The purpose of public education in this country is not something to fucking debate. It’s a part of American history and contrary to popular fucking opinion, history is made up of objective facts.
In a fucking nutshell: early 1800’s Bostonians got pissed about educational inequality. Hell hath no fury like a disenfranchised New Englander, so they didn’t fucking sit around and Tweet about it. They understood that good citizens needed to be educated, and that good citizens didn’t always have the fucking money for an education, so they fucking made public education so that everyone, and not just the fucking rich people, could be a good fucking citizen.
Now, there are a handful – an overflowing, festering handful of idiots who don’t seem to fucking understand this. They are ignorant, and it’s not okay, but fortunately these maggoty morons who know nothing about public education are fucking with a collection of folks who are really good at dealing with people who don’t know stuff.
We have a lot of experience squashing ignorance. It’s our literal job: children come to us knowing varied degrees of nothing about whatever it is we’re trying to get them to understand and we lead them out of the darkness and into, or at least toward, the light.
We never greet the ignorance of our students with anger or hate. We greet it with fucking resilience and a belief that every child can grow, even the sophomore with a third-grade reading level or the undocumented child with no English language skills or the kid so poor she wears the same dirty tee-shirt to school every day, year round, even when it’s 30 degrees outside. Every child deserves a chance. Every fucking child.
So when an inexperienced, ignorant, unqualified, delusional perspective shows up on the main stage of public education, we’re not afraid. We’re mad. And you know what mad teachers do? They fix shit.
You want to dismantle public education? Go the fuck ahead and try. You know what you’ll get? A legion of die-hard, fully committed public educators who – as we have done in the past, as we do every fucking day to some degree – can and will sacrifice every fucking part of ourselves (not because we want to, but because we have to) for the citizens who aren’t getting their fair share: our students. The poor ones and the undocumented ones and the non-Christian ones and the ones whose parents understand that free, public education is better than for-profit, bullshit institutions that indoctrinate instead of educate.
If you gut the crucial institution of public education, the children left within it will rise because public educators will lift them up, will never stop lifting them up. And when these children reach the top – because they fucking will – it will have been such a battle, such an unfair struggle, that these future citizens will come for the ignorant, delusional, inequitable system that forced them to fight for the right to be an educated citizen.
They will be smarter and stronger than those who tossed them aside.
And they will be mad.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said education’s function is to gift the recipient with knowledge plus character. That’s what these little citizens will amass in their sub-par public school classrooms, stripped of resources and funding and everything that’s been taken away from them before. All they will have left is a teacher, a teacher so committed that budget cuts and resource droughts and dissenting communities will not deter them from doing the necessary public service of educating future citizens. A good teacher with no resources can out-educate a bullshit teacher with a for-profit, bullshit institution footing the bill.
The good teachers will remain where they are needed. The good teachers will never work for you. Go ahead and fucking try to attack public education, but heed Gavroche’s warning to the oppressors of his own time:
“Never kick a dog, because he’s just a pup: we’ll fight like 20 armies and we won’t give up. So, you better run for cover when the pup grows up.”