Using the Word “War” in Reference to America’s Teachers and Public Schools

By Nancy Bailey| Twitter: @NancyEBailey1 | Originally published on | 2017| Syndication made possible through Patreon.

By Nancy Bailey

How can it be, in a country such as ours, that teachers are depicted as enemies of children? Teaching is a helping profession–a calling. Yet, the use of the words “war” and “teachers” can be found in numerous books and writings. It has turned into a war on the children themselves!

Teacher/Blogger Nancy Flanagan recently wrote a great article called “The War on Teachers and the End of Public Education” about how the war on teachers threatens children and their free schools. She described corporate funded “Parent Unions” that ask incriminating questions that make teachers look like they are incompetent slackers!

The word “war” is often used to show teachers as an enemy. It never used to be this way. Teachers were once respected. And they are still respected today by many. Parents and teachers work best when they work together.

The war on teachers comes from corporations who want to privatize public schools.

To illustrate this, in America, there are now numerous books and articles, like Nancy’s, that defend teachers and their public schools. Unfortunately, there are articles that callfor a war on teachers!

For example, the blog recently posted an article titled “A War on Teachers: Let’s Hope So.” Here is what they say.

Are Trump and DeVos waging a war on teachers?

Given that such institutions have spent decades waging their own sort of hostilities against children, innovation, and choice, we should certainly hope that the new Education Secretary has some sort of pushback in mind to give kids a better chance at a real education.

Examine this closer. Look at, “Given that such institutions have spent decades waging their own sort of hostilities against children…”

Public schools and teachers have never waged hostilities against children! That’s absurd! But when an individual who knows little about the problems facing teachers reads this rubbish it could negatively impact how they regard teachers.

Why did a country like ours declare war on its teachers? The answer involves a long history and effort to privatize public education.

The blog post goes on promoting innovation and choice. How can teachers be seen as innovative when they no longer have control of their classrooms? If anything, teachers are manipulated by harmful policies and top-down directives more than ever before!

Attacks on teachers and public education currently appear through charters, vouchers and replacing teachers with digital devices.

Betsy DeVos leads the war on teachers. Nancy Flannagan appropriately, I think, describes her as a “Field General.” And it’s true that we are fast approaching a time when there will be no more public schools or teachers. It is hard to imagine.

The war on public schools and teachers has been going on for years. We are a country which has turned against itself when it comes to the education of our children.

Here’s a list of some of the writings that reference war and schools and teachers. Some are supportive like Nancy’s. The online program The War Report on Public Education hosted by Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. is also a good program to keep informed on the issues surrounding schools.

It is both sad and ominous that war and teacher are used so often in the same sentence.

We have to somehow find our way back to improving our democratic public schools and restoring dignity to the teaching profession.


Blog Posts and Articles Using the Word War and Teachers

  • “The War on Teachers and the End of Public Education” by Nancy Flanagan, Teacher in a Strange Land, Education Week. June 16,2017.
  • “School Wars Not Over After Ceasefire in Van Wert.” Wermund, Benjamin. Politico. April 21, 2017
  • “Are Trump and DeVos Waging a War on Teachers?” by Kami Spicklemire and Stephenie Johnson. Center for American Progress. June 5, 2017.
  • “Ending the Great School Wars.” by James S. Liebman. Education Week. 
  • “We Must Despise Our Kids: Our Ugly War On Teachers Must End Now” by David Dayen. Salon. Oct. 6, 2015.
  • “A War on Teachers: Let’s Hope So.” June 13, 2017.
  • The Dismal Toll of the War on Teachers – Newsweek, Oct, 5, 2016
  • “The War On Teachers: Why the Public is Watching it Happen” by Mark Naison, in Valerie Strauss’s The Answer Sheet. The Washington Post March 12, 2012
  • “War on Teachers: Billionaires Target Their Pensions as Website Highlights Low Pay.” By Ed Schultz, RT News.
  • “Has the Fairfax County School Board just Declared War on Teachers?” by Carol Binkley in Valerie Strauss’s The Answer Sheet. The Washington Post. May 2, 2017.

Books about the War on Teachers and Public Schools

  • The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools by Diane Ravitch.
  • Marketing Fear in America’s Public Schools: The Real War on Literacy by Leslie Poynor and Paul a. Wolf.
  • What You Should Know About The War Against America’s Public Schools: Privatizing Schools, Commercializing Education by Gerald W. Bracey.
  • Testing Wars in Public Schools by William J. Reese.
  • The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein
  • Online BBS Radio Program
  • The War Report on Public Education hosted by Dr. James Miller Jr.

Related: Garn Press Education Books

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