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Bully Free: It Starts With Me!
Happy American Education Week. In honor of the week-long celebration, I was asked to focus my remarks this week on my “vision” for an amazing public school system. Oh my.
The last time I did that, I was accused of smoking something. Apparently there is a fine line between “vision” and “hallucination”. But I will repeat myself and tell you exactly what I want in my visionary, dreamy, hallucinogenic, utopian planet.
Aside from the obvious (that you would never have to go down to Staples and buy your own reams of paper because there wasn’t enough in the District budget for such exotic baubles), I would be in charge.
I’m pushy that way. In my system, classroom teachers would be in charge.
There would never be a Non-Teacher who would hand us a script to read to our students or give us a ridiculous goal (100% of your kids WILL be above average) or a ridiculous prize (and if they ARE then you get more pay) or a ridiculous punishment (and if you don’t achieve a statistical impossibility, which could only be accomplished by cheating, you get fired.)
Josh is eight years old in third grade in his public school here in fabulous New York City. He thinks I look like a desperate housewife.
I don’t watch the show, so I have no idea if that’s a compliment or not. But he came to the New York Public Library’s kick-off event for NEA’s Read Across America sponsored by our faithful partner, Target, and he was told he was going to see movie stars.
He met Mark Ruffalo (an actor up for an Academy Award and an ardent activist for clean water who passionately read The Lorax to Josh and about 200 of his school mates). He met Uma Thurman, an actor who faithfully reads her children to sleep.
He met rap artists and singers and authors who have large followings of fans. So when he saw me, he ran up to me and said with eyes shining, “I know I’ve seen you on TV! What’s your show?”
I said, “If you guess right, I’ll tell you.”