In over 10 years of using social media I can say with almost absolute certainty that I have never used the “F-word” in any public post, Tweet, bookmark, note or whatever else…until today. It took me a few minutes to push “publish” on that Tweet, but in the end, the anger I’m feeling about what’s being done to public education in this country coupled with our growing political dysfunction drove me to it. That and the fact that 40,000 other Tweets with that hashtag had been posted in the last day or so, not one of which I could find on a quick search that dealt with schools or learning or kids. The anger is building everywhere it seems, but around education.
I know, I know. As Wes suggests, on some level it probably wasn’t appropriate, and were I still in the classroom, I doubt I would have done it. And I know there are other people besides me who are angry about what has happened to the profession and to the system who are voicing it in more “productive” ways. There are lots of educators taking to the streets this week in Washington, DC, and there are others writing letters to the editor and op-ed pieces and more. I commend all of those folks for doing what they can do to articulate the many complex sides to the education debate.
But here’s the thing: If you’re a public school educator in the U.S. right now, how can you not be angry? How can you not be doing something, even if it is just a profanity laced Tweet? The profession is being trampled. Politicians and businessmen with no background in education are driving reform. And our students are stuck in a system that still thinks it’s the 19th Century. By any standard, including the tests, our kids are not being well served, especially those who live in poverty. As a community, we’re in a fight, whether we like it or not, yet we seem more inclined to figure out Google+ than to make our voices heard to the policy makers who seem to have no desire to figure out what’s best for our children and care more about their re-election campaigns.
I mean really…what’s it going to take?