I, too will be damned!
“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the unions or anyone else in the education establishment lose another generation of Oklahoma’s children.”
In response to the OEA’s internet poll in which participants gave Janet Barresi an F as state superintendent, she once again lashed out at the people who actually work with kids every day. I don’t know if you can listen to that quote and somehow not be offended. It’s hard for me.
I don’t spend a lot of time on this blog talking about unions, and for good reason. This blog is about education policy. I focus on the rules and decisions people make and how those impact the profession. Sometimes that dovetails with what the unions do, but not always.
Nobody enters the profession thinking they want to join something. Teachers want to work with children. Or they love their content areas. They join their union (or association, depending on how they’ve organized themselves) for a variety of reasons. Or they don’t. I’m not sure what percentage of teachers belongs to OEA, AFT, POE, or any other teacher group. Whatever it is, they are some of the most dedicated people working in the schools.
That’s also not to say that that the teachers who don’t belong to their union are less dedicated. A lot of what can predict union membership is the culture of the school. In some places, it’s not a priority. But nowhere is it required.
The other members of the education establishment to whom she refers are administrators. Again, I don’t know the percentages, but many join their principal organizations or CCOSA, the umbrella group that serves all of them, providing support and advocacy. They began their careers in the classroom – as teachers.
What offends me though, more than the rampant misidentification and straw man fallacy, is the statement after the profanity. Which of the 2,000 regular readers (or the readers who receive this as a forward in your email) think you’ve contributed to the loss of a generation of Oklahoma’s children? If I were completely honest, the language she used in that statement would be mild compared to what I really want to say.
Instead, here are my nice words.
When the SDE needed help rolling out reforms such as TLE and the Common Core, they enlisted the help of veteran educators – some through the OEA, and some through CCOSA. Think whatever you want about teacher unions, but when the SDE needed someone to do the heavy lifting, they called the OEA.And those $2,000 raises Barresi has been clamoring for at campaign whistlestops? Those would go to the teachers who have … what was the phrase again … oh yeah, lost generations of children.
I’ve spent every day of my career trying to help children. Some come to me with every advantage in the world. I try to help them. Some come broken by life. Their parents, the foster care system, something somewhere has let them down. I try to help them too. They all deserve nothing but the best, and on any given day, I may be the only one with an opportunity to tell them that. It takes working with children every day to know that.
And I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to let some half-wit politician make me feel differently.