East Dallas resident and Lake Highlands High School AP teacher Catherine “Casey” Boland is a fierce defender of public schools, and it’s not uncommon for her to take to social media to advocate when issues of public education arise. She did that last week when Betsy DeVos, an advocate for school vouchers, was under scrutiny as nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education.
Her Facebook post has now been shared more than 6,000 times and liked by almost 10,000. You can read it on Facebook here and see the full text below.
“I had no idea my post would go viral. If I really thought anyone but my mom would read it, I would have spent 30 seconds editing it,” joked Boland. “Despite the raised eyebrows of the grammar Nazis, I stand by it. I have heard from former students and colleagues, and friends, of course, which has been sweet. I even had a student who said he read it because his aunt in Massachusetts saw it and reposted it. Social media is a beautiful and terrifying thing.”
I asked if she’d experienced any backlash.
“I don’t feel there was any ‘backlash,’ simply because I don’t think it is a problem if someone disagrees with me. Not everyone has been Jesus-level kind about their disagreements, but that’s fine. I haven’t read all of the comments, but most of them seem to be fairly supportive.
“It think it drew a crowd because the confirmation of Mrs. DeVos is disrespectful to so many, for different reasons, which is why I wrote, ‘Despite pleas from tens of thousands who are in the trenches every day, and know of which they speak, these 51 people put party and politics above the best interest of millions of kids.’”
In the end, DeVos was confirmed, but she required Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote – the first time ever a cabinet confirmation depended on such help to break a logjam. Boland says she will continue to advocate for students at Lake Highlands High School, RISD and public schools everywhere. Here is Boland’s post:
Why are people upset about DeVos?
In the 2014-15 school year, Texas spent $9,559 per student in grades K-12 (DMN). Public schools are being compared to the outcomes of private companies like Hockaday, which charges $22,833 for day school (per a Google search).
For the record, Hockaday is a stellar school. Send your kid there, if you so choose. This isn’t about Hockaday.
Public schools teach every kid who comes to their doors – Mayflower legacy and recent refugee; PhD parents and 6th grade drop-out parents; rich and poor; gifted and special needs. K-12, which is longer than most countries. Everyone. And they have amazing successes. Most people in America who are successful (defined any way you want) are products of public schools – even the majority of those people who are now anti-public schools.
Private schools take who they want, if the applicant can pay.
Public schools have no application process. No fees. No anything. They teach who shows up. No matter what. Ankle bracelet because you are awaiting trial for murder? Come on in. English is your fifth language? Or not one you know? Have a seat. You are capable of learning at a 2nd grade level? Here – take Biology and try to pass the state mandated exam. If you fail, it will be your teacher’s fault.
Public schools are beset by arbitrary evaluation systems, bizarrely awful state tests that bring in millions to private companies, and constant belittlement. They are told they have “plenty of money” and “anyone can teach” by people who haven’t set foot in a public school in decades, if ever. And now the answer is pull funds away from public schools trying to serve all to give to private companies that will only serve a few? In what chapter of The Looking Glass is that logic?
Yes, public schools fail sometimes. Sometimes all of the talent and effort and tears and desire cannot leap the hurdles in the paths of some kids. But they try. And they cry real tears for the kids who don’t make it. Real tears – not political ones.
Today public school teachers and administrators and students and parents were slapped in the face by 50 Senators and Vice-President Pence, who said a political donor with no public education experience is worth more than they all are. Despite pleas from tens of thousands who are in the trenches every day, and know of which they speak, these 51 people put party and politics above the best interest of millions of kids.
So, yeah, some people are a little upset today.
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