Teachers Making Money

By Elizabeth Rich — September 26, 2008 1 min read
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No one knows what the future of the economy holds—government bailout notwithstanding, times are tough. In New York, Reuters reports, Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said on Thursday, “We know the economic situation has to be solved. But we want a responsible rescue, not an opportunistic bailout and that means, just like every single boss says to me, that there should be accountability for teachers, then there should be accountability for Wall Street.” According to Reuters, the UFT was one of many unions protesting the government’s proposed bailout on Wall Street this week—steps from the New York Stock Exchange.

As the week comes to a close and the presidential debates are on, will happy days be here again? Hard to know, but we have been through this territory more than once in the last couple of centuries. One of America’s worst financial periods began in 1893 when the market collapsed, banks closed their doors, businesses failed, and railroads went into receivership.

What else happened that year? In Louisville, Kentucky, sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, both teachers, composed a song, “Good Morning to All,” to welcome their students to class. Forty years later that song was copyrighted by a third sister, Jessica, so that the Mill women could profit from it. She changed the lyrics and published it in 1935 as “Happy Birthday”—you know, that song you hear on your birthday. It now generates close to $2 million a year.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.