Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Heros in Sandy Hook Elementary

There has been a lot of name-calling and demonizing of teachers over the last few years.  The teachers and those who represent them in the workplace - the teachers' union. 

The teachers (and staff) at Sandy Hook saved lives.  Gave their own lives - standing between the shooter and the children - and died for those children.  Young teachers, new teachers - all of them, right down the custodian.  

The Stranger Slog has this devastating interview with a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary from ABC news.  This teacher saved her students' lives and gave them love in what she thought might be their last minutes.  

Attached they have a column from the Daily Kos that lays bear all the terrible things said about teachers by elected officials and others.  It is an angry column but worth reading. 

Michelle Malkin
When they weren't ditching their students, radical teachers steeped in the social justice ethos of National Education Association-approved community organizer Saul Alinsky were shamelessly using other people's children as their own political junior lobbyists and pawns.

Governor Chris Christie
Christie identified education reform as one of his top priorities during the campaign and the transition subcommittee’s education report covers many of the areas he talked about, including putting more emphasis on charter schools and making it more difficult for public school teachers to reach tenure.

Governor Christie’s vision of change for New Jersey could include freezing the salaries of teachers and other employees to make public education more affordable and effective.

Rod Paige, former Secretary of Education, said the NEA is a "terrorist organization."

Rush Limbaugh said teachers were "parasites."

Can we get rid of the myth once and for all that school teachers, anymore, are these average, ordinary (as Obama wants to say), next-door neighbors who are just doing everything they can to further the educational experience of your children? 

That's not who they are. They are left-wing activists, active members of unions who are oriented first by a political agenda, second by their own well-being, and your kids come last.

You're right, Rush.  Yesterday those teachers were not "furthering" the educational experience of their students.  

They were saving those students' lives. The kids at Sandy Hook did NOT come last in any staff member's mind yesterday.

Here's one of them, Victoria Soto, first grade teacher:

Victoria was a Stratford high graduate and only 27. She was killed today after she hid her first graders in closets and cabinets and told the shooter they were in the gym. He killed her and not one of her children were harmed. 

So folks, when you hear people bad-mouthing "lazy" teachers and their terrible union, ask yourself - would you lay down your life for others at a moment's notice?

Don't let these people degrade the profession of teaching.  Refuse to be part of it.

Expect good performance from our children's teachers but also know that at the end of the day, these may be the only people between your child and a bullet.


dan dempsey said...

NY Times:

Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?

Anonymous said...

There is a heartbreaking article in the Hartford Courant today about the teachers's bravery and sacrifice. One of them literally gave her life for her students by hiding them and facing the gunman alone; just like what that professor did at Virginia Tech during that horrifying massacre. I do not know how to make a link but it is right on the main page. Get some tissues ready though, I cried a lot.


mirmac1 said...

Teachers were the first responders:

They called upon all their courage and all their training.

...and I get to listen to some punkass twenty-something at my work gripe about "why do teachers get pensions?!" Yeah, let Walmart teach our children.

Melissa Westbrook said...

To note - police officer and firefighters and soldiers get trained and paid to lay their lives on the line. Teachers don't.

Anonymous said...

I feel horrible. My heart hurts. I have not felt this bad since 9/11; not even during that long, painful year of my divorce. I've been looking at my children and feeling so much fear. This could happen to any of us, we have no way to protect our children against crazy people with guns. This could happen at their school, at the mall, the library, the playground. I have been listening to Simon and Garfunkle all day, trying for some solace. It is not working.
There is a petition on the We the People website, asking for action on gun control. Please go sign it. Pleas write to your congressman, your senator, the governor; write everybody. Please.


seattle citizen said...

While anyone (ANYone) would lay down their lives for our children, the thing that I get out of this discussion about teachers being there for children is that teachers can (and should) nurture the attributes that might prevent this sort of thing: compassion, helpfulness, citizenship and selflessness...So when I hear all the attacks on teachers (and what I think is behind it: a "Taylorization" of teaching into a mere scientific, measurable series of instructions, devoid of warmth and human interaction) I hear that ed-reformers don't care that we lose the humanity in it all. That it's okay for educating to be mere time spent interacting with a computer screen. That it's not important to dedicate one's life to hearing, day in and day out, horrible stories of home life, social ostracism, personal travail that students bring with them, and react to these with warmth, care, and teaching about grit and determination.
Again: History, civics, art, music...aren't on The Tests. I guess they're not important anymore.
That's what I hear when I hear ed-reformers blather on about STEM and "accountability" to test scores.

Jan said...

These stories remind me of what I have thought so long about schools (about the good ones, anyway) -- and why I think so much of ed reform is blighted at wrong at its very root.

Schools (the good ones, that I want for my kids) are built on a "family" model -- not a "business" model. Schools are "raising" our kids brains and minds -- the same way we "raise the whole child at home. They need to be small enough that teachers (and other staff) can actually be involved with kids the way families are involved with each other. We don't (at least I don't) ask my kids to compete with each other for resources or attention. I don't tell them that I will cut them off if they don't perform at a certain arbitrary level (this is different, of course, than instilling in them the idea that actions and effort have consequences -- and letting them figure that out). Nor does my family "fire" family members who are less productive than others, or who fail to achieve external benchmarks. Like the biblical statue with clay feet -- the entire ed reform model is built upon a flawed and failed paradigm that does not reflect what children need to succeed in K-12 schools -- a "family community" that both knows what it is doing, and cares about -- actually "loves" -- its kids.

The teacher huddled with her kids, telling them that she loved them because she was afraid those might be the last words they heard on earth, -- that is the kind of things family members who love each other do. It is not what manufacturers do with a product -- or what service providers tell their clients in a pinch.

For years, I have fantasized a conversation, over lunch, with Melinda Gates. And this is what I have always wanted to tell her. The entire "business/incentive" model, built upon "measuring" output, is fatally flawed, if what we want to do is build a world class, successful education systm (though if all you are doing is building another for-profit business model -- even though it is soulless and it fails to produce kids who learn a lot and become lifelong thinkers and learners, I suppose it does just fine).