November 01, 2002 1 min read

“F = Fantastic”

—The slogan on the back of T-shirts worn by teachers at a pep rally this fall at Mollie E. Ray Elementary School in Orlando, Florida. As they began to prepare students for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests, the educators aimed to put a positive spin on the failing grades the state has given the school for two years in a row.

“It works for the kids, and it keeps me sane.”

Mercy Ahlgren-Murray, a kindergarten teacher at Skycrest Elementary School in Citrus Heights, California, on why she spends $500 of her own money each year to purchase bins, tubs, and other organizational supplies for her classroom.

“We’re like the Titanic, and the iceberg is coming.”

Mayco Villafana, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, warning that rising health care premiums could force the district to take drastic measures such as eliminating teacher raises or cutting staff to balance the budget over the next year.

“There is a well-funded, extreme group of ultraconservatives led by millionaire ideologues who seek to do away with unions and, failing that, to bleed us dry.”

Herb Magidson, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, explaining why his union has established a $12.5 million political fund to help defeat state and national ballot initiatives that promote vouchers and other school privatization plans. A portion of a recent $1-per-month dues increase supports the fund.

“We sure wish you wouldn’t.”

Kathi Slaughter, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education, to Texas school district officials who recruit teachers from her state. Between 1998 and 2000, Texas schools lured 425 Iowa teachers to the state by offering higher salaries and signing bonuses.