What Sequestration Means For Our Children

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.

We keep hearing all of this noble talk about sequestration and how it’s going to save our children from the burden of the debt we’ve accrued through the foolish policies of the past, but let’s look at the reality of it shall we? These people are not concerned about our children’s futures and I’m going to prove it to you.

The GOP has already cut nearly a quarter of a million teaching jobs in their “budget cutting” efforts and I’ve seen estimates that another 25,000 will go with these cuts. We already had classes of 35-40 with many schools having to close their doors completely. Is this really in the best interest of our children? All of this while the GOP is losing its mind trying to exempt our bloated defense budget from any cuts–which is really where we need to cut some fat–and will put even more of the budget cutting on our children’s futures.

These cuts will make it impossible for schools to continue to provide the services essential to disabled children as well as healthy children. Do you really think a child who is already struggling every day to learn from a wheelchair will be served by losing the aide who makes it possible for them to go to school? Let’s think about Stephen Hawking for a moment. Do we have another Stephen Hawking who won’t be what he could be because we won’t pay for an aide to make it possible for him to realize his full potential? Some child out there could hold the cure for cancer in his little mind if he can reach his full potential.

Let me state clearly and emphatically that education cuts are the surest way to turn our children back into the uneducated slave class with no hope or future they essentially were before FDR and free public education. I’m going to tell you a true story that will bring the effects of these kinds of cuts home to everyone because I want everyone to think about the life these “noble” men are condemning our children to with their blustering and lies.

I spent a lot of time listening to my grandmother and her life stories. It was precious time that taught me more about what’s important than a doctorate could have. If you’re a young person reading this I suggest you spend as much time as possible talking to the oldest people you can find because they remember a time that can never be brought out in a history book.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who unfortunately was born into a poor family long before FDR. She finished three years of school in two years but had to drop out because her family couldn’t afford her books.

She started her first job at the age of twelve cooking and keeping house for a family of five as well as caring for the wife/mother who was bedridden with a broken hip. This is what she did as a pre-teen instead of going to school and she loved school. It broke her heart to have to leave and she spent the rest of her life learning everything she could on her own.

She did this kind of backbreaking work without complaint…after all that was all a child born into a poor family could expect when education was only for the rich. Then she married a man from her church. He later decided he wanted a new life leaving her out in the world with a third grade education, pregnant with 3 small children trying to survive through the Great Depression

The only work for an uneducated woman during the Great Depression was cooking and cleaning. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult that was for a woman alone with three small children and another one on the way. She told me one time that her children had to be really good because she had to take them to work with her or she couldn’t feed them.

Her baby was born blind and died from pneumonia at the age of six months because even if she could have gotten a doctor there was no penicillin yet and pneumonia was a death sentence. I’m sure the fact that there were times she had to stay in barns with her children to get them in out of the weather played a role in that. At her baby’s funeral she and her oldest daughter, who was only six years old, had diphtheria and were dragging a little boy and another little girl (my mother) along with them.

For her the “good times” were when things got better under FDR and she could actually work in a restaurant. She worked twelve hour days, seven days a week cooking in restaurants the rest of her adult life. This woman had such a great mind that, even though she only had the equivalent of a third grade education, a high school graduate couldn’t beat her at Scrabble.

Her second husband, a good man who was very intelligent but also came from a poor family, couldn’t read and write and had to sign his name with an X. He knew enough “ciphering” to keep people from cheating him on his pay but reading and writing wasn’t considered a necessity for poor people. The proudest day of his life was when she had taught him how to read and write well enough he could actually sign his name instead of that X. All of this was accomplished while she worked those twelve hour days seven days a week and he was working two jobs–one for the railroad and one as a logger.

She loved children, so can you imagine what a wonderful teacher she would have made? Yet she was confined to a kitchen working like a slave for pennies. We all lost by that…not just her but every child she could have taught that would have made this country better and stronger.
Is that the kind of future we want to condemn our children to so we can play voodoo economics subsidizing millionaires, the oil industry and other multi-billion-dollar, multi-national corporations? Or while we give continued increases to a military that is already bigger than the other top seventeen militaries in the world combined and says openly they don’t need more money?

I’m telling you they don’t care about the budget. They want a new permanent slave class and they want our children to be that class. My grandmother’s story was the norm for most people born poor before free public education.

The “sequestration” isn’t some new idea to save us from debt. It goes all the way back to Gramm-Rudman and 1985. Yes, it was Phil Gramm, the guy from Texas who also co-authored and pushed the banking deregulation that crashed the world economy. It never worked for deficit reduction and is just a club to make sure our most vulnerable pay the price for their foolish leadership blowing money like drunken sailors on everything that doesn’t matter. We can’t allow them to make our children the scapegoats for their folly.

Author: Cheryl Creech

What say you, the people?