(Editor’s Note: The following Letters to the Editors refers to Jessica Willingham’s Oct. 14 article Effects of agricultural regulations up in the air and Meredith Simons’ Oct. 14 commentary Fmr. TFA corps member: ‘I thought I would teach forever,’ respectively. NonDoc runs Letters to the Editors up to about 250 words and reserves the right to edit lightly for style and grammar. To submit a letter for publication, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
It seems that the supporters of State Question 777 who were quoted in your recent story haven’t actually read the proposed amendment. The fact is that the only thing SQ 777 does is remove Oklahoma voices from determining what our farm policies are.
Known as Right to Farm, SQ 777 should really be called Right to Harm. This dangerous amendment would ban Oklahoma lawmakers from setting farm policy for our state. Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are not covered by SQ 777. In other words, passage of SQ 777 will mean that the feds at agencies like the EPA are the only ones who will be allowed to set rules that regulate our farms.
If you care about Oklahoma voices having a say in farm policy, vote no on SQ 777. The devil is in the details.
I enjoyed the article “Fmr. TFA corps member: ‘I thought I would teach forever.’” Thanks to Meredith Simons for sharing what teaching is like on a day-to-day basis. While Meredith’s story is compelling, it is not particularly unique. Her story could have as easily been told by a female teacher from the 19th Century.
Women replaced men in the American classrooms in the 1800s during the common schools movement because women were considered a cheap option for reluctant taxpayers. This low pay combined with sexism toward women and the reality that most women only taught temporarily (often as a mission or calling) established the profession that we have today. Like Meredith, many ambitious women like Susan B. Anthony and Belva Lockwood left the classroom because of sexism, glass ceilings, and lack of prestige in the work.
Unfortunately, programs like Teach for America — despite its mostly good intentions as a program and the almost-always great intentions of its participants — also contribute to the deprofessionalization of teaching. When teaching is set up as a temporary job that anyone can try out, it furthers the notion that teaching does not need a skilled workforce with competitive wages, protected working conditions, and professional prestige. If we want to improve our schools and support teachers, then we must value teaching as a job for skilled professionals (which it does), not a temporary mission.
Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas