As I have been pushing through these last couple week of my semester here at UT I have had assignment on top of assignment for my education classes due. Of course, the stress of classes combined with all the little stresses of life through these last weeks leads one to sometimes question what am I doing all this work for?? Will it really make a difference, or am I just cranking out one assignment after another just to mark that off on my planner? After reading this article about happenings in New Jersey yesterday, I am reminded about my long term goal which needs all these small steps in place to accomplish...become a teacher that makes a difference!
We have seen currently the world of education under fire in America, but every now and then something happens that brings a breath of fresh air to this charged topic. Yesterday in New Jersey, due to budget cuts about to happen in different school districts students finally took a stand on how they feel about budget cuts sweeping America to lay-off more and more teachers. Thanks to one young woman making a facebook group calling for a peaceful demonstration to show that students do not want to lose their teachers thousands of students got up out of their classroom desks and marched outside to protest the budget cuts plaguing the atmosphere of the education system. Some picketing signs saying "We love out teachers" and "Dream Killers!" all with one purpose to let the nation know these teachers mean something to these kids, they are not some number on an end of year budget that someone can just cut off, these are human beings, breathing life into these kids everyday, hoping to inspire them to reach their dreams in life. One group of students even walked all the way to City Hall!
Speaking of City Hall, of course this demonstration was not met without a statement from the side of the governing body in New Jersey. The governor, who is the individual taking away funding from the state education system did have something to say, to quote the governor's press secretary, "...students belong in the classroom. “It is also our firm hope that the students were motivated by youthful rebellion or spring fever, and not by encouragement from any one-sided view of the current budget crisis in New Jersey.”
Well, I am glad to hear that the governor thinks students belong in a classroom, but what does he think they are learning in a classroom, to sit and follow directions? If these teachers have touched these students enough so that they are protesting to not lose their beloved teachers, I think these teachers have achieved the overarching job that any educator has...to help guide their students into becoming a global citizen of the world we live in, which entails standing up for what they think is right. Therefore, I think these students were right where they need to be!
Another interesting point to note about this story is the way that this grassroots movement was started. This did not start by a meeting people attended or speeches to rally the masses, but by a social networking group...Facebook! How better to reach kids of this age! It refreshing to see a network that is more associated with broadcasting the next party for members to sign up to attend, was used to call for a demonstration for the greater good!
For the article in NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/nyregion/28jersey.html