Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Something Good in Our Society

Yesterday, a school was attacked. A teacher died. A student killed him and wounded two other students before killing himself. And a community is still in mourning.

Yet today, we have a chance to reflect on the final heroic act of Sparks Middle School math teacher Michael Landsberry. He tried to take the gun from the shooter. And while he couldn't succeed at that, he succeed at preventing further deaths at Sparks Middle School.

Michael Landsberry died in an effort to protect his students. He committed the ultimate act of heroism. And he reminded us of all the heroic acts our public school teachers commit all the time.

So why are we still listening to those nebulous (billionaire) forces trying to convince us that teachers are "lazy, greedy, and inherently evil"? Why are teachers so often blamed for everything wrong in public education, then expected to work more for less? Why is it OK to constantly berate teachers for just doing their job?

It's saddening to think that it had to take a teacher dying to break through the glitzy campaign to attack teachers. But perhaps today, we can all reflect on the invaluable role that teachers serve in our society... And why so many of them are everyday heroes.

The NRA and the rest of the gun lobby want us to believe that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun". That's clearly not true. There are far more effective ways to do so, such as preventing those "bad guys" from obtaining guns. And of course, we can invest in the kind of social safety net that prevents troubled kids from becoming "bad guys with guns".

So why have we allowed our schools to become armed battlefields? Why can't we instead restore our schools and let them become launch pads for a brighter future?

Yesterday, we once again saw something evil in our society. But now, we're also learning more about something good in our society. Public education is part of the foundation of a better society, and our teachers do amazing work to help students realize their full potential. Why can't we do more to strengthen that something good in our society?

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