I am hearing all sorts of hopelessness expressed from educators who so recently were full of hope. I believe with all my gut, heart, and head that it is time to stop rolling over and to get into full sick-of-it mode. If you’re sick, that is. We all know that educators who haven’t signed up to work for the corporate charter CEOs still have about a dozen sick days per year that can be accumulated. I think it is time to start using them to help allay the overwhelming nausea that sets in as we begin to see the outlines of the Obama-Duncan Plan, which is a steroidal version of the Bush-Spellings Plan. More testing, pay-per-score for teachers, bribing students, more corporate charters, urban chain gangs based on KIPP brainwashing camps, weakening of benefits and due process, national testing. So I have a suggestion for the millions of demonized teachers of America:
If you are sick of your leaders cutting deals with the Business Roundtable in order to advance their own careers at your expense, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of being blamed for the societal effects of poverty that none of the oligarchs or politicians will even acknowledge as the problem driving the achievement gap, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of being attacked by nasty, know-nothing editorial editors and writers of the Washington Post and the New York Times who have never been in a public school classroom, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of Presidents who talk about the failure of schools to disguise the governmental failures to provide economic protection, health protection, jobs protection, and retirement protections for the citizens who have been raped by the corporate thieves and the misanthropists like Gates and Broad and Dell who export our work, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of reporters who would rather parrot the lies and exaggerations of the Business Roundtable, rather than talk with teachers who are giving their whole hearts every day to their students, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of businessmen who would rather offer criticism and blame than money to help children to have the resources that our governments refuse to provide, then use a sick a sick day;
If you are sick of education policy that demonstrates that professional trust that has been replaced by policing and monitoring, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of working in a profession that pays thousand less than comparably prepared professionals in other fields, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of being pushed, shoved, derided, slammed, blamed, caricatured, castigated, and mocked by people who are totally ignorant of the jobs teachers do and the sacrifices they make, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of using your own money to buy resources for children that politicians will not provide, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of spending 60 hour a week on your work, only to be mocked for taking summer vacations that you are not even paid for, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of being the brunt of jokes and jabs by arrogant jackasses who would who never learned that there a form of understanding called empathy, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of being told how to do your job by fools and charlatans who need to create a problem in order to sell their snake-oil solution, the use a sick day;
If you are sick of a virulent institutional racism advanced by an uncaring education industry that expects you to abandon your professional ethics in order to impose a form intellectual rigor mortis based on meaningless tests, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of your school being turned into prison camp where children are to be treated as convict laborers, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of the knowledge and understanding you know that children need being replaced by corporate scripts that treat you like an idiot and your students like parrots, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of the anti-cultural curriculums sold by corporations, then use a sick day;
If you are sick of threats to your salary and health insurance and retirement plans and due process rights by greedy oligarchs who control the government and who want to reduce their corporate tax obligations through your sacrifice, then use a sick day.
If you are sick of working your guts out and giving every dollar you could to elect a President that you believed would respect and honor the work of teachers, only to have the George Bush education plan put into overdrive by that new President, then use a sick day.
These are just a few of the reasons to use a sick day, the first of many that will be used until the irresponsible and out-of-touch corporate interests in charge in Washington decide to respect the teachers who have given so much to the noblest profession that is the least appreciated by the fools who now plan to run the public schools into the ground. The worm has turned for the corporate perpetrators, but they don’t even know it yet.
So on April 1, won’t you please leave the fools in charge who are clamoring to control the schools, while you use a sick day to deal with some of the nausea. You have earned it by the most loyal, patient and abiding sense of trust that has been responded to with a kick in the teeth. Take a sick day and use to let your elected officials know that the prison schools are shutting down and that a new school is about to open.