On Newtown and the Demonization of Public School Teachers

To most people teachers are heroes. The tragedy that unfolded in Newtown, CT showed just how accurate that belief has been. Teachers engaged in significant acts of heroism in putting their students lives ahead of their own.

President Obama said of the teachers at Sandy Hook elementary that they “responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.”

Teacher Vicki Soto for doing just that received a hero’s farewell today including a full police honor guard.

But for the last few years some in this country have been hell bent on a campaign to demonize teachers. Led by Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (“FEE”) and his sycophants, like New Mexico Education Secretary designate Hanna Skandera, there has been a well-funded effort to brand teachers as villains.

Here in New Mexico teachers were depicted in a commercial as evil and greedy people who prevent students from being properly educated. The commercial was aired by a shadowy education “reform” interest group that is represented in New Mexico by the sister of Leighann Lenti, the director of policy for Hanna Skandera and Susana Martinez’s Public Education Department.

Skandera and Leighann Lenti often travel out of state on fully paid for excursions funded by FEE and other greedy interest groups. The goal of these groups is to eliminate teacher input into critical education decisions. Instead, they want all education related decisions to be made by private corporations that see children only as dollar signs.

Hanna Skandera is a loyal soldier to those who seek to destroy the public’s opinion of teachers. Why? It is hard to enrich private companies using public money unless you can convince the public that the teachers we pay are unworthy of that money.

Next time Skandera or some greedy interest group vilifies our teachers remember that it is the teachers and not the corporations that put the lives of their students ahead of their own.

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