"It is hard for public education to succeed when some of the people in it are the most powerful poison"- Byakko
It was not the details of the story that pissed me off but rather the familiar narrative of educators getting thrown under the bus for trying to do the right thing. Public education needs to be dealt with less like an institution and the administrators in it need to think more like parents and less like politicians. This poem is to my Alma Mater and every educator that got slapped for fighting back...
A eulogy for public education (Thank you)
The privatization of education is daunting
To reminisce of the days of government funded
lunches and breakfasts will not ring true for my children.
They will look at me with their learning eyes
poking out of charming school uniforms.
They will have questions about my mystery meat
and free-reduced lunch is for who but
why mommy why?
And I will be forced to forget that the checks
I signed their souls with were once not needed.
The merit that was pulled out of the public school fabric
was stained in hearsay. Only stories where public education
was failing when really it was a representation
of the country since the country is the one doing the funding
But still they yelled:
TEACHERS ARE FORGETTING WHY THEY STARTED TEACHING.
THEY STOPPED PAYING ATTENTION; THEY STOPPED CARING!!
People just stopped listening.
As I balance my checkbook subtracting
my children’s tuition
I will remember and shake my head:
I will think of my mother, the educator,
the assistant principal who fought for public education
but had to resign instead
I will think of Mr. Black who literally
had to fight for students' safety
but was put on leave for protecting
I will think of Joey
who didn’t live long enough to see his advice
for my creative writing pay off
I will think of Madame Holden-Avard
who submits to getting the hope of quality education
drained out of her veins by her own colleagues
I will think of Doug
The father of my world history class shenanigans
(He did not call me his daughter because of a paycheck)
I will think of their silence.
The people who asked them to
shut up, sit down, and find a new job
for protecting what was ours.
I thank them for what they have done.
and I mourn the fact that even then
it wasn’t enough.
I will pick my kids up from school,
wash their uniforms I pay way too much for, and I
will remember who was speaking up for
the public schooling in me. And I will pray
for those who made it too hard for them to stay.
Dinner will be served to my family
on the deathbed of public education.
A moment of silence for those
who fought and still believe in it.
Dig in kids, you have school tomorrow.