event left me feeling very insecure about the strength of my country and raised my doubt that we could bounce back. The Affordable Health Care Act basically takes public funds to create affordable health care for all. However, I have great health care through my husband's work, the cost of which has gone up since the passing of "Obamacare", and will probably go up again. I will also see more of my income being withheld to fund the new health care law. Sure, I could opt out of my husband's benefit plan and purchase a public plan- which my taxes help create affordable options however, I happened to like my current plan. So, because I am choosing to stay with my husband's benefit plan I will in essence pay for public health care AND my own private plan. Wouldn't it be great if I could get a voucher - public funds - to help assist in the payment of my private plan?
So, let me get this straight - I am anti-voucher's in public education, but pro-voucher in health care?
Now it gets even more messy. . .
One of the greatest root causes to our current social situation - breakdown of families, health care crisis and such, is because the Church has failed in its most important job. We are supposed to be Jesus to the world - we are supposed to care for the widowed, the orphaned, the hungry, the needy, the homeless. Because the Church has slacked on it's job, the need to care for these has only risen, risen to a level where it has become necessary for the government to try and fill that need. So shouldn't I, as a Christian, be supportive of part of my taxes going towards welfare and health care? Isn't that what I have been called to do as a Christian? So, as a Christian I am happy to give to those in need, seeing it as part of what brings honor to God; but when it is mandated, garnished from my wages, I don't support it?
Public education, Government health care - the two hallmarks of a socialist government, can you support one and not the other, and then can you as part of your Christian beliefs and convictions not support funding that is filling the hole left by a church not fulfilling its responsibilities? Does being a public education teacher AND a Christian mean I support a Socialist government-I sure hope not. I think what is scary to me is not so much the term "socialism", but the thought of placing a man made government in such great power, that its people rely solely on the government to provide for them. Then what happens when an entire nation relies on it's government, and that government shuts down, crumbles. . . what happens to the people?
It may sound cliche' and overly churchy, but this is where I must place my heart, place my faith, place my trust: I am not a citizen on this world, I am a citizen of the kingdom of God. By setting my heart there, maybe, hopefully, I can find peace in the political storms of this world.