A lot of the problems of society end up in teachers' laps. Single mothers, uncaring families, troubled kids, they all cause problems in society, causing laws and policies to be passed that create more problems for teachers who are trying to teach kids the A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s. I sympathize with these men and women, especially those who are handed truculent, apathetic and often damaged and dangerous kids at the junior and senior high level. It's nearly impossible to teach these kids who, if they come to class, thrive on causing distractions and discipline problems for the teacher. On top of this, every new governor or president has something new they want teachers to teach, usually in the realm of social engineering rather than providing basic, useful knowledge. My wife is a teacher and I teach religious education to 7th graders once a week.
That being said, I do not believe teachers, as employees, should be treated on any level higher than the parents whose children they teach. Due to their powerful unions and weak politicians who cave to their demands at contract time, public school teachers have benefit packages to be envied. They are constantly given pay raises by districts that don't have the money, who then blame the state for not adequately funding them. In Wisconsin, which is dealing with a budget deficit similar to Minnesota's, the governor is making an effort to break the back, or at least kick the backside, of that state's teachers' union, and they don't like it. He wants teachers to pay a fraction into their own pension packages, and wants to increase the portion the teachers pay for their health insurance package. The massive protests by the teachers (many of whom called in sick from work and are being paid to chant and wave their signs) have brought to light their plush benefit packages which the state wants to move from a Bentley to merely a Cadillac, and the union has made sure their members raise a ruckus. I am not an enemy of unions...my father was a member of the Northwest Airlines machinists union for 35 years and was able to raise a family of 6 with a single salary because of it. He also went on strike several times. But the situation in Wisconsin is an embarrasment, and the constituents of every lawmaker who fled the state rather than show some spine and vote for or against the package should vote them out of office.