Never have I ever thought that I'd be blogging about my political views or thoughts. But here I am, in anger and frustration, wishing it was all a bad dream...
Dear my classroom children,
Yesterday was a really difficult day to go through as a teacher. Not many of you know, but a lady named Betsy DeVos became the Education Secretary for the United States of America. President Trump nominated her and during her hearing (meeting) few weeks back, she proved to be unfit for such position, unable to answer some basic questions and very obviously unaware of our special education program. So yesterday when it was announced that she is our Education Secretary, I cried. You're still probably unphased by it, but one of the big programs the Secretary oversees is special education and how the sped program should run in the United States.
Initially, I cried out of anger. I was angry because she proved to be unfit and not qualified, yet she won. She won because half of the Senate disagreed. Actually, that's where it was part anger and part frustration tears. I'm not so sure if it was out of disagreement she earned half of Senate votes or if it was out of money hunger and greed. If it's the latter, then truly with a fist in the air, I am very disappointed in the system. Being a teacher to you and in this community, money is not something that comes easily to your families. Money is very hard earned. I know that your parents and guardians teach you the actual value of money and I respect them for that. I try to instill similar practice and perspective even in the classroom. Therefore, when someone wealthy waltzes into such position, what is that teaching you guys? (The complete opposite...) So now, here we are- a society where if you are wealthy, then money can buy you anything. Meanwhile, the middle and lower class continues to work hard, often struggle financially, and dream of having a pinch of their wealth..
Then, the fear. What is going to happen to public schools? What will happen to special education programs? What will happen to my/our classrooms? (She has the power to take away "our" classroom). Will the IDEA Act change? What will future IEP document write ups look like? What will your FAPE Part I look like? So many questions and insecurities, all out of fear.... But you know what, I practiced my "centered breathing" and thought of something else to stay in control of my emotions (6th graders, this was our most recent Second Step lesson!).
I thought of why I stand in front of you daily. I thought of the countless hours I put into lesson planning and coming up with 101 different strategies to teach one concept. I thought of the minutes, days, months, and some- years, that I've spent with some of you and the impact you've made in my career. I thought of all the "no's" you've heard in the past, all the anger and frustration you must've felt as a student when you tried so hard to understand something but it just didn't make sense... I thought of all of your small in "achievement" but huge in personal growth accomplishments and how proud I am of each and every single one of them. DeVos' confirmation reminded me of my passion and the drive to do what I do.
Students, current and past, I am here for you. I will continue to stand up for you and the need for our programs. I am fighting for you and all that you deserve and need. I will continue to advocate for proper eligibility, LRE's and placement, as well as smart annual goals and accommodations. I will continue to provide moments where you can experience your own personal boundaries and capabilities. I will keep pushing you and expect the most from you, knowing that if you put your mind and believe in your own self, then you can really see yourself the way I see you- full of potential with limitless possibilities. I will continue to monitor your progress and celebrate each growth. I will continue to let you shine in your own special unique ways because individuality is something to be recognized and celebrated. The struggles in the classroom are real but the joy you bring into my life is so much sweeter. I will stand for you, always. That is a promise. I got your back, my sped kidlings!
Love, Ms. Lee