I have a student, and I want you to remember her name, Mikela Ryan, who is taking readers into the very heart of the heroin epidemic in a Upper Westchester Community. I find myself being being torn apart emotionally by the stories she is telling, one of which is that of a high school classmate who died of an overdose shortly after he spoke to her at length. The thought that there are thousands, likely tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young people, carrying around the burdens this young man articulated and are killing themselves while harming those around them is both sobering and terrifying.
And I had a thought. With all these young people in trouble, in small towns, suburbs and rural areas, as well as cities, what we need more than ever is teachers who are there for their students as people not just as test takers, who listen to their students, take care of their students, create a place for their students to go, emotionally, when the world seems hopeless and forbidding., THOSE are the teachers we need in our schools yet those are the teachers being driven out by accountability measures that discourage teachers from dealing with their children as whole people
Can we take a long time out from the policies we are inflicting on our schools?. Can we have a moratorium on testing and really take a close look at what our young people are going through in their personal lives?.Can we suspend all test based accountability measures and start identifying the teachers who care the most about their students as whole people and empower them to reach out and throw a lifeline to our children who are in the most trouble?
Because what we are doing now is costing us lives. Young people shutting down, closing themselves off, and killing themselves and those around them. This is a crisis being made WORSE by every education policy being promoted at the federal and state level
Time for a change, or we will continue to pay a terrible price.