Here is my comment/response to the article in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss (When will our nation’s leaders get it through their thick heads that we have a serious poverty problem in America?)….
As our nation’s poverty level rises, so does the teacher bashing. As a teacher in the trenches of a public school in Florida, I am tired of hearing that I do not work hard or smart enough; that I’m lazy; that I’m for the “status quo”; that I’m ineffective;…and so on.
We have a problem in America and it is neglect. Pointing the finger at teachers will NOT fix the problems. As a teacher, I see hungry, tired children; children who have been traumatized, children with parents in prison, and children who are homeless or on the verge of being homeless. At my little public school, we now have over 100 kids who are homeless or “in transition”. Our kids need help: psychological, behavioral, housing, proper nutrition, jobs for their parents, etc.
Our government has demontrated its disdain for its children by ignoring the needs of the hurting child while pointing a finger at his teacher. Valerie Strauss is spot-on with this article. For those of you throwing punches, I haven’t seen you in my Title I school helping out. But, I have seen numerous teachers, staff, and principals open up their wallets to help out poor students with clothing, books, food, and other necessities. Public school educators are in the trenches everyday trying to battle the neglect…and the battle keeps getting worse. We need to address poverty issues (and all the ills that go along with it, including jobs) in this country. Quality pre-K is a definite need, but we need to start even earlier with education during pregnancy. We’ve got to slow this “Race to the Top” down and address the barriers to learning or we will continue to see our poverty levels climb to third world status.