I would like to start this article by making a shout-out to the great teachers I had in high school. In particular, my ninth and tenth grade English teacher, my chorus teacher, and my biology and chemistry teacher. These three women are a large part of the reason I am who I am today, and I owe them a lot.
But I also had some particularly nasty teachers. My original tenth grade English teacher got me kicked out of school for a week, after she assigned a creative writing assignment -free writing, whatever style we wanted. When I wrote a story about a girl who became lost in the woods, froze to death, and returned home as a ghost to see her family moving on, she decided I was going to blow up the school, and kill the survivors. Why did her mind go there? Because I was one of the ‘outsiders’ who dressed in weird clothes, with the spiky hair, and all that.
My eleventh grade Honors English teacher made no qualms about the fact that she didn’t think I belonged in the Honors class -I didn’t fit her idea of an Honors student.
My remedial math teacher had me thrown out of the class after I explained that, yes, I was copying my friend’s notes -because I had lost one of my contacts, and couldn’t see the board. She accused me of being rude, and had me thrown out.
Everyone knew you could sleep with our American history teacher for a passing grade. There was at least one other teacher there who -rumor had it -would do the same thing.
Our principal was a vile little man with a Napoleon complex, who bullied all students who weren’t athletes.
One of our assistants, who was in charge of the children headed off to BOCES (a program where high schoolers learned real life skills, like mechanics, electrical work, nursing, and so on) was somebody who didn’t attempt to hide the fact that she thought those children were scum.
Our little school had one of the worst drop-out rates in our area. Our reading comprehension, math skills, and science aptitude were consistently in the lowest rankings for our county.
The year after I graduated, our school received a federal grant to redo much of the school. We ended up with a new auditorium, gymnasium, football field, new lockers, new teaching equipment, and so on. Do you know what we didn’t get out of the deal?
Better literacy, math, and science skills. We still are ranked at the bottom for all three skills.
I tell you this, so you’ll know where I come from. I’ve seen what awful schools can do to children. And when it came time for my son to go to school, I decided to pay out of pocket to send him out of district. I told my husband at the time that I’d be damned if I let my son go to the same school that had ruined so many good kids.
The worst thing that the Left seems to think about DeVos is that she’ll push school vouchers, and private and charter schools. That she’ll make schools deliver passing students, or lose their federal funding when parents start sending their kids elsewhere. Please, explain to me, why is this a bad thing? Why should parents be forced to send their kids to a terrible school? Please tell me who is benefiting from that -other than teachers unions.
Students don’t benefit from being forced to go to awful schools. Good teachers don’t benefit from it. The only ones who benefit are crappy teachers, and their unions.
A good teacher is a precious thing. These are people we trust with our children for eight hours a day. They have just as much of an impact on our lives as our parents do. One good teacher in high school can make a child… just as one bad one can break him. But right now, schools aren’t able to reward good teachers. They get the same pay and benefits as crappy, God-awful teachers.
If Ms. DeVos’s plans go through, good teachers will be swept up by good schools -be they private, public, or charter. Schools will have to compete for the best teachers, to draw in parents and their children as students. Good teachers will be rewarded, and bad teachers… well. Let’s just say I think back to my tenth grade English teacher, and I feel my heart warming at the thought of what will happen to her with Ms. DeVos’s plans in action.
For many schools in America today, nothing Ms. DeVos does can make them any worse. Our 12th graders are consistently ranked among the lowest in international testing. Our middle and high schools have become cesspits of bullying, sexual abuse, and indoctrination.
We’ve hit a critical point here in America. Our schools are on the brink of losing a long, bloody battle, littered with broken children. Ms. DeVos might be the only thing that can save them.