Friday, March 22, 2013

Education Reform and the Vietnam War- A Teacher's Lament

The Vietnam War was the Vietnam War for my generation. The war on public education is somehow more insidious. At some point the media exposed the Vietnam War for the debacle that it was. The vets came back and their conflicted truths were at least entertained. I teach very disabled students in the inner city, to atone for my family’s involvement in banking and insurance. I even live in the inner city, mostly because it is what I can afford on a teacher’s salary, but I also quote Ruth, “'Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.” Yet I have somehow become the scourge of America, the cause for all the failings of the United States. I take (meager) hope in the fact that when soldiers came back from Vietnam, they were literally spit upon. Thirty years later most people understand the complexity of the situation. Some of the most fabulous folks I know are in Veterans for Peace. I can wait 30 years, gods willing I should live so long, for the acknowledgement that I teach in an incredibly complex situation. My daughter can’t. She is in 7th grade and needs education policy to change this summer.

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