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School’s out, time to get busy

June 1, 2011

I am, oh so, ever so, happy that my school year is over.  It’s not so much that I need a vacation from teaching, although that’s true too.  My sense of relief comes more from the fact that I have spent this whole year feeling as if I were balancing on a razor’s edge and now it’s over.  At the beginning of the year, I was involved in a group purportedly designed to make things better for the schools and the community in my area. Unfortunately, it was Astroturf in grassroots disguise.  While we began our work with optimism and sincere intent, it gradually became apparent to me (and others) that there were hidden agendas and people who really didn’t honor the spirit of the committee as it had been originally proposed.  When I started to ask questions about the discrepancies I was observing, I sensed that I was getting myself into trouble. So I got more discreet and I got busy asking questions and investigating in other areas and trying to write what I could here without telling too many secrets.  Then I started to consider that the secrets I have been keeping are not my burden, and too many of them are protecting interests that do not deserve my protection and I started to really say what I thought.  As teachers, our work can be hard enough without trying to take on the system.  However, as painful as the experience has been, I would do it again because I refuse to be just a cog in the system.  The schools belong to all of us, in particular those of us who have the most at stake in the future of public schools–parents, students, teachers, communities. However, there are too many of us sitting on the sidelines letting private interests call the shots.  I am, in a crazy way, grateful for the disillusionment I experienced because it forced me to speak up and to act up.

I hope to see you in Washington, D.C.on July 30th.

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