Forget Education Saviors – They Aren’t Coming

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I feel so left out.

I get the emails just like you:



Run Warren Run!

Run Sanders Run!



Are You Ready for Hillary?

But I just can’t get excited about any of them as potential presidential candidates in 2016.

Sure I like Elizabeth Warren’s stance to hold Wall Street accountable. I like Bernie Sanders‘ New Deal rhetoric. I even like Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming confidence and competence.

But none of them pass the most important test.

None of them are really committed to supporting our public school system.

For education advocates like me, it’s a case of being once bitten, twice shy.

One of President Obama’s campaign promises was that he would reform our education system. And he did! If by “Reform” you mean “make things much worse!”

I remember watching him at a 2008 rally in my hometown as he spoke about standardized testing overload and how we needed to support teachers. He promised to improve No Child Left Behind, hold charter schools accountable, provide better resources for struggling schools instead of punishing them, etc.

I was so overwhelmed that a politician actually cared about the same things I did, as he was leaving the arena I reached over the barrier and shook his hand. (Personal Note: he moisturizes.)



I hung signs, I passed out “Hope” buttons, I took to the phones – things I had never before done for a political candidate. And the results are less than overwhelming.

Sure he’s done some good things. Obamacare’s not bad. It’s a good first step toward universal single-payer healthcare. Yes, it’s nice we finally got Osama bin Laden, federal stimulus, drawing down troops on foreign soil – it’s all a step up from his predecessor.

But when it comes to education, Obama is actually worse than George W. Bush.

It’s so liberating to say that out loud. Liberating and scary.

Standardized testing, national curriculum, privatization – all of these have become worse under Obama. While he and his laughably unqualified Education Secretary Arne Duncan still pay lip service sometimes to the problem of toxic testing, they make no move to reduce it. They just increase their support year-after-year.

Whenever you say this to a hardcore Democrat, they usually respond that it’s not his fault. He was blocked from initiating the policies he wanted by a Republican Congress, they say. And this is true on some issues, but education isn’t one of them. He’s chief executive. He controls the US Department of Education and thus national policy.

Race to the Top and all its failures belong squarely at his feet. It will be interesting to see him try to distance himself from these policies in his retirement years attempting to preserve a legacy as a liberal lion. Nice growl. Toothless bite.

So I hope I may be forgiven for looking toward the horizon. Is there anyone on the political scene who promises to change this situation in 2016?

The short answer: no.

There are Republican legislators who oppose Common Core, but their criticism often comes down to – Ooooh! Yuck! A black man touched it!



I fear that if a member of the GOP somehow gains our highest office, Common Core will suddenly be rebranded as something Saint Reagan thought of – or perhaps something Jesus told W. to bring to the people along with endless war and tax cuts for the rich.

Those few conservatives who actually do have a reasoned argument against Common Core lose me when they talk about what should replace it. Because it’s usually school choice.

I guess it makes sense. They hate any kind of national curriculum or standards but have no problem with leaving it all in the hands of big business privatizers. They take it too far like someone whose boots are too tight so he spends the rest of his life barefoot in all weather.

So I turn back to my Democrats – the party of my father. And I’ll admit it proudly – I’m a lifelong, FDR-loving, donkey riding, social policy supporting Dem. But when I look around at the current crop of democratic presidential hopefuls, there’s not much support for education.

Take Hillary Clinton – the clear frontrunner for the party nomination.

This is not her first rodeo. Her positions are no mystery. All you have to do is a little bit of research to see what she’s championed in her long career in public service.

And she’s been on the right side from time-to-time.

She’s pushed for universal pre-kindergarten, arts education, after-school tutoring, smaller class sizes and the rights of families.

As a college student in the 1960s, she even volunteered to teach reading to children in poor Boston neighborhoods. She fought to ensure voting access for African Americans and even worked at an alternative newspaper in the black community.

However, at core she’s a true political animal. Whatever her real feelings on the issues, she never lets that get in the way of an expedient compromise.

Sometimes that’s a good thing – but when it comes to education, that usually means someone’s losing big – and that someone’s usually a child.

For example, she opposes religious instruction in public schools – but sees no problem with school-led prayers.

She is against merit pay for individual teachers but champions it for entire schools.

She opposes using taxes to fund students attending private or parochial schools but thinks parents should be able to choose among public schools.

And she is a strong advocate for charter schools as a solution to the media-driven fallacy of “failing” public schools.

But perhaps worst of all is her support for Common Core. Both she and her husband backed national standards before they were even called Common Core.

One of President Bill Clinton’s central education policies (to which Hillary gave her full support) was a push for national voluntary education standards – something that Republicans in Congress vehemently opposed and squashed. Then George W. Bush became president and the Republicans suddenly loved the idea until Obama championed it, too.

As much as I admire Hillary Clinton, the person, I cannot trust Hillary Clinton, the politician. Even if she changed her stated views on all education issues and received the full support of the NEA and AFT, I could never trust that if the winds changed she wouldn’t change her positions right back.

That takes us to Elizabeth Warren – Clinton’s main challenger for the nomination.

Warren hasn’t announced that she’s running. In fact, she’s denied it many times. However, my buddies on the left are completely enamored of her.

Moveon.org is trying to generate support on the Left for Warren to challenge Clinton. And they have good reasons. There’s plenty to like about her.

She was an early advocate for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She’s opposed big banks being labeled “too big to fail” and pushed to hold Wall Street accountable for the risky business practices that crashed our economy. She’s in favor of increasing the minimum wage and fighting against income inequality.

But for all that, she’s strangely quiet on education policy.

The only major education legislation she’s supported in her time in the Senate is reducing loan rates for college students.

Strange for someone who actually worked as a teacher!

For a year she taught children with disabilities in a public elementary school in New Jersey. Though she had originally aspired to be a teacher, she didn’t finish her degree. She used an emergency certification. Then she moved on to law school.

With a personal story like that, it’s not surprising the NEA supported her successful run for John Kerry’s Senate seat.

So what’s the problem?

She wrote a book – not a minor article, not an off-the-cuff remark – an entire book championing school choice.

It’s called The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke. In it, she makes a case for a universal school voucher program. She strongly supported giving parents taxpayer-funded vouchers they could use at any school – public, private or parochial. This would “relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves to escape those schools.”

Not exactly the kind of policy you’d expect from a far left liberal – but she was a Republican then. As soon as she changed parties, her support for school choice was stashed in the closet.

When asked about it, she said she was misunderstood. Like Clinton, she said she never intended taxpayer money to go to private or parochial schools – only that parents could chose an adjacent public school for their children if they wished.

It’s a huge stain on an otherwise nearly blank book. Like Obama, she can rhapsodize on the importance of public schools as much as she wants at her stump speeches. I’d like to see her support some real education policies before backing her horse for president.

Could she convince me? Maybe. If I’m honest, I want to be convinced. But I need more than words. I need deeds.

Which brings me to the last populist champion for the Democratic Presidential nomination – Bernie Sanders.

The Vermont Senator is technically an Independent but he caucuses with the Democrats. In fact, unlike most on the left who cringe at the label “Socialist,” Sanders actually uses it to describe himself as a Democratic Socialist.

He’s been a leader calling for breaking up media monopolies, and a staunch supporter of universal healthcare. He was against the bank bailout and a warrior against income inequality.

Though education policy has never been his forte, his voting record is mostly positive. He voted to increase federal funding for public schools, in favor of grants to Black and Hispanic colleges, in favor of reducing class size in the early grades, against school prayer, and against school choice. In fact, he is one of the most aggressive enemies of school vouchers in Congress.

Most recently, when President Obama suggested making two years of community college free for everyone, Sanders championed going even further– free tuition at any public college or university!

It’s a pretty impressive record. However, it’s not perfect.

In 1998, he voted to expand funding for charter schools. Considering that his home state of Vermont had zero charters at one point – yes, zero – it’s unclear how knowledgeable he was on the issue. It certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of thing he’d be for now. That was 17 years ago. Has he learned more in the meantime? Is he now for or against charters? It’s unclear.

Even more damning, in May 2001, he voted for No Child Left Behind requiring states to conduct annual standardized testing. That’s hardly an unforgivable sin. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in Congress fully against testing – especially back in 2001.

But that wasn’t his only misstep. Sanders also showed brief support for Common Core. As recently as 2011, he explicitly supported legislation to expand it in Vermont. However, lately he has refused to give an opinion either for or against it.

Could he be souring on corporate education reform? The most tantalizing answer lies in legislation he helped author in 2013.

In a bid to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, he developed legislation that would have allowed states to demonstrate student learning through innovative projects instead of standardized testing. The bill fizzled, however, with lack of Congressional will.

Is Sanders evolving away from the testocracy of Bush and Obama or is he just playing it close to the vest? I would like to know more. Sanders would need to do some work to convince me he is on the side of public schools, but he might be able to do it. If that’s what he really wanted.

Of the three candidates examined here, he is most likely to become a true education advocate. But he is also least likely to receive the party’s nomination or to win a general election.

So where does that leave us? Who can I support as a possible education savior in 2016?

The answer again: no one.

We have to face it, people. No one is coming to save us and our children. There never will be. Politicians aren’t made of that kind of self-sacrificing stuff. Not Democrats, Republicans or Independents.

Those of us who cherish public education will have to push 2016 hopefuls to move as far our way as possible. But when it comes to the actual election, we may have to face the distinct possibility that there will be no one in whom we can safely vote.

We may have to run our own independent candidate – someone with no chance of winning, but who might continue to push the mainstream candidates toward education. Because no matter who wins, chances are he or she won’t be as friendly toward public schools as they are toward the lobbying dollars of the privatizers and standardization movement.

We can’t elect our way to sound education policy. It will take a massive popular movement of parents, teachers, students and people of conscience. Demands will be made. Protests will be staged. Revolutions may be waged.

Because the only education savior we can count on is us.


This article also was published in the LA Progressive and the Badass Teachers Association blog.

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Montel Williams is a True Public Schools Advocate

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Montel Williams did something truly amazing yesterday.

When he heard the Newark Student Union was having difficulty getting food during their sit-in at Cami Anderson’s office, he volunteered to personally send them something to eat!

He tweeted, “Could any reporter currently covering #OccupyNPS @NewarkStudents kindly tell the district spokesperson I intend to send these kids food ;)”

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That takes guts. He wasn’t just offering his opinion. He was threatening to get involved.

It’s that kind of integrity that’s behind his #StandUpForPublicSchools campaign. Here we have a national celebrity, known as a groundbreaking talk show host who could just sit back and enjoy life. But instead he uses his notoriety to help public school teachers!

That might not sound like much to some, but our public schools are under attack. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the public eye to say something nice about our school system. Our national debate about education is curiously absent teachers. Yet here comes Montel who not only praises our work but starts a campaign to advocate for us and our students! Heck! Another one of his hashtags is #LetTeachersTeach!

Finally we have a prominent figure with the courage to take the public stage and not call for more school closures. He calls for support!

Last night he even went on Fox Business to talk with former MTV VJ Kennedy who famously said “There really shouldn’t be public schools.” And he boldly told her the truth: public schools need our advocacy!

As teachers, it brings tears to our eyes to finally see someone have our backs. He’s taking some heat on twitter for it, too. But, Montel, just know we will always be there to back you up.

You are truly badass! Much love and appreciation from all of us at the Badass Teachers Association!

When Kids Teach Adults – Lessons from the Newark Student Union Sit-in

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If ISIS extremists flew in from the Middle East and took over our public schools, we wouldn’t stand for it.

But if those extremists are from our own state or federal government, we just yawn and change the channel.

Though not for the last three nights.

A handful of plucky Newark school students have demanded our attention, and, Brother, do they have it!

At least six Newark students have staged a sit-in at the offices of Superintendent Cami Anderson demanding she step down and the district be returned to the voters. The district has been under state control for the last two decades.

This could have been handled easily. Anderson could have met with the students to talk about their concerns. After all, she is a public servant and even school kids are members of the public.

But instead she’s abandoned her office, sent threatening letters to the children’s parents and blocked or held up shipments of food to the young protestors.

Undeterred, the youngsters have set up a live feed on youtube to broadcast their action to the world, tweeting with the hashtags #OccupyNPS and #OurNewark. And the world has been paying attention. Local officials including Mayor Ras Baracka are calling for Anderson’s resignation. The teachers union is discussing holding an illegal strike if the students are forcibly removed.

But more importantly, people all over the country are talking about something they haven’t talked about – maybe – ever: local control.

What gives the state or federal government the right to come in and take over your public school?

Sure if there’s some kind of malfeasance going on, it makes sense to oust a particular school director. If the entire board is working in collusion against the public interest, maybe then it makes sense to get rid of all of them. A temporary acting school board might be necessary in such an unlikely case.

But why not then just hold another election and be done with it? Why would the state keep control over a public school for years or decades after a crisis?

The answer: many of our state and federal government officials don’t believe in local control.

Don’t worry. They’re not against it for everyone.

They don’t come in and take over just any school. If you live in a rich neighborhood, you can breathe easy. No state has ever taken over a posh district.

However, if you live in a poor community with a school that struggles to get by on the contributions of the impoverished local tax base, then the state may be gunning for you.

In my home state of Pennsylvania this has happened numerous times: Duquesne, Chester Upland and Philadelphia spring immediately to mind. In fact, Philly schools have been under control of the State Recovery Commission almost as long as Newark. At the same time Newark students were settling in for their second night in Anderson’s office, the Philadelphia SRC was having citizens arrested for protesting the state-appointed directors decision to expand charter schools.

What gives these people the right to take over our schools?

Poverty.

The excuse is always that the democratically-elected school board didn’t manage the district’s finances well enough. That’s why there were dwindling services for students.

However, the truth is more simple. School directors weren’t able to get blood from a stone. While rich districts rely heavily on a fat tax base that could support whatever services their children need, poor ones limp by. The state and federal government – seeing the trouble our poor districts are in – have a responsibility to come forward and provide financial assistance. After all, every child in this country has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. This doesn’t change just because your folks are poor.

But instead of facing up to their responsibilities, the state and federal government have used this monetary crisis to steal control of the poorest public schools.

And what’s worse, they haven’t improved the quality of services for students under their care! Instead they make sure any moderate increase in funding gets siphoned off to the corporate education reform movement before it ever reaches kids.

The standardized testing industry has increased 57% in the last three years alone to a $2.5 billion a year market. And that doesn’t even count the billions more being raked in by textbook companies (many of them are the same ones producing and grading the tests) with test prep materials and Common Core.

So why does the state and federal government unconstitutionally swipe away local control from people living in poor districts?

Because they can make money off of it!

This is exactly the abomination that the Newark Student Union is shinning light on.

Five years ago, Newark Schools received a $100 million gift from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to turn around the district. The project is called One Newark. The director is Anderson.

However, instead of turning the district around, it has been responsible for closing or relocating schools, opening new charter schools and displacing staff. And no improvement to district services!

Where’s the money going? Here’s a hint: Anderson has been sharply criticized for spending $37 million on consulting fees to prominent factory school reformers.

It’s time to end the practice of public school takeovers. There is no good reason for the state or federal government to snatch away our local schools. This is clearly a violation of the almost every state constitution (including New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s) and the rights of citizens and students. Public schools should remain public.

This is what our children are trying to tell us there in Cami Anderson’s office.

As they continue for a third night, I find myself with two distinct opposite emotions.

I feel an overwhelming shame for my generation. We have let greed get the better of us. How dare we trample the future of countless generations of children for financial gain! When I think of people like Anderson and ex-Mayor Cory Booker, people like my own ex-Governor Tom Corbett, I want to throw up.

However, at the same time I’m also filled with such immense hope! These children have shown us that we can be so much more than the sum of our base natures! We can overcome our menial immediate needs and put the suffering of others over that of ourselves!

I can’t express enough the joy and admiration I have for the members of the Newark Student Union! They represent the future we might attain – if only us adults will let them shine!


UPDATE: The sit-in ended after three days when Anderson met with students. They continue to call for her resignation.

This article was also published on the Badass Teachers Association blog.

The Worst Sort of Violence Against Children

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She was smiling and laughing, but her eyes were terrified.

Sitting in class among her fellow middle school students, her words were all bravado. But her gestures were wild and frightened. Tears were close.

So as the morning bell rang and the conversation continued unabated, I held myself in check. I stopped the loud rebuke forming in my teacher’s throat and just listened.

“You know that shooting at Monroeville Mall Saturday night, Mr. Singer? I was there!”

I swallowed. “My gosh, Paulette. Are you okay?”

She acts street smart and unbreakable, but I can still see the little girl in her. She’s only 13.

She slowed down and told us what happened; a story framed as bragging but really a desperate plea for safety and love.

She went to the mall with her mother. When they separated so she could go to the restroom, the gunfire began. She ran out and Mom was gone. She was ushered into a nearby store where the customers were kept in lockdown. She stayed there until the police cleared the mall, and it was safe to find her mother and go home.

A 17-year-old boy had gunned down three people. One was his target. The others were bystanders – parents who had gotten in the way. Now they were all in the hospital, two in critical condition.

And my student – my beautiful, precious, pain-in-the-butt, braggadocious, darling little child – was stuck in the mix.

I could imagine how scared she must have been separated from her mother, hiding with strangers as police swept the shops, food court and children’s play center.

Here she was telling the class her story and getting more upset with each word.

I gave her a meaningful look and told her we’d talk more later. Then I began class.

But I kept my eye on her. Was that relief I saw as the talk turned from bullets and bloodshed to similes and metaphors? Did the flush leave her cheeks as we crafted multi-paragraph theses? I hope so.

I think I know her pretty well by now. She’s been mine for two years – in both 7th and 8th grades. I even taught her older brother when he was in middle school.

I know she’s rarely going to do her homework – and if she does, it will be finished in the last 20 minutes. I know she’d rather be out playing volleyball or cheerleading than in school writing or reading. I know when she’s secure and when she’s scared.

And I know that today’s lesson will be a breeze for her. So why not put her in her comfort zone, show her things haven’t changed, she’s still the same person, she can still do this – nothing is different?

At least, that was the plan.

As any experienced public school teacher knows, you have to satisfy a person’s basic needs before you have any chance at teaching them something new. Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is always at the back of mind.

Students must have their physical needs met first – be fed, have a full night’s rest, etc. Then they have to feel safe, loved, and esteemed before they can reach their potentials.

But meeting these needs is a daily challenge. Our students come to us with a wealth of traumas and we’re given a poverty of resources to deal with them.

How many times have I given a child breakfast or bought a lunch? How many kids were given second-hand clothes or books? How many hours have I spent before or after school just listening to a tearful child pour out his heart?

Let me be clear. I don’t mind.

Not one bit.

It’s one of the reasons I became a teacher. I WANT to be there for these kids. I want to be someone they can come to when they need help. It’s important to me.

But what I do mind is doing this alone. And then being blamed for not healing all the years of accumulated hurt.

Because that’s exactly what’s expected of teachers these days. Fix this insurmountable problem with few tools and if you can’t, it’s your fault.

I didn’t shoot up the mall. I didn’t pass the laws that make it so easy for kids to get a hold of a gun. I didn’t pass the laws that allow such rampant income inequality and the perpetuation of crippling poverty that more than half of our nation’s public school children live with every day. And I sure didn’t slash public school budgets while wealthy corporations got a tax holiday.

But when society’s evils are visited on our innocent children, I’m expected to handle it alone. And if I can’t solve it all by myself, I should be fired.

That is where I take umbrage.

The issue is violence but not all of it comes at the end of a gun.

Keeping public schools defunded and dysfunctional is also a form of violence. Promoting privatization and competition when kids really just need resources is also cruelty. Pretending that standardized curriculum and tests are a Civil Right is also savagery.

It’s called class warfare. Its most prominent victims are children. Its most active soldiers are teachers. And we’re on the front lines every day.

When the bell rang to end class, Paulette stopped by my desk.

I looked up at her ready to give whatever support I could. It was my lunch break, but I was willing to skip it and just talk. I’d get the guidance counselor. I’d call home. Whatever she needed.

But none of it was necessary.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She gave me a big smile and a deep breath.

I returned it.

Today would be alright. Tomorrow? We’ll meet that together.

But we sure could use some help.


NOTE: Names and other minor details may have been changed to preserve anonymity.

This Article was also published in The Progressive, Portside Navigator, Common Dreams, Public School Shakedown and the Badass Teachers Association blog.

Saturday Night Lame – Sucker Punching Teachers for a Laugh No One Made

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Go ahead.

Make jokes about teachers.

Please.

But make them fair. No sucker punches.

And – goddammit – make them funny!

However, all we got on Saturday Night Live this week during the “Teacher Snow Day” segment were unconvincing lame low blows.

In the rap video parody, we see educators boasting of all the money they’re making for doing nothing, telling their students to “go to Hell,” having sex on school property, using meth they made in the science lab, and bragging that there’s nothing you can do about it because they have tenure so can’t be fired – all while students have the day off because of snow.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?

As a public school teacher of more than a decade, I wasn’t laughing. Nor was I alone. Ratings plummeted yet again from an already dismal viewership.

I hesitated writing this article at all because so few people saw the segment the first time, and I certainly don’t want to encourage anyone to go back and view this groan-fest.

But address it I must, because it’s part of a larger problem: the idea that teachers are fair game as a target for just about any dishonest criticism you can imagine.

And that’s the problem – dishonesty.

Jokes work best when they attack the powerful, not the powerless.

That’s the whole point of satire – to allow an attack on the dominant from below. When a mighty person attacks someone less powerful, that’s not satire and it’s not funny. It’s bullying.

We all remember teachers from school. When we were students, they were authority figures and – as such – fair targets of criticism.

But in a larger social context, teachers are one of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised groups in our society.

Educators are under constant onslaught from all sides.

Every problem of our public school system is heaped on top of them. No matter what’s wrong, it’s always their fault. And we’re quick to prove it by stacking the cards against them.

Just look at how we evaluate them. Our federal and state governments mandate we base teachers’ effectiveness substantially on their students’ standardized test scores. Statisticians call this approach “junk science” because it uses a test created to evaluate students as an assessment for something it was never meant to assess – their instructors. But that doesn’t stop the continued use of these value-added measures to “prove” how crappy teachers are at their jobs. And when educators gather together in a union to demand real proof of wrongdoing before they can be fired, they’re accused of insisting we give them a job for life.

Teachers don’t even have control over their own curriculum anymore. In many schools, educators can’t choose which books to use, which skills to teach or how to assess student learning. Often they’re even denied the choice of their own words since they’re forced to read from scripted lessons provided by multinational for-profit testing corporations.

Education policy doesn’t come from teachers. Do you think educators came up with Common Core? Of course not! That was a billionaire philanthropist’s pet project created with the help of think tanks and policy wonks. But teachers are expected to follow it regardless of their years of classroom experience that tell them it’s nonsense – at best – and developmentally inappropriate – at worst!

And if a teacher wants to speak up, the venues open to him are few and far between. Turn on any media program about education and you’ll see half a dozen talking heads offering their opinions but not one of them will be a teacher! Heck! Congress just held hearings on the federal law that governs K-12 schools (ESEA) and only let a handful of teachers testify.

Why?

Because if they don’t blame teachers, they’d have to face the facts of income inequality and child poverty.

More than half of all public school students are impoverished. Instead of providing extra resources to help those students, budgets have been slashed. Less tutoring. Less arts and music. Less extra curricular activities. Less social services. But instead larger class sizes! And we expect teachers to magically make our uncaring budgetary priorities work!

Yet, the “not ready for prime time” crew at SNL thought it was funny to target one of the only groups to stand up for these children.

You’d never see them make jokes at the expense of our troops, but teachers are soldiers on the front line of the war on poverty.

Yes! Soldiers!

When troubled teens denied the proper mental health services use our lax gun laws to take a semi-automatic with them in their book bags to school, it’s these same teachers who literally give their lives to save our children!

And these unsung heroes, these public punching bags, these scapegoats for all of society’s ills were your choice of target for feeble clowning?

I expect that from dark money fueled privatizers and corporate backed union busters. I don’t expect it from someone who’s supposed to help me get through another week with a few good laughs.

Snow day? You should have called it snow job because the only ones laughing were the Koch Brothers!

Sure, if you want to joke that teachers are too stuffy, fine! We deserve that criticism. As a whole, we are unhip, mostly white, sometimes pedantic and give too much homework.

But don’t you dare criticize us for being uncaring or lazy or criminal.

While you’re making jokes, our nations children are forced to go without – unless a teacher somehow manages to help.

That’s no joke, and the punchline may well be the future of this nation.

So while I’m out using my own money to buy supplies for my students…

While I’m staying hours late at school almost every day…

While I’m counseling a student with severe emotional problems…

While I’m doing my job, why don’t you do yours, SNL?

Make me laugh.


This article was also published in the LA Progressive.