Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press, October 22, 2011
In an earlier version of this comic one of the shouts coming out of the capitol building in panel one was: “Your job is to shut up and take standardized tests!” I liked it because it seemed to distill the basic attitude of Republican legislators toward students. (And to be equally unfair, if it were a Democrat legislator it would have been: “Your job is to shut up!” That’s it. Because the Democrats never seem to be organized enough to have an agenda.)
In any case, it was too wordy, so I likely would have dropped it anyway. But for a while I tried to couple it with what the Republican legislators thought their job is. In other words, “Our job is to <something>, your job is to shut up and take standardized tests!” But for the life of me I couldn’t come up with what that <something> was. I mean, if you are so philosophically against the government having any sort of role in improving the lives of its citizens that you can’t pass anti-bullying legislation, what exactly do you think your job as a government official is?
Fortunately, my school district, Grandville, and several others in West Michigan have been proactive in establishing mental health awareness programs, and the results have been nothing but positive. Grandville has been blessed to have Christy Buck (that’s her in panel two) and the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan behind these efforts. A recent article in the Grand Rapids Press summarizes this nicely: Classroom lessons in mental health could save young lives.
Students in other Michigan school districts should be equally as blessed. What do you say GOP legislators? Are you ready to step up?