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The only good response I can think of to Teach for America marketing VP David Rosenberg’s demand that Diane Ravitch take down her “reprehensible” post called “The Hero Teachers of Newtown” is to repost it.

December 19, 2012

dianeravitch

Diane Ravitch’s Blog

This much is clear: the teachers and staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School reacted with astonishing courage to the unthinkable, the terrifying intrusion of a man intent on murdering them and their students. With no thought of their own safety, they defended their children..

Everyone of them is a hero, those who died and those who survived.

Six of them died protecting the children.

We don’t know the names of the survivors, but we know who made the ultimate sacrifice. For their courage and selflessness, they are heroes of American education.

The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and the school psychologist, Mary Sherlach, 52, ran towards the intruder to try to stop him. They both were killed.

The killer went in search of defenseless babies and teachers. The teachers heard the gunfire, tried to hide their children, hid them in closets and cabinets.

Vicki Soto, 27, put herself between the killer and her children. He killed her. Somehow some of them escaped. Six ran to a nearby house. They told the surprised homeowner,, “We can’t go back to our school. Our teacher is dead. We don’t have a teacher.”

Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was a special education teacher who was devoted to the children she taught. When her body was found, little Dylan Hockley was in her arms.

Rachel D’Avino was a new teacher, who was getting her doctorate in special education. She was a behavioral analyst. Her boyfriend planned to ask her to marry him during the Christmas holiday. Like the other teachers, she died shielding students.

Lauren Rousseau, 30, had joined the faculty in November. She was thrilled. All her life, her mother later said, she wanted to be a teacher.

Every one of the teachers was a career educator. Every one was doing exactly what she wanted to do. They’ve worked in a school that was not obsessed with testing but with the needs of children. This we know: the staff at Sandy Hook loved their students. They put their students first, even before their own lives.

Oh, and one other thing, all these dedicated teachers belonged to a union. The senior teachers had tenure, despite the fact that “reformers” (led by ConnCAN, StudentsFirst, and hedge fund managers) did their best last spring to diminish their tenure and to tie their evaluations to test scores. Governor Malloy said, memorably, to his shame, that teachers get tenure just for showing up. No one at Sandy Hook was just “showing up.”

Governor Dannell Malloy has led the effort in his state to expand charter schools and high-stakes testing. He appointed a state commissioner of education who co-founded a charter chain. He said, memorably, that he didn’t care how much test prep there was so long as scores go up. Sandy Hook is not that kind of school.

Let us hope Governor Malloy learned something these past few days about the role of public schools in their communities.

Newtown does not need a charter school. What it needs now is healing. Not competition, not division, but a community coming together to help one another. Together. Not competing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2012 8:56 am

    Fred, thanks for all you are doing out there!

    As an avid reader of your blog, I truly appreciate you putting the truth front and center.

    As a pro-public education blogger in Connecticut, we are all trying to come to grips with the incomprehensible events events of December 14, 2012.

    But one thing we know, those teachers, like virtually all teachers were true first responders and true heros.

    Diane Ravitch has been kind enough to posted a few items that we Connecticut public school advocates have written this week and we truly appreciate that – as we appreciated the blog post you mention here.

    Like you, I was shocked by the absurd comments from the TFA and others. Here is my take on the situation:

    TFA Leaders and Education Reform commentators make Diane Ravitch even more relevant: http://jonathanpelto.com/2012/12/19/tfa-leaders-and-education-reform-commentators-make-diane-ravitch-even-more-relevant/

    So let’s get this right. Diane Ravitch correctly points out that these teachers were career professionals that all belonged to a union, some of them had tenure, while others were working toward tenure…AND THAT ALL OF THEM were negatively impacted by legislation proposed by Governor Malloy. In return she is described as someone who is incapable of decency or logical thinking by education reform commentators like RiShawn Biddle.

    Diane Ravitch’s comments were absolutely and totally correct. These teachers were career professionals, they did belong to a union, some did have tenure and some were working toward tenure AND ALL OF THEM WERE negatively impacted by Governor Malloy’s “education reform” plan.

    You can defend Malloy’s plan if you want, but you can’t say Connecticut’s new “education reform” bill didn’t impact these heroes and all the other teachers and school professionals in Connecticut!

    Mr. Biddle, it is you who should take a look in the mirror. Then you’ll see what someone unable to engage in telling the truth or logical thinking looks like. Your politics of hate is not welcome in Connecticut. It wasn’t welcome when you supported Governor Malloy’s anti-teacher, anti-union proposal last spring and it certainly isn’t welcome here as we grapple with the unimaginable horror of December 14, 2012.

    Yes, there are people trying to capitalize on the tragedy, but it certainly isn’t those of us who are providing our readers with the truth. It is the people like the TFA leadership and this Mr. Biddle who are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Carrie permalink
    December 19, 2012 11:24 am

    Years of teacher bashing — funded by Gates, Broad, and Walton Family-foundations, the NGA and the DoE — were designed to assassinate the character of the teaching profession. It was so outrageous.

    The aim was to not only de-professionalize teachers but to de-humanize them. Privatizers would face less public criticism as they sought to reduce teachers’ numbers, their unions, their pay and pensions, and their ability to exercise their professional judgment to do what is best for the children instead of the bottom line.

    Teachers are heroes.

    And the teachers and their students in the urban centers face violence daily on a magnitude that is relentlessly steady and shocking.

    All this must be considered before our politicians and privatizers go right back to marketing charters, online curriculum, online testing, online databases on students’ and teachers’ test scores to our kids.

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