My mother has been an educator in the public school system for as long as I can remember. In my elementary years, she planted herself on a campus that consisted of two buildings – a playground and a basketball gym. The gym was the nicest building on the plot.
She advised the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter, a volunteer position that routinely resulted in late nights and early mornings. I remember. Second grade Jakob was there for all of it.
Twenty years later, there’s been two changes: the school district and the subject of her curriculum.
She’s still an (award winning) adviser for an FBLA chapter. Long nights, early mornings? You guessed it. More times than not, she’s giving up her weekends to work on projects with her students. And by projects, I mean community service driven ideas that are put into action by seventh and eighth graders.
After-hours study sessions for her students competing in educational competitions? Common. Spending money out-of-pocket to help a student? That’s normal. Doing everything in her power to play an important role in a student’s life? Daily.
I could do this all day, but I’ll get to the point:
This is the heart and attitude of most every teacher in the public school system. They do it because they love their kids.
There’s rising concern about Betsy Devos, the nominee for Secretary of Education. Given that my mother is an educator, I wanted to find out WHY. The information I found was frightening. Take it as you will, but here are a few of the major headlines:
note: the Google search I performed was ‘trump plans teachers’
Without going any further, can we all agree that the words I’ve copied and pasted (and cited with links) above are alarming? The thought of 500,000 people losing their job in any industry should be – regardless of your political stance.
Students being involved in a rally of this nature threw up a red flag. Why are kids – more than likely not old enough to vote – protesting the President of the United States?
Diving in deeper, I learned that nearly 75-percent of the students in the LA Unified School District are Latino. With immigration, deportation and a dividing wall as campaign platforms of the next President of the United States – it begins to makes sense. They’re scared for themselves, their friends and families.
What about these 500,000 jobs?
This is the part where it’s important as an individual (teacher or not) to learn about a situation prior to discussing it. To put my initial emotions in the simplest, most millennial way possible: I was shook. And I kinda still am.
It’s also important to understand where the 500,000 number came from.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump mentioned the elimination of the Department of Education multiple times. These statements sparked the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) to perform an analysis on the potential effects of terminating this department. Yes, that’s right: potential.
Though if you clicked on the link to read through the analysis, you noticed that a loss of 500,000 teachers is just the tip of the iceberg. Low-income students, children from military and Native-American families and also those dealing with disabilities would all be affected. Yikes.
But will it happen?
Like a majority of the things you heard from both Presidential candidates this year, it’s necessary to take things with a grain of salt. In a country where high-school graduation rates are at an ALL TIME HIGH, I find it hard to believe that such a decision will be made. Partly, because at the end of the day, education is one of the most important (if not the most) aspects of this nation. Also because I believe the new President’s priorities are elsewhere.
Here’s where my main concern lies:
The desire to learn out more about the situation led me to an article of the opposite extreme. An article written to applaud the ideals in Mr. Trump’s education policy. A few paragraphs in, I read the following quote:
“It’s time to punch a hole in this myth that teachers are some kind of noble, magical unicorns selflessly molding young minds out of the goodness of their hearts.”
For someone who has a teacher for a mother, as well as close friends – this hurts to read. Because I know how many hearts and minds have been impacted by teachers. I’m one of them. Isn’t everyone?
This isn’t a left-or-right issue. It’s a mindset issue. That’s concerning, right?