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Build It and They Will Learn

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Last week the White House released their "American Jobs Act" proposal. Two ideas that caught my eye included preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, and modernizing at least 35,000 public schools by supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas. No matter what your political outlook is on life, these are two parts of the act that all Americans must agree our society needs to keep our country moving forward in this highly competitive world.

I heard on NPR this morning that there is now a 1 in 3 chance this country is heading back into recession. None of us can afford that. Whether you are working at a small business, a large business, a non-profit organization or for the government, we all need jobs to pay the rent. The Wall Street Journal recently said that "the global economic recovery has stalled." As is noted by ABC News today, President Obama says his initiative will help put to work the "more than 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now." What sensible American can argue with that? We need to stack the deck on immediate job creation to improve our odds of staying out of another recession.

I was pleased to see yesterday in The New York Times that the White House honored its pledge to speed up government payments to small business contractors, reducing the payment time from 30 days to 15 days. This small gesture in itself helps create jobs because it frees up cash. These are the little things government can do to keep this economy moving.

Saving teacher jobs and updating our schools, though, is not a little item on the agenda that can be fixed by an executive order. As The Huffington Post is reporting today, Tacoma, Wash. teachers are on strike despite a judge's order to return to work. These teachers have the guts to put it all on the line to stand up for what is right for our kids. I am sure teachers all over the country would join them if they thought they would not lose their job the next day.

But why, as a socially conscious society, are we forcing these dedicated teachers to abandon what they love in the classroom to protest what we all know is the right thing for our kids? This brave group in Tacoma represents our country's conscience. How can we let our school buildings fall apart, and how can we not guarantee our children a first-class education? Our representatives in Washington can help fix this embarrassing situation we are forcing on our kids, by talking instead of arguing. In business you negotiate and work things out to move your business forward. With all of these businesspeople and lawyers as part of our government, why can't they see this?

I wish we all had the courage of the Tacoma teachers. Every company, every community should be pushing our representatives in Washington to do the right thing. Fund teachers, fund school building, and this, in the short run, will help our economy get back on track.