While I try my best to capture the thoughts and feelings of people who work in public education in this blog, a letter to Governor Cuomo by Chris Ripley, a music teacher in Plainview-Old Bethpage, came my way. For me, it captures the anger and frustration I hear from our members daily. Here it is. I should note that it was written before the passage of the Governor’s Tier VI retirement legislation that will make the lives of public workers even worse.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
As a band teacher in the Plainview-Old Bethpage school district, I confess to being on the periphery of the classroom. Nonetheless, I do spend lunch with my classroom teacher colleagues and I wish to make a comment regarding your relatively recent statement that no one is advocating for children. I must say that I am insulted that the Governor of our State would make such a patently untrue and inflammatory comment so flippantly. These are words uttered by a man who obviously has no clue what prevails in the minds of the teachers that I come in contact with every day. I’m referring to people who would do anything for their students to enable them to succeed and the methods that they are attempting to use to reach those students is, more often than not, at the forefront of our conversations. I would also like to say that the “fixes” that you and your underlings have devised thus far are poorly thought out and are tantamount to trying to shoot a quail with a rocket-propelled grenade. Perhaps you and your ivory-tower comrades should come and have lunch with us someday too! Then, perhaps, we can get into a serious discussion of exactly what our students that you are allegedly advocating for really need!