I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back To School

This is the time of year when I throttle back the blog a bit and concentrate on the beginning of the school year. Regular readers know I am a working teacher - not a pundit, or a think tanky-type, or a TFAer who's "staying involved in education," whatever that means. I walk the walk, and the Tuesday after Labor Day is when I lace up the new sneakers and hit the track.

So things will cool out here a little - but not too much. After three years, I have a much better sense of the time commitment for putting together a post. So I'll still be publishing pieces regularly over the next several months, with the understanding of how much I can get done even when I'm putting my primary focus (after my family) on my work as a teacher.

We've got some big things to deal with during the fall. Yes, the election is a large part of that, but I think I'll be spending more time on unspinning the crapstorm that is bound to precede the release of "Won't Back Down," the new sci-fi fantasy film about teaching coming from the anti-gay, anti-union plutocrat Philip Anschutz.

And then there's the new NJ teacher evaluation system. The Gospel of Bruce Baker needs to be preached far and wide about what is coming; consider me your St. Paul.

There's one important change to the edu-blogosphere this year, and that's the addition of Diane Ravitch to the roster of regular posters. Diane's blog is now the go-to place for all the reformy debunking we need, which means the rest of us don't have to worry about documenting every little thing that's happening in education policy. For myself, that means I can take a little more time to develop some arguments (example coming later this week).

So expect a little more space between posts - but, hopefully, a little more depth.

To all my fellow parents: enjoy these years. The oldest Jazzboy is now a high school senior (!) - dear lord, it goes so fast. Treasure every moment. Get to know your child's teachers. Make a partnership with them. Challenge them (respectfully) when you disagree; pat them on the back when they do a good job. Remember (as one of the best teachers I've ever worked with used to say): they're the expert on teaching, you're the expert on your kid.

To my fellow teachers: God bless you for what you do. Never, ever, EVER let anyone tell you that you are greedy or lazy or self-serving because you want a decent, professional, middle-class wage for doing such an important job. Never let these corrupt, paid-for politicians get away with saying that you are the problem simply because you expect the government to keep its word to you.

I know the reformyists are trying to suck the life out of you right now. You know the best way to get back at these clowns? Have fun this year! Enjoy your students! Enjoy the job! Enjoy your class! Have some fun! You know what's important, even if these soulless, foolish, clueless dolts who point fingers at you don't. Screw these idiots who could never spend a minute in your shoes!

Your legacy will be so much richer and deeper and lasting than those who attack you. Stand tall, stand proud, stand strong, and stand together.

God bless the teachers.

Frank, take us out until next summer.


czarejs said...

Amen Duke....thanks for everything you do.

Duke said...

Thank you, my friend. Have a great new year!

Unknown said...

Great column! Good thoughts to start the year with!

giuseppe said...

Great thoughts for the coming year. Say a prayer, many prayers, for the teachers in Chicago, they are fighting the good fight against big odds.

Deb said...

Thank you Duke. You are a major force of resistance and positive change in NJ and our nation. A true teacher. I hope you have a great start to a great year. And did you hear Karen Lewis today in front of 20,000 Chicago teachers? Wow!

Duke said...

Thx Barb, Rose, and Giuseppe. Deb, many thx for your comments and support this past year!

Upward and onward!