The Lives of Children

They say they need to cut the budget
In this wealthiest of nations
Plenty of money for other things
But not for education
The rich keep getting richer
While they’re shutting down the schools
Raiding teachers’ pension funds
Taking us for fools

Taking us for fools
But there’s only so far that can go
‘Cause if you keep on pushing people
They’ll eventually push back you know
If you keep pushing people
Each day of the week
You can’t expect them always
To just turn the other cheek

So we will strike against the closures
Strike for a brighter day
Strike for the lives of children
Strike for the right to say

That we stand with the students
Regardless of the lies
Yes we deserve good wages
And yes, it’s about class size
But this is about the lives of children
Teaching to the test
It’s about bureaucrats and teachers
Which one of them know best

So we will strike for smaller classes…

Most parents stand here with us
Though you might not see them on TV
It’s the rich who own those stations
That’s rudimentary
It’s the rich who want to privatize
They don’t want to share the tent
They don’t want you to know
The teachers are the 99%

Strike for public education…

“The Lives of Children” only exists online as a video broadside, and has never been an an online album or CD.

I wrote this song when teachers in Portland, Oregon were considering going on strike.  Detractors of the teachers and their union like to say that the teachers only care about wages, and not being fired for incompetence.  Reality, however, is a whole different thing.  Of course they don’t want to get fired, and of course they want higher wages — who wouldn’t?  But they are, as a whole, at least as concerned with all kinds of other things — class size, access to resources, etc.  In short, they are concerned with the education of the children that they are being (under-) paid to educate.