As a teacher, I can't do my job effectively if my students' critical mental health needs are not met. The 2008 National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence shows that children are more likely than adults to be exposed to violence and crime. How can we possibly expect youth who are facing debilitating trauma to catch up with their healthier peers without adequate care?
Today, we live in an America that has yet to live up to the constitutional rights granted to all of her citizens. What feels like a spate of young black men's deaths at the hands of police is only a relatively small -- and recent -- example of this. The fight for racial equality in this country continues. Teachers -- as they always have -- stand on the front lines.
Please know that both legally and ethically, there are times when I want to say something or agree with you but cannot for a multitude of reasons, usually pertaining to the privacy of another student. I will miss your child for the rest of my life, even if your child was incredibly difficult and made my days long and exhausting.
ecently I was thinking about a little boy named Jared who came to live at one of the group homes in Westchester. He was about 5 or 6 years old. We never know the children's back stories, nor their current situations there, except that most of them were orphaned and understandably confused when they first arrive.
To all of my precious students: My guess is that all of you will wonder why I am making you take these tests. And the answer is simple. I have to. Our state and federal government say that I have to give these tests to you. That you must take them. And I need you to know how very sorry I am about that.
If we're to meet the education goals we have set as a nation, if we are committed to liberty and justice for all, and if each student is to meet their individual goals, we need assessment as part of the NCLB reauthorization that is now debated by Congress. Only then will we have a critical tool necessary to help us move forward and grow our students. Otherwise, why teach?