Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I've been slimed


Every day I am asked what the secret is to ensuring every child in New Jersey graduates from high school ready for college and career, and I always have one simple response – outstanding teachers.

I do not  doubt that you have "one simple response"--I do doubt your sincerity.

At a small meeting last spring among a few other teachers, and the Governor himself, you said that teachers were the most important factor affecting student success.

I said, perhaps a bit too pointedly (politeness is not my strong suit), that teachers are the most important factor in the building, but that poverty weighs more heavily than teachers do.

The Governor jumped in and said that you said "in the building." I did not hear that.

And here you go again.
I began my career as a high school history teacher, and I can honestly say that I never worked harder or felt more rewarded than I did during those four years.

Why did you leave, Mr. Cerf?

We as a state should make sure that we celebrate outstanding educators every day for their work with our children and for developing the next generation of leaders.
Providence knows we need them. Our current leaders need a few lessons in civility, in history, in analysis, and most of all in love.

But I don't just teach "the next generation of leaders," Mr. Cerf, I teach children. I teach the next generation of plumbers, of soldiers, of clerks, of attorneys. I teach the next generation of doctors and line workers, of ball players and police officers. I even teach a few destined for incarceration, for cruel endings despite living in a land blessed with fertile soil and decent water.

But mostly I teach the next generation of Americans, and perhaps the last generation of Americans, who have reasons to dream of a lofty experiment in government that trusted people, because it was once made of the people.

It is ridiculous, of course, to expect leaders to agree with everything I believe. It is not ridiculous, though, to expect a man like Mr. Cerf to serve openly and honestly, to work for the best interests of all children, not just those he cares to mold for his corporatocracy.

I teach in a public school, Mr. Cerf.
Do you even  know what "public" means anymore?







And Mr. Cerf does add the "in-school" clause later. He knows it's true.
Cerf photo from here.

2 comments:

Malcolm said...

i hate politics and politicians who politik.
I am also anti union in its current state...but...politics is a science....observe...learn...teach.

This Brazen Teacher said...

I always think of that fable about the frog and the scorpion.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

"Why did you sting me... now we'll both drown!' said the frog.

Heck, why do politicians sting? Why do they spout half truths when it does a direct personal disservice to propagate misinformation in a day and age when we are all as equally connected as the frog and the scorpion?

I guess the scorpion's answer has given me "peace" on why politicians do what they do:

"I'm sorry, it's in my nature"