Reading about the struggle of local teachers to get even a fraction of what their service is worth to families in Boulder Valley, I think of my year (1978-79) on Kauai as a school librarian (a teacher-exchange).
In Hawaii the teachers’ union was and probably still is, a powerful force, even to the point of using part of one or more school days each month for their union meetings. In rural Kauai, of course, teachers were respected as “educated professionals”, close in prestigue to doctors, state representatives and senators, and local Buddhist priests. On “mainland” US, teachers have a lower “ranking” in society, lacking the respect, certainly the pay, that other workers, say plumbers, get. Sometimes a strike seems the only way to get the point across.
Also on my mind, another area of inequity: access to health
care. The health care received by those of us with “access”, is very
high, I believe. But the fact that not everyone has access is troubling. Again I can make a comparison with other places where I have spent time, The Netherlands and Japan. Staying with a family in Amersfoort for a short time following the birth of a son, I witnessed a home visit (free) from the pediatric nurse to see how things were going with mother and child, and to answer questions about breast-feeding or
any other matter. Apparently it was part of the health services to
which all citizens were entitled. In Japan the aged mother-in-law of
my hostess and friend had fallen and (it turned out) broken her hip; Yoko, her mother-in-law, and I were in the local medical office, with many others, waiting to be called in order of arrival, for the first
available doctor’s attention. I confess I do not know the payment
arrangements for this visit, but the facility and its care seemed to be available to all Japanese citizens.
We Americans often assume our “systems” are the best anywhere.