My Wish for Public Educators in 2023: Let Us Teach!

Welcome to 2023 friends where public education seems to be a convenient tool in America’s hyper partisan politics battle. What was once a bipartisan effort of our democracy has now become overrun with a focus on opportunistic divisiveness. The assumed credibility of the latest disinformation posted to one’s preferred social media channel will have enormous consequences on the educational experience of the American children for generations to come.

Those consequences aren’t simply relegated to what children should and should not learn. There are even more important implications such as who will teach them and choose to be subjected to this type of infighting overshadowing their simple desire to make a difference in the lives of children. Who will lead the teachers, watching politicians at every level operate with an assumed distrust of the public education system and often those who lead it? How has this dark cloud of attack and distrust already impacted the public education profession? Could it be responsible for the extreme teacher shortage many states are experiencing? Might it be the reason that the number of students choosing to major in education at institutions of higher learning is starkly declining? Is anyone thinking of the impact of these things in the years to come? I know I am. I find myself gravely concerned about the future of public education more so than the present drama surrounding it.

I am of the belief that no other profession is as subjected to being used as a political pawn quite like ours. That’s because we are a universal experience for all people. All children must be taught, and whether that is done in a public system or a private system, it must happen. Children must learn and someone must teach them. However, just because schooling is a shared experience, doesn’t makes each of us equally equipped to determine how it should be done. Imagine everyone deciding they knew best how to provide medical care because of their experiences going to the doctor? I know. It’s laughable, and may seem like a bit of an extreme analogy but the concept is the same. What is different, in my opinion, is the level of respect for those who choose to teach and those who choose to provide medical care. Our work is equally important and we can be sure that a quality public education leads to a better quality of life.

If I had one wish for our profession for the new year it would be simple: Let us teach! Allow us to do the jobs we’ve been trained and credentialed to do. Stop draining our passion with the partisan hot topic of the quarter. Don’t make waves where there are none. Support and encourage us. Help us recruit the best and brightest to our profession. Provide adequate funding for this noble work. Partner with us so that together we can give our children what they deserve: the absolute best educational experience we can offer.

We didn’t get into this work because we wanted to battle political strategist who find our profession a convenient tool to accomplish larger partisan goals or personal political aspirations. It’s simple. We care about children, their future, and their education. We want to teach them, support them, and encourage them. We want them to become productive, contributing citizens who serve their communities. It’s really not that complicated. We just want to teach.

Until next time, be you, be true, be a hope builder!

Latoya

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