Education Reform Teachers

Linda McNeil: Labor Day, Get Politically Active and Hug a Teacher

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Linda McNeil is a professor at Rice University and an eloquent spokesperson for children and teachers. She has done important research about the negative effects of high stakes testing.

Her thoughts for this day:

As we celebrate America’s workers this Labor Day, let’s be sure to honor our children’s teachers: teachers who every day inspire our children’s minds, spark their curiosities, (wipe their noses and search for missing mittens), nudge hesitant writers, cheer on insecure readers, seek out the child on the sidelines, and then do it all over again the next day. And the next.

Honoring our teachers means voting for candidateswill restore the massive funding cuts that have starved many of our schools and made being a teacher even more financially precarious than it has traditionally been in many of our states.

Honoring our teachers means marching with them when they feel they have to march and rally and petition to get politicians’ attention – then following up with our own messages to those politicians so they can’t claim the “teachers are just complaining.”

Honoring our laboring teachers means volunteering in their classrooms, learning first-hand what they need to do their jobs well for our children and grandchildren, then joining our voices to theirs to make these needs persistently known.

Honoring the teaching profession means becoming so politically active and effective that no teacher has 7 classes of 24 to 42 students (yes, that’s a teacher I know here in a Houston public high school), that no charter chain takes one more dollar from our public schools, that no US secretary of education gets one piece of voucher legislation through Congress, and that no more billionaires use their wealth to try to “buy” our public schools (yes, that’s you, Los Angeles and Little Rock).

And if we truly honor our teachers, we will follow the lead of the students of Marjorie Stedman Douglas High School and the thousands of other youth and their families around the country in working tirelessly for good, strict gun safety and gun control laws so that no teacher ever has to protect her students from a shooter and no teacher ever ever is expected to have — or use — a gun at school. Ever.

Honoring our laboring teachers means joining forces w them to protect the public’s schools and, by so doing, protect our democracy.

Thank a teacher, hug a teacher – then go to work on their behalf!

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