Monday, June 6, 2011

An Open Letter to Speaker Tillis

Dear Rep. Tillis,

I’m sure in your mind you see yourself as a dedicated public servant. As someone who worked in politics for much of the last four years, I know that it takes dedication and a sense of duty to serve the state. One of the persons who most instilled that sense of service in my growing up was my mother.

As a lifelong servant to the state of North Carolina and dedicated special needs teacher, she has worked with a variety of special needs children for more than two decades. She has had students strip naked, and students throw excrement. She receives phone calls constantly from former students. She has, on one occasion been concussed by a student, and was back at work after less than 48 hours, teaching and serving the citizens of the state of North Carolina. I’d like you to write your response to this letter to her, and tell her yourself that you think she’s only dedicated her life to her paycheck and pension.

In high school I took as many high level and AP classes as I was able to take. One of the classes I had was Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry. I took this class in spite of the fact that I have never been an exceptional student in math. I knew I needed to work harder than most to get the grade I wanted in the class, so I arrived at school at 6:30 every morning, to get 45 minutes of extra help from the retired US Marine who had begun a second career teaching math. He showed up nearly an hour early every single morning to help me learn, and did it after a long career of military service. He could have lived just fine off his military pension. I’d like you to write your response to this letter to him and tell him that the only reason he teaches high school is because he wants a paycheck and a pension.

My third grade teacher was one of the best teachers I have ever had the privilege of studying under. She was young and energetic, and went over and beyond the call of duty for her students. She made learning exciting, engaged every student, and was universally beloved. A few years after I left her class, she was diagnosed with cancer. Through her treatment she continued to teach, and taught our state’s children until her cancer ravaged body couldn’t physically make it through the day. I would love for you to be able to write a letter to her telling her that she only cares about her paycheck and pension, but within a few months of being too sick to teach, she died. She had continued teaching knowing that in all likelihood, she’d never need the pension she had earned.

It seems to me that perhaps you could do with going back to school, and learning from folks who dedicate their lives to educating the future of our state, the folks you don’t seem to care one whit about, and the folks who’s jobs don’t seem to be a part of the “jobs, jobs, jobs” agenda you ran on and subsequently ignored. In any case, if you learned nothing, you should at least have the courage to go to our schools, stand in front of our students, and tell our teachers to their face that they don’t care about the children they spend 7 hours a day with, that they don’t care about the future of the state they live in, that they don’t care about the state and nation that they are serving, and that they don't care about the world they are leaving behind for the next generation, and that all they care about is their pension, and their paycheck.

Something tells me you won’t.

Edit- I figured some context could help, so here is the article Rob wrote on the Speaker's comments. Please feel free to write him yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful testimony, Daniel. As a native North Carolinian, educated in the public schools, I had my share of above-and-beyond teachers, too, as have my children here in Atlanta. Broad, sweeping generalizations hurt everyone and our politicians need to be called on it when they make them.