So for some inexplicable reason, reporter John Merrow has decided that those of us who think that Diane Ravitch is a hero are similar to those who admire the idiot who read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. (I won’t link to said idiot because I don’t want said idiot’s followers to post their idiotic comments on my blog.)
As a young girl, I remember learning how to read with the help of my first grade teacher. I can’t remember her name because as a Navy brat, I wound up going to over a dozen schools. What I can remember is that it was the teachers who almost always made this perennial new kid feel welcomed and secure.
As a parent, I looked to the teachers that each of my three kids had as the experts. They were the ones that helped me help my children if they struggled over a new concept or informed me of when they needed extra help or support. They were the ones that brought learning to life for my three and helped them become the great young people they are today.
Now as a teacher myself, I look to my own experience as a student and as a parent to help me inform my own practice. I became a teacher later in life in 2001 and in that very short time, I have seen the profession I love and the people that I admire become the targets for every thing that is wrong in education. What the general public seems to not understand is how very little control teachers actually have over their profession. Where once there was respect for our profession as teachers, there is now derision and scorn.
Those of us who choose to teach in low performing, high poverty schools are labeled as failures when our students don’t perform as well as their peers – peers that often live in environments that are more supportive and less stressful. We are judged based on meaningless data that says nothing about the beautiful souls that so many of us feel so very privileged to teach. Kids that we see daily rising above despite all the challenges that are thrown at them, including attending schools that are labeled as failing again based on arbitrary data points that should never define any child, their school or their teacher.
All of this is to say, Diane Ravitch gives us hope. None of us who read Ms. Ravitch are gullible, mindless people. I would argue that many of us fall along the political spectrum not often seen in the US today. We are Democrats, Republicans, Independents and DTS. We are liberal and conservative. The one unifying factor is that Ms. Ravitch has been willing to take a look at the programs she once previously supported with a critical eye, examine her own beliefs and support with research why previously held conclusions were erroneous.
In short, she is a teacher. This is what teachers do.
That is why she is MY hero.