Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Just getting this off my chest

We are not defeated.

When I was young I was an awful student. I would have told you that no one cares about education or educators. That days like today don't matter, and that life will go on in schools regardless of what our elected officials have decided is best for us. And while in the intervening years I have thanked God that I was given the opportunities public school provides, it has never been politicians, presidents, or education secretaries that enriched my formative educational experience. That doesn’t change today.
And now...I still kind of think the same thing. This day doesn’t matter. Of course it is an incredible setback for students--the glaring reality that the leaders of their country don’t care about the quality of their education, their status as a disabled individual, or their right to a free and appropriate education regardless of where they live or the amount of money in their bank account. It’s really just another setback in a series of setbacks for a field and a part of our culture that our government has never done right by. Why does this change today?
This day doesn’t matter because none of the decision makers have ever truly cared about doing the right thing by students or the dedicated individuals that run our schools. It has always been teachers -- since the beginning of educated time it has always been teachers who have made schools great. The ones that show up when it’s dark and head home as the sun sets. Those that stay up until midnight planning the next day’s lesson because they have 30 kids they love coming in tomorrow and they know failure isn’t an option for a single one of them. Those that deplete their own bank accounts so the kids walking through their classroom door can have authentic, amazing learning experiences that prepare them for whatever they decide comes next.
If you have invested your sense of value in the public service of education to what your government has promised you, they failed you decades ago. Betsy DeVos does not ruin public education. Betsy DeVos affirms that our government doesn’t care about your kids, your students, or the quality of education in general. You want to cry and moan and complain about how the government doesn’t care about us because of some politician telling us what to do -- educators gave up on that trope years ago.
This day doesn’t matter because this day is like every other day to a teacher -- you are going to show up to work to do a job that is impossible, to follow the rules made by people that don’t care about or understand what you do, and you are going to absolutely do whatever it takes to make the lives of your students better regardless.
You want to complain about the hypocrisy of our government, how our elected officials are bought and paid for, about how a demagogue is turning the people of this country against each other more day by day. Go ahead. You are not wrong about those things. But if you think for a second public schools fail because of Betsy DeVos? Rest your pretty little head--teachers aren’t going to allow that to happen. Kids are still gonna need us tomorrow. And we are going to show up and do it like we've always done.

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