Politically Correct

Holy, Governor LePage. Thanks for being a role model for our kids.

I’m sort of torn between a morbid fascination with this man who can walk around saying whatever comes to his mind and pure and utter disgust for his diarrhea of the mouth. You know, living up in the county, I don’t think I’ve met too many people who like this man. I met him once, when he addressed our 8th graders at the state house, but other than that, I’ve got nothing to go on but the media. Now, I totally understand how twisted the media can be, but what I witnessed a few days ago is beyond believable.

I guess I’ll start with the positives- the man traveled to Fort Kent to give the graduation speech, which was very nice of him. He also addressed our 8th grade respectfully, and even suggested we open up a logging/ fishing charter school in northern maine (seriously!?), when one of the boys asked why he didn’t like loggers. He gets a couple points for that. But, those of you who know how to figure out negative and positive integers, a couple positives only take a couple negatives to equal zero.

First of all, the fact that the governor addressed charter schools to a bunch of county bumpkins and public school teachers was brave. Props for that, governor! This is a man who will do drastic things to get his way. He believes in charter schools, I get it. I don’t necessarily disagree with them, but seriously, a logging and fishing charter school? I bet Troy Jackson would get that going (sorry Troy, had to add that one in there).

Any of you who are teachers out there and care about every single one of your students regardless of socioeconomic status, no matter the letter grade your school received, no matter how much money you are taking out of your personal checking account to buy books and supplies, no matter the countless hours you are planning and adapting beyond the school day, no matter how many paradigm shifts, multicolored forms, and documentation requests being thrown at you, no matter how the students treat you (or how much they stalk you), no matter how many times your job description changes, no matter how little your paycheck is, no matter how many times you chaperone things, no matter any of these things (plus many, many, many more) I would like to thank you. Thank you for choosing a noble, yet thankless (at times) profession. Thank you for working countless hours to make sure kids are learning and are given amazing opportunities. Thank you!

I would like to see someone in charge of the education budget actually be educated enough to understand what it’s like to be a teacher. What we sacrifice and what we do with so little. I would like for someone to understand the obstacles we face to get the kids where they are, and we take that personal. We have to.

Here’s the double whammy: I teach Special Ed. I love my students, they are the underdog. They are the ones who struggle and sometimes give up. They are the ones that ‘hold our school back from making AYP’. They also make tremendous gains which are not measured by a standardized test. These tests do not measure how well a student’s behavior has grown, they don’t measure how hard a student tries to study for a test when they can’t read the words, these tests do not measure how well students can write about things that they care about. These tests do not boast an 8th grade student who has gone from a 2nd grade reading level to a 4th (let me tell you, I do a victory dance). You want to fix a broken system? Try there. No charter school will fix that. Instead, you look at these test scores (which are not a valid measure of what our students know) and create a grading system which does not tell us anything- just a letter.

Now, back to you Governor Lepage. How dare you talk about “the county” with such distaste. How dare you talk about loggers like you know them. How dare you stereotype an entire group of people because of where they are from (Civil Rights, anyone?). How dare you insinuate that we just ‘sit up here in Aroostook county’. How dare you rate our schools with a letter grade when the education system is moving away from letter grades (be a little more with the times, governor). How dare you use inappropriate slurs towards people who you think are ‘less than you’ because they don’t see things the same way you do. How dare you show our students that bullying is the way to get your way. How dare you embarrass the great state of Maine the way you have.

Finally, how dare you make decisions about cutting money for education without looking at the 3 teachers that got ‘displaced’ in my district in the eye. How dare you decide what’s best for students without really thinking about them. If you want to help the budget, cutting the education of these students is not very smart. In the long run, you are actually adding to the problem by not giving these kids a fighting chance, but what do I know?

Now, I could stomp my feet, utter a few swears, and call you names, but I won’t because I don’t know you that well and I only save that for people that I know.

I may be speaking for myself here, but I will say this: Being a public school teacher in Aroostook county, I’d gladly secede from the state since we are considered a separate entity. I think we could come up with a better governor, even with our stupid loggers, interested Troy? I’m sorry, that was not nice. My bad. I apologize if I’m not being politically correct, but guess what? I don’t have to be because I’m not in politics. Know your role- it’s call being politically correct for a reason.

Ehh, call someone a bad name today. Just kidding, don’t do that. Thank a public school teacher today, they deserve it.