E-flections of an Educator

A Slap in the Face

Posted on: February 17, 2011

I have been a public school educator since spring of 1984 when I began substitute teaching. I was fortunate to be hired in a very progressive school district–cutting edge and innovative. I’ve had many different positions and opportunities over the years.

As if No Child Left Behind (NCLB) wasn’t bad enough, now we have Race to the Top (RTTT), and we really don’t know what the re-authorization of ESEA will bring. The current “reform” movement/agenda/climate just turns my stomach.

This evening, my husband was watching CNN (I wasn’t watching, so I can’t be more specific than that) and someone (being interviewed) actually said that public employee unions are “bankrupting this country” and “teachers are child abusers.”  I cannot repeat here what my husband said, but I can tell you he turned off the TV. I felt sick to my stomach, and for the first time, for all the negative things I’ve heard about public education and educators, that comment nearly made me cry. It was a slap in the face to all of the dedicated, hard-working teachers who give up much–personally and financially–to make a difference in the lives of children every day.

I have almost 27 years of service in Michigan public schools. Which means I have to work for at least three more years to get my full 30 years of service credit.  I’ll need to work another two years or so beyond that until I can collect my pension. Sometimes I wonder if I can make it. But more-so, I wonder…will my pension even be there? Will I have health care? Will I even be able to retire? Will I even have a job? Will public education continue to exist?

I just needed to get that out. Thanks for reading.

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