This is a departure from my typical One Good Thing post.
This post is for my beloved fellow public educators.
A lot is being said about you and me and our institution currently. We’ve been told we’re “flush with cash” and we “deprive our children of all knowledge.”
But you and I–we know the truth.
You want to know what I love about public education?
I love that we don’t close our doors to anyone.
We don’t turn away the mentally or emotionally disabled. We don’t reject the physically handicapped. We don’t shrug off the hungry. We don’t turn away the kid with a violent past. We fling our doors open wide to the non-English speakers, the students that identify as gay, lesbian, bi, or trans. We teach our students the importance of making friends with kids not quite like them. We turn no one away and hence teach our kids to turn no one away.
I am beyond proud of us for all this.
Not only do we welcome all–we find ways to individualize education for all. We meet all learners where they’re at and strive to bring them up to their highest potential. Sometimes our kids have a whole sleuth of adults believing in them and working alongside us, and sometimes we’re the ones that find them lunch to eat that day or a place to stay that night.
I stay in this field because I believe in my heart and soul that this is the kind of work of which Jesus would have been a part. He welcomed all. Especially “the least of these.” Restoration and reconciliation were two of His specialties. (And we Christians have a done a good job of muddling that, haven’t we?)
I stay in this field because it gives me extreme joy to work with young adults from all backgrounds: they give me hope for a bright future.
I stay because I believe we belong to each other and have a responsibility to take care of one another.
I stay because I believe quality education should be given to every child. But for that to work, we’re all going to have to give a little (some of us more than others).
So when someone tells you we’re wasting money or our test scores aren’t high enough, I want you to remind them: we don’t choose our kids. We don’t turn anyone away. We take care of everyone.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Keep warrioring on, teachers, counselors, aides, administrators, lunch staff, janitors, and bus drivers. “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.”