On DeVos and Why I’m Marching

 

 

It has been two months since my last post. Two months since I was overwhelmed with the possibility of the first female President of the United States. Two months since I realized the anger that drives part of our population.

To be frank, I’ve been numb.

I’ve avoided a lot of news, kept to myself on social media, and then — because curiosity killed the cat — I watched the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings.  

As I watched her admit that she was unfamiliar with FEDERAL legislation regarding disability accommodations for students, I about yelled at the television.

“This is some sort of joke.” I told my co-workers the next morning. “This can’t really be happening.”

As tomorrow’s impending “celebrations” inch closer, I’ve realized that the American public has become numb to this sort of ridiculousness.

Appoint a woman who has no idea about public education, has never sent her kids to public school, or as Tim Kaine pointed out, “has no experience overseeing massive monetary programs like college Pell Grants?” Sure.

Why not? We elected a man who has no political experience, promotes rape culture, and has the demeanor of a three-year-old to be President.

But my job? Don’t you even think about being a teacher unless you are “highly qualified”.

In New York you must complete your undergraduate in teaching and a core subject area, pass multiple state required exams (one of which Ms. DeVos obviously needs since it tests the legislation and treatment of students with disabilities) and then get your master’s degree within 5 years of your bachelors. Most people complete the cycle in 7 years and the debt we take on is enormous.

Being married allows me to be a teacher. If I were to suddenly become single I would not be able to afford to work. My student loan payment is as much as my mortgage. My daughter’s weekly daycare is as much as a monthly car payment (10 year old Prius BTW). My daughter and I could survive on my salary, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

When will we start valuing our teachers?

When will we stop blaming the teachers and start looking at the real problems in education?

Could you sit by while an unqualified, inept, and discriminatory doctor examined your child?

Teachers don’t have time to wait it out — and even if you don’t realize the harm coming to your child’s education, we do. We won’t let an unqualified, inept, and discriminatory candidate be appointed Secretary of Education.

And so, with less than a week to go, I found my voice again.

I bought a bus ticket to Washington. Saturday I’ll be marching with hundreds of thousands of women who will show that their voice matters, and will be heard.

I march because I am not helpless.

I march for all of those, like me, who had to pay for a required master’s degree that was never feasible to be paid back on our salary.

I march for my daughter’s teachers at daycare, so that one day they can make a living wage.

I march because my profession is a calling and not a job.

I march for your children, even as you condemn me.  
Remember that in the years to come.

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