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Kids and Teachers Deserve Better

Posted on Friday, May 17, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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19 Comments
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Teachers

I come from a family of teachers, and teachers know what others don’t. They also know Democrats have disserved them and treated them badly. We can all do better.

Nationally, and in places like Maine, an unholy alliance exists between unaccountable legislators, governors, and teachers’ unions. It has got to stop. Take one state example.

Maine’s educational system is in disarray, with enrollment falling, courses cut, teacher pay at the bottom, outcomes near worst in the nation, and highly paid unions in collusion with Democrat legislators less interested in kids and teachers than their union donations. None of that helps America – or Maine.

Brace yourself for 10 infuriating facts – for this state, then project them nationally.

Fact One: One-party Democrat rule kills and creates a monopoly. Maine’s Democrats have controlled the governorship and one legislative chamber since 2013. They have held all three – Governor, Senate, and House – since 2019, and had one-party control for 32 of 34 years. They own the bad outcomes. 

Fact Two: Under Democrat one-party control since 2019, Maine’s educational performance has plummeted. From 19th best in 2019, Maine is now 43rd and sinking. 

Fact Three: Maine’s public schools are ranked worst in the country by US News and World Report. They have never been ranked so low in the State’s history.

Fact Four: In parallel with plummeting outcomes, the primary tax for education is the property tax. Ironically, Maine’s property taxes are among the harshest per capita, 47th worst, and in 2023 changed more negatively than any state.

Fact Five: Maine’s income is 45th in the nation, so we bring home less – after taxes – than all but five states. Beyond tax policies running employers away and robbing kids of opportunities, Maine sports the worst inheritance tax (50th), the 49th worst marginal personal income tax, and the 42nd worst marginal corporate income tax. 

In short, Maine suffers a Democrat-driven “negative feedback loop” – low and declining educational performance in a state with high taxes, which chases employers out, pushes the young out, shrinks the tax base, elevates per capita burdens, and hurts education.

Fact Six:  Maine’s teachers are objectively dissed by Maine’s teachers’ unions, who contribute their money to Democrat candidates, who do nothing for teachers or kids, but keep the gravy train for themselves. Despite happy talk, the Democrat legislature and unions have left Maine teachers among the worst-paid in the nation.

A 2022 study found Maine’s teachers are rewarded eighth worst America. With a mother who was a teacher, started at $12,000 a year, worked to raise four kids, up at five a.m., grading papers to midnight, unions did her little good. 

Maine teachers are paid 14.3 percent less than private sector workers, despite their extra hours. Just ask yourself, wherever you live, to whom do we owe more than teachers?

Fact Seven: Incredibly, Maine’s Democrats took away a teacher’s right to Social Security along with their low pension. Only 12 states punish teachers that way, not contributing to Social Security, and so disallowing teachers from collecting Social Security, is another disgrace.

Think about it. Do these Democrats in the legislature care about teachers? They get their Social Security unless they were teachers. Patently inexcusable.

Fact Eight: Want a shock? Maine’s teacher’s unions help themselves before Maine kids or teachers – who need better pay, pensions, and support for educating Maine kids to keep them here.

A quick look at a recent teachers’ union tax return: Top nine Maine union staff make: (1) $276,683, (2) $239,251, (3) $220,471, (4) $236,925, (5) $219,185, (6) $203,825, (7) 199,042, (8) $193,902, (9) $181,148.

The average Maine teacher closest town to me does not make $40,000. For the money that union sucks down for eight staff, Maine could hire 50 new teachers, but no, “nothing to see here.”

Fact Nine:  While Maine teachers pay dues to support those salaries, it is worse. The unions – like their national affiliates, the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), are Democrat funding machines. Nationally, the NEA and AFT gave $43 million annually to Democrat causes, like “House Majority Political Action Committee, “fighting for a Democrat Majority in the House.”

The real irony? This twisted system gives money to the same state Democrat legislators who do not care about Maine’s kids or teachers, and just keep collecting money from the unions to win their political races. Show me a candidate who says “I will not take teachers’ unions money,” and I will show you an honest candidate.

So, what have we? A self-licking ice cream cone, another corrupt legislature – and Congress.  Maine’s teachers are badly served by Democrats, who take their money, make gobs, and do little.

An idea: If we believe in our kids, maybe it is time to flip those legislatures, restore the US House and Senate, and start working for kids and teachers, not making them put up with corruption.  Those who measurably hurt America – and Maine – should be booted. Kids and teachers deserve better.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Dot whitley
Dot whitley
1 month ago

If I was a teacher I would teach only what’s right in Gods eyes, or quit. Government is not in control if you don’t allow it, God always is. Work to open the eyes of the people where you live, so they can see why they should vote for republicans, and those who are the most conservative one’s.Then If things don’t change, move to another state where things are better for you and your family.

Patrick
Patrick
1 month ago

There is a lot of truth woven into this article. There’s rarely an easy answer or fix for any of the ills of a human run system let alone the broken educational systems across America. People are self-serving, self-absorbed, ignorant, and sinful. The one thing people need to wake up to is that teachers across this nation are at a tipping point. They are already over worked and underpaid for the many jobs they are required to do each day. Teachers will continue to walk out the school house doors and more prospective teachers will find alternative occupations or callings if things don’t change

Pat R
Pat R
1 month ago

I’ve not liked unions since a youngster when my carpenter dad couldn’t get a job within 35 miles if he didn’t belong to the union. So he had to join to get a job, back in mid-1950s.
Then after HS graduation, I got a job at the Pentagon as a secretary. Two years later the union came in. It was not mandatory to join and I didn’t. My question was always WHY was union needed in federal gov’t because we had good pay and benefits. Turned out the ones who advocated for the union were those who took numerous breaks, chatting in hallways with each other wasting time on taxpayers’ dime. When taking documents to another office I’d always see them hanging out in hallways (ostensibly on bathroom breaks). To me they were lazy and I found out it takes a lot of time and paperwork to try to fire someone. The solution — promote them to get them out of your office. But the problem only continued to the next office.
This was the making of a “swamp” of government workers who’ve been promoted to higher positions because it requires a lot of paperwork and time to eliminate/fire them. The union only made it harder and worse for the bosses but easier and financially beneficial for those employees. I quit federal service after 10 years and went to work for a credit union — loved it.

Ted
Ted
1 month ago

Here’s an idea, how about the teachers get together and vote the Union out. Union’s have become as useful as political democratic absurdities. Union’s of today are a pointless abstract absurdity no better than a leech stuck to your backside.

John
John
1 month ago

I’ve had family members who were teachers, including my wife, I always admired and respected them and their chosen profession; but have never understood the union hold on them. Teachers grossly outnumber the union bosses, but never seem to rise up to stop the largesse gravy train that union officers enjoy…while doing little in reality for their members. Some teachers say they prevent unfairness from school boards and principals, but they seem to protect incompetent or ineffective teachers from discipline more often. The unions have outlived their usefulness to the teachers, but not their stranglehold!

SusanW
SusanW
1 month ago

Thank you, Bobby, for sounding the alarm on what is happening to the educational system in Maine. Unfortunately, it’s not just Maine that is being affected, but most of our educational systems are being weakened by state governments, and even federally, across our great nation. Even in my state, which has always boasted about how great our schools are, are failing. Hundreds of teachers are being laid off, fine arts programs are not being funded any longer and resources for teachers nonexistent. We, the people, must stand up to all that is happening and vote in politicians that will save our schools and our children’s futures. If we don’t demand results, then we will be paying for it forever. Just remember, good teachers affect eternity!
”Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” Confucius

uncleferd
uncleferd
1 month ago

The areas addressed by this article show the all of the typical attributes of a “democrat”-controlled state government.
It truly underscores the fallacy surrounding the term “democrat”, in this instance, because there is absolutely nothing equitable about what the “Democrats” have done to the residents of this unmanaged state. Yet, the “Democrat” “managers” of this catastrophe have lost nothing and done well, despite their unbelievably irresponsible practices.
These “Democrats” are still in office because they lowered expectations by reducing the quality of Maine’s educational system AND their citizens.
When people will wise up about “Democrats” is a question I can’t answer,

Rebecca
Rebecca
1 month ago

I am a retired teacher. My question is maine a state where to have a job you must belong to a union? If so that’s where the people start. Get that off the books. Second I’d start grassroots to get social security back into the teachers lives. Third take on the local school board. These are not simple tasks but parents can accomplish anything. I found the article interesting, especially to know my state, Arizona, isn’t sitting in the last position. But here’s my question: you said 10 areas I see only 9. Did I miss one or did you?

Max
Max
1 month ago

RBC, sorry for how Maine’s One-Party system continues to ruin your state, up and down the line, Hopefully the Maine voting public will WAKE UP, SMELL THE ROSES and MAKE the NECESSARY CHANGES. Of course, this goes for the rest of the nation in their respective states. It is time to overcome the agenda of evil people and get back on the road for good.
It has been a while since I last visited Maine, LOVED the scenery, HATED the TOLL ROADS.
RBC, have a great weekend.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

The problem is not with the Dem union bosses or the politicians it lies with those that voted them into office. Maine voters must approve since they keep voting for them. The only answer is to move.

Jeri
Jeri
1 month ago

Retired teacher of 30+ years. Almost embarrassed to admit it. ALL teachers have been thrown in the same pile and condemned.

PapaGrouch
PapaGrouch
1 month ago

For starters, the Dept. of Ed. and teachers unions should be terminated. Immediately, decisively, shut off the money stream. Slay the dragon at its head. Things would calm down pretty quick and taxes would be a whole lot lower by not subsidizing this demonic trash. Screw their whining, their lawyers. How would such an executive order be any more radical than the crap the Biden administration has gotten away with since he stole office?

Ken Paul
Ken Paul
1 month ago

This rates a big HOWEVER… And that however is, most teachers in Maine (and nationally) vote democrat. Like many voters, they support a democrat party that does NOT have their best interests in mind. So, in the end, whose really at fault here it?!?!

Howard
Howard
1 month ago

Then why in the world do Mainers keep voting for the same old self-serving idiot politicians that are destroying the kids’ futures, not to mention keeping the good teachers at or near poverty level ??

Ray Doyle LFP, WA
Ray Doyle LFP, WA
1 month ago

Nno, students deserve better. the teachers are over paid, get too many benefits, work to short of hours, and are not education. yes they have college degrees but they are the simplest degrees to get.

Our students and taxpayers deserve much better then the terrible teachers, horrible administrations and corrupt curriculum of the public schools.

We need 100% school vouchers.

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