This week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and across America parent organizations and business organization joined together to honor teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and secretaries for their efforts in public education. While these were very positive and sincere celebrations, nationally there remains strong opposition to public schools.
When I go to the grocery store or to booster club fundraisers, people tell me how pleased they are with their elementary, middle, or high school, but school board meetings are filled with rancor, hate, and down right trash-talking. I’m so weary of listening to those who know teachers are grooming students. Grooming students to what end? To make them both creative and critical thinkers, to make them tolerant, kind human beings who can cooperate and collaborate with each other civilly? And when I confront this opposition, I ask: how do you know? How do you know your children are being groomed, reading porn, or learning about institutional racism? Unfortunately, not one of them has shown me proof–other than the proverbial answer, “I heard it.”
As a former professor of The History of American Education, public schools cyclically have been blamed for societal ills. For example, in 1956 when Sputnik soared into the heavens, it was the schools’ fault the Russians beat America. Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Education declared public schools were failing the US economy. Hmm. No one, no legislature, no executive leadership wants to solve the hard issues of socio-economic problems when it’s easier to blame the public schools. Don’t believe me? Look at the national agenda today. The schools are at the forefront. All of societal ills are blamed on reading books Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Harper Lee.
Teaching is the MOST important profession in the world! For without a teacher, there can be no scientist, no physician, no carpenter, no auto mechanic. Think about that! And take time to thank a teacher.