As a substitute teacher in the San Francisco and South San Francisco schools for over twenty years – and some before that in Boston – you might say that I’ve seen it all. Covering from K to 12, Physics to Phys Ed, I’ve been in more classrooms than any administrator or regular teacher. While this by no means makes me an expert on matters like the phonics/whole language debate, there is a great deal that I have learned.
One thing is immense respect for the day to day work that regular teachers do. Another is the impossibility of the task we have assigned to the American educational system. In this country, you are not guaranteed housing or a job. And you are still not guaranteed health care. Just about the only thing you are guaranteed is a free public education. And it falls to the education system therefore to fix all of society’s ills. If kids who come into the system with vastly unequal situations and prospects also come out with very unequal future prospects, it is the educational system that has failed.
Even if our educational system were equally funded it could not possibly make up for all of society’s inequalities. And it is not adequately funded. And the for-profit charter school industry is continually nipping at the funding it does have.
It will be one of the tasks of this campaign to develop a comprehensive legislative education program. More to come. (And your input invited.)