Dear Danya, Lisa, and Melissa, and Trina,
As I reel from tonight’s events in the Wisconsin capitol, as well as the devastating agreement reached by the Green Bay school board yesterday, I am almost too angry to speak. My first reaction is to jump in my car and drive to Madison and join the thousands of protesters in the Capitol — teachers, firemen, cops, nurses, professors, health care workers, graduate students and many other hard-working citizens who want a say in how they are treated. I want to yell, loudly, that in five minutes the legislature was able to deny me the right to even decide if I want collective bargaining.
Instead, I’m writing to you. Because, in addition to whatever protests I participate in, it seems even more crucial that I tell you this: you have made an immeasurable impact on my daughter’s life, on mine, and on the greater community, and the future of Wisconsin. And while recent rhetoric has vilified teachers and characterized them as lazy, entitled, or worse, as someone with a child in the Green Bay public schools, I know better.
Every morning, when my husband and I drop our daughter off at Aldo Leopold Community School, we wait a minute and watch her trudge purposefully to join her classmates. Because of the community that you have thoughtfully and conscientiously created (through mentors, mixed-aged learning projects, etc.) my first-grader walks confidently past the older kids. I never worry that they will bully or threaten her because her teachers are always standing outside in the freezing cold, welcoming students and leading the jostling bunch of red-faced children into the building.
I’ll be honest, I struggle to manage just one child, while every day you teach two dozen six-year olds to read, add, tell time, understand history, learn how things grow, and treat each other kindly – and somehow manage to get 26 pairs of snow boots, snow pants, hats, scarves and 52 mittens to their proper owners.
My daughter reads every day. Thank you. My daughter explains Venn diagrams to me. Thank you. My daughter tries to befriend unpopular kids. Thank you. My daughter loves school. Thank you.