Editor: I think if you’ve taught for long enough, you have heard people say that our public schools are a reflection of our society. I’ve never really thought about it that way though. Schools are full of hope and potential, where people work together for a common goal that has a common good, where our society comes together to listen and learn from each other.
No reflection, the worst parts of our society are also in school with us. Oppression does not end at the doors of my classroom. It is ever present in every decision I make. I want to ensure I’m fighting that evil but I fall short often. And like America, I sway from one end to the next in moments all the time.
I am starting to realize that the health of our public schools determines how big our dreams are for our students. As our country becomes more diverse in every way, I can see how the people who control our government structures trust the people less and less.
I work in a school system that has been starved of resources, demonized, and terrorized for decades. The health of our public schools is not good. I see suffering when I look at my students, my colleagues, school and district administrators. The only option that so many of us have chosen is to continue the struggle.
All of this has made public education extremely political. So when someone in conservative news talks about the “liberalization” of our schools, I agree to an extent. However, most people working in education vote with the people, largely, who promise to conserve the funding of our public schools.
I wonder what this country looks like when we fund our schools and invest in the potential of our kids. I wonder what happens when we provide kids with the education they deserve.
— Troy Valentine, via [email protected]