This year during teacher appreciation week I received several gifts: a customized memo pad and a cactus from one of my senior students, a refugee from Myanmar; a note of thanks from a current student with depression that had been cheered by a simple kindness; a card from a colleague thanking me for the help I give; a free tenders box at Raising Cane’s, a BOGO burrito from Chipotle, and a free meal from our principal, money from his own pocket. Students jokingly asked me, when was their appreciation week? “You get the other 51.”
Then I flipped on the news. Look what the governor got us! A subpoena. Thanks, Matt!
I guess I can understand your petulant rampages. You’re a spoiled brat used to getting what you want 365 days a year – wait, can I say that since you still refuses to reveal how much you make? I guess you’re upset because we took 6 of those days to defend Kentucky’s 656,588 public school students from a blatant legislative assault.
And it worked.
But I guess if you can’t beat a political rival by the books, you can always coerce them into doing your will. And it seems you’ve been hard-wired for coercion.
I get it; you just want to paint teachers in a bad light. If you can just convince everyone that we’re the problem, then you can push whatever anti-union, pro-croney agenda you want.
In the past two years, I’ve been called (in no particular order): thug, ignorant, selfish, uninformed, short-sighted. One might expect that to be the list of Wednesday morning insults from my unruly students; in case you forgot, that’s you, Matt. You’ve attacked my district, calling us an absolute unmitigated disaster. Worst of all, you subverted the idea that we care for our students at all; they’re getting soft because we closed schools in sub-zero temperatures; they’re getting sexually assaulted, poisoned, or physically harmed because we protested to protect the future of public education.
In education we have a word for someone that seeks to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone – especially a party perceived as vulnerable. It’s oft-misused, so let’s be clear – there has to be an imbalance of power, it has to be prolonged over time, and it should be malicious. Anyone have any objections?
The word isn’t leadership. A leader rallies people around them. A leader delegates and unites. A leader does what is best for the majority, not what is best for himself or his friends. You’re no friend of mine, and you’re no friend of the people.
The word is bully.
Matt, you’re a bully. But we see what’s behind the names. You’re scared because the stand we’ve made is effective. Matthew didn’t get his way, poor thing! We know you’re going to continue to try to tear us apart – teacher from teacher, union from teacher, county from county, however you think you can. We know you just want to pit Jefferson County against the rest of the state. But guess what? You can name call all you want. We’re all united on at least one front now – we’re sick of you. Bullying is despicable. And you better bet we’re going to remember in November.
And we’re not backing down. Because every time you pull these legislative stunts, we get better and better at organizing, fact-checking, understanding the legislative possibilities. Your little crusade against our sick days won’t get you anywhere. Now we have systems for making our voices heard without shutting down schools, for disseminating accurate information without overreacting, for sharing our views and backing up our positions without being divided.
So, really, I guess I should be thanking you.
Thanks for what you did when you were still governor,