So, loyal blog followers, you may have noticed — I do hope you noticed — my absence for almost the entire month of June. I must confess, the absence was not simply the typical, crazed, end-of-the-school-year madness all teachers experience. I succumbed to the negative energy of so many decisions that defy all common sense and logic that we professional educators value for not only our practice but also for our students — our kids.
Nothing made sense.
The sad truth is that I know you, my followers and/or my fellow colleagues, can totally relate.
The messages from our leaders in Public Education right now are loud and clear: we do not trust you and you are not valued.
Teacher: you are the expert, but you may not grade your own students’s exams.
Teacher: you are trusted by your students as you develop relationships based on respect and care, but, be ready, as you will administer pre-assessments in September on material students have never been introduced to before — in other words, you will lie.
Teacher: you are educated and are the professional, but you must simply accept the Common Core because our leaders and policymakers claim, “Because I said so!”
I am afraid nothing is going to make sense for a bit. I am worried about Public Education; thus, my optimism must be fueled by advocacy and solidarity. I believe in our youth; I believe in our profession.
As we can sometimes harbor a concern for our students regressing during the summer months, I fear we who are fighting for what is right with Public Education may lose some of our momentum as well.
We must keep reading and learning and watching and questioning: The Washington Post, The New York Times, @ The Chalk Face Knows Schools Matter, The Nation, City Newspaper [Rochester, NY], NYSUT.org, etc.
I implore you to consider writing to major and local media print outlets. We all have a story to share. Public Education touches all of our lives.
What has also helped me try to empathize with the human side of policy and policymakers is the realization that many right now in leadership positions may feel just as “stuck” as many of us in the classroom as policy and “reform” have been implemented so quickly and without much critical thought and examination. Many may be asking themselves about the consequences of speaking out.
As I reflect on this past school year and try to look forward with cautious optimism, I know one thing for sure: advocacy and solidarity are crucial to right-siding the paradigm we call Public Education. Please join us! We need your voice! We need each other!
The truth will find its way. We are on the right side of Public Education. We cannot give up on what we do.