As recent tragedies have shown, America's school teachers are a vital part of our societal fabric.  Often vilified in the news & by media outlets, and the target of relentless cutbacks and public outrage, it's a wonder anyone still signs up to join our ranks.  Though not perfect, teachers and the support personnel of America's public schools provide US ALL with a valuable service. 

So where's the honor... the reverence... the respect?

I guess that answer lies in the changing dynamic of our public discourse about the nature and role of government.  If those that drive the "government can do nothing right" narrative continue to control our debates regarding public education, then TEACHERS, we are in real trouble.  Public school teachers not only provide the academic underpinnings needed by all citizens in a representative democracy (simply stated- uninformed voters make for a very poor democracy), they also bequeath society's collective values, morays and norms to the next generation. In an age where families are falling a part, and communities are crumbling like our antiquated infrastructure, public schools play an increasingly more important role in both the lives of school children, and the communities they serve. I know teachers who have bathed their students, bought clothes and food, made house visits to bring a sick student missed assignments, and sat in the bleachers at local soccer games to root one of "their kids" on.  These are not villians or predators. These loving,  compassionate, resourceful, creative men and women put the needs of their school children often ahead of the needs of their own families.

School teachers are not delusional, not by any stretch of the imagination. We know that some kids will make it, and some won't. We know that the poverty, crime, violence, low self-steem and self worth, anger, and general negativity that weighs some of OUR kids down will ultimately consume them, and breed very poor outcomes for that child's entire adult life. But even in the face of such an overwhelming task - "apple lovers" don't run. Nope! We dig in and fight! Because in the back of every teacher's mind is the thought, "May be I'll be the one to make a difference and tun that child's life around?"


Somehow collectively, we've lost our way. May be it was the "greed is good" mantra of the 80s or the "I want it now" mentality of the 90s. Regardless of the genesis of our spiral, we must get back to honoring not just the military service persons who protect our freedom. We must also honor those that protect and nurture our very way of life.
 


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