Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"I expect you to rise up as courageous people... and raise hell."

As I was perusing my Facebook feed this morning, I came across this blog post that Teri Lesesne shared:

A Time Comes When Silence is Betrayal by Michelle Newsum

What Newsum discusses in this blog post is how teachers have long been silent and absent in the political decision making. He quotes Jonathan Kozol from The Shame of the Nation at the end of his post:

“(This) is about the abolition of a national sin. So when people say, ‘What do you expect us to do?’ I say, ‘I expect you to rise up as courageous people have done before in America, and raise hell.’ I want to see our teachers develop a stronger political voice and find the courage to serve as witnesses to the injustices of which they are more keenly aware than anyone else... I do believe there will be another mass movement in this country, and I’d like to see it led by teachers.”

When I read a post like this I think about the fact that we're celebrating Banned Books Week this week and how teachers have long been encouraged to #SpeakLoudly against censorship (perhaps not within their own districts, but certainly nationally). That same attitude is not prevalent with education reform. Teachers are treated as a nuisance rather than an important part of the discussion, as recently evidenced by NBC's Education Nation panel that includes nary a teacher. Why are discussions about education always excluding the people who are doing the educating? Because the people leading the educational reform charge have corporate and financial interests to protect, certainly not the interests of the children. The people in the trenches, doing the hard work -- the TEACHERS -- have a message that just doesn't jive well with men in $1200 business suits looking to make a buck off our children's test scores.

But Newsum's blog post takes this idea a step further. She's telling teachers it's time to stop being silent. It's time to stand up for what you know is right. It's time to get in the game. It's time to use your outside voice.

"A time comes when silence is betrayal." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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