Friday, August 20, 2010

Where's the middle class hero?

It seemed for a little while that Congress was going to be the superheroes for public schools and laid-off teachers, but, alas, their interrupted vacations were for naught. Rather than spend the money now to rehire educators, most districts have decided to sit on the funds and prepare for the budget-cutting storms to come. Here's the New York Times story about the crushed hopes of laid-off teachers.

The face of the teacher in the photo echoes Dorothea Lange's brutal Great Depression photographs -- which is apt.

Whenever I read the comment threads about these stories, somebody inevitably says something to the tune of, "What makes teachers so special? They need to take the hit like so many others." Problem is, Sir (and it's always a sir), that we're not just talking about people's jobs; this is about children and our already over-strapped, struggling public school systems.

It makes sense in these dark times that so many people are turning to Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of Stieg Larsson's blockbuster fiction trilogy. Lower class, tiny, female, fragile, furious, doll-like, brilliant, anti-authority, anti-consumer, and vengeful, Salander is a great hero for our troubled times.

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