Dear Education Warriors,
I gotta tell you something. I spent 3 days…barely even that…more like the 48 hours with you, and I am in awe.
You are the most passionate voices I’ve ever met. You use every keystroke as if it was the very last chance to save our kids…to save my kids. I watched your fingers type so fast, as if they were trying to keep up the burning in your bellies. Your madly-skilled post after madly-skilled post is just plain evidence of your knowledge, and power, and dedication to the truth. No words are left on your battlefields; every one is put to good use.
Those who don’t know you may think you hide behind screens. But I know you walk the walk in real life. I see you—showing up in the classrooms, in the meetings, in homes, and on the stages. It’s not your black thing; not your white thing; not your rich thing; Democrat or Republican thing. It’s your truth thing.
I constantly found myself thinking, “Man, I need to drink from your well everyday.” You challenged me. You crushed me. But mostly you built me back up again and lit my soul on fire.
So after those 48 hours, I walked away overflowing…but also completely and shockingly paralyzed! Suddenly, I couldn’t write a word.
You all are killin’ it!! How humbling to stand in your ranks! How insurmountable is our task?! Have I made ANY difference? Have I helped anyone? Who gives a dang about what I have to say?!
I have been overwhelmed by these inadequacies and questions. And, I’ve been staring at my blank screen for 4 days, unable to commit to the words.
Then our girl, Vesia Hawkins, dragged me out of my paralysis by reminding me who I am. And Arne Duncan’s words started to sound their alarms over and over again. “Keep making space for those in the middle.”
And, I remember why I write. I write because I love my kids. And I love other people’s kids too. Mine, who don’t have to sit in desperately underperforming schools in a desperately poor neighborhood. And, theirs, who too often do. I worry about them every…single…day…because I believe in education and what it can do for the most down-trodden of us.
I am “those in the middle,” and my truth is about quality and justice.
I’m so grateful for you warriors pushing with me against this make-believe story: that we are either a traditionalist or a revolutionary, blue or red, public or private, a winner or loser. I pick the side of 90% of us that live in the middle with our babies. We have been taken on this joyride much too long, continuously dumped off at the nearest school with the latest political educational coupon-voucher and a kiss on the forehead to go on our merry way.
We are not appeased.
We deserve to know if our kids are being taught what they need to thrive and, only speaking truth to power will get us there.
So, I stand proudly with you to blazing the light on the all the faces of education. And, lift you up…
We may not agree on everything, but here’s to our inadequate, small little voices in a sea of politics and rhetoric. We are the sleeping giants afoot. And our voices are a raucous choir!
Until we meet again, my friends. I’ll see you on the screen.