The Next Debate

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Photo by MBK (Marjie)

This morning, I was conflicted as I dropped my children off at school.  On one hand, I was devastated for the parents who won’t be dropping their kids off today.  My heart aches for them as well as the parents whose children lived through the massacre.  I’m sure they face a lifetime of concerns that we will never have to face.  Like so many others, I can’t imagine the depth of grief that accompanies such a senseless loss.

But I was also struck by how thankful I am for the teachers.  The teachers at Sandy Hook, but also the teachers at my kids’ school.  I know that many of them would have done the same heroic things that we saw in Connecticut.  I have no doubt that they would have shielded our children with their own lives.

And now the nation will begin a debate on gun laws.  It’s a good debate, but one that sadly, I predict the NRA will win.  So instead, I pose this question…why aren’t we paying our teachers more?  We are now asking them to do more than teach and grade papers.  We’re asking them to be first responders.  We’re asking them to protect lives.  And in some cases, we’re asking them to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Yet we pay them as though they are a low priority.

Teachers are not perfect.  Yes, there are some terrible ones out there.  But there are also some amazing teachers who engage and motivate students every day.  My sixth grader has been coming home telling me  all about bacteria, because he’s been studying it with a microscope.  My third grader is learning new tricks for memorizing multiplication tables.  And don’t even get me started on how much my immigrant Kindergarten student is learning every day.  The people behind those lessons deserve more.  They deserve to be treated like heroes BEFORE a tragedy strikes, and not just after.  Let’s debate that, my friends.


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