Notes from the Field
Submitted on June 11, 2012 by Frank Murphy
Almost everyday, some bad news story concerning the School District of Philadelphia seems to be in the newspaper. Budget shortfalls, school closures and employee layoffs are commonplace events. The education of our city’s children has become a political football. It seems that nearly every person with some kind of power or title in our city and state wants to give a good kick to Philadelphia’s schools.
Everyone these days, powerful or not, proclaims to be an expert with their own ideas on how our schools should operate. They say our schools are “broken”. Are they really or have schools become the convenient scapegoats for our society’s unwillingness to take responsibility for all of its citizens? For all of these experts’ criticisms, none of them show any willingness to provide the resources necessary to fully support our public schools. What a depressing state of affairs this all has become.
Amidst this political bickering and acrimony, our schools are indeed taking quite a beating. But despite this sorry situation, there is cause for hope. Teachers, those inspirational people who do the real work of educating our children, haven’t surrendered to the chaos that threatens to overwhelm our school district.
Teachers continue to walk into their classrooms every day and help their children to learn and grow. They know how to plant the seeds of wonder and excitement in their children’s minds. They lovingly tend to their students’ needs, cultivating their development so that the habits of critical thinking and communication can take root.
Educators draw inspiration for their work from other great educators. Our role models aren’t famous business people, billionaires or ambitious politicians. We admire people who have both the commitment and skill to help children find the power of their potential.
It’s been another long and stressful school year. Thank you to all of the great teachers of our city who make our schools a good place for our children to learn and grow. And as you deal with the final details of closing out another year, take a moment to reflect on why you have chosen to be a teacher.
Here is a great song to listen to as you renew your resolve. It is a musical compilation of the words of Fred Rogers, a revered and truly inspirational teacher.