As a teacher, an educator, and a guide, I am called to help children understand the abstract. I am called to show them why 2+2 equals 4. I am called to encourage children to explore root words and etymology. I am called to help children see information in a new way, a way of which they perhaps hadn’t thought before.
I am called to help children understand the intangible, that which cannot be sensed. I am called to show children unyielding love. I am called to offer children freedom and responsibility.
I am also called to show children hope. Hope for their future. Hope for their present. Hope they understand their past.
I am called to be a balloon that can only rise. I am called to be a positive spectator of children’s learning and understanding. I am called to show up for my children when no one else seems to.
And, right now, right now, I am deflated. I have nothing inside of me to give.
There was a moment of hope between 10:00 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. when my friend posted about calling Thom Tillis, a Republican senator from North Carolina, to perhaps sway his undecided vote. Almost everyone in my program called immediately. There was a chorus of “Vote No for Betsy DeVos” and “As a teacher, I implore you to vote no for Betsy DeVos.” There was a lighthearted feeling, a moment of activism in our grueling schedule. It felt like there could be a chance. People called from Vietnam, South Korea, all over Wisconsin showing up for our educators, for our children, and for the Senate Democrats who spoke all night trying to convince one more person to cut ties with their party.
Our children are not Democrats. Our children are not Republicans. Our children are amazing beings who yearn for knowledge, meaningful work, and adaptation into society. It is irresponsible that so many Senate Republicans put party over country. It is deplorable that they put party over children.
By siphoning funding from public schools, the quality of education will drop because they no longer have the already feeble funds to run a school. It will widen the poverty chasm. It will privatize schools. Schools will become businesses that can “let go of” under-performing children to boost their scores to receive more federal funding.
Children have a right to public education. The government has a responsibility to provide the highest quality of education they can for public schools. I am so, so, so tired of people who have never stepped foot in a classroom as an educator making decisions that affect our children so directly. I would love for Betsy DeVos, as our new Secretary of Education, to come to public schools, to hear our needs, and to make a plausible plan that respects educators. But more importantly, she needs to make a plan that respects our children and their vast intellect. They deserve a Secretary of Education who will fight for them not against them. They deserve people who will show up for them. They deserve people who will stand up for them. They deserve people who will do everything they can to give them the best education possible.
Right now, though, I am out of hope. I have none of it left. Please, join me in representing that which is best for our children. Together, maybe, we can make the difference our children deserve.