Why I Don’t Want an Apology from Time Magazine
By: Patte Carver-Hevia
This week Time Magazine (November 3 issue) is running a piece about how difficult people think it is to fire bad teachers and how deep pockets may have found a way to change that.
I have read the teacher outrage. “Cancel my subscription!” “Boycott Time!” “Time owes teachers an apology!”
No offense to my colleagues, but I don’t want an apology.
When my husband (a Cuban political dissident and then rafter) and I first started going out, his English was rudimentary and my Spanish was just a bit better. One Sunday afternoon we went to an electronics show at the county fairgrounds. You know the kind. Everything for sale at an inexpensive price. Nothing worth spending money on.
At the entrance, we spotted the “Win a Vacation” (in this case, a cruise to the Bahamas) papers to fill out. My husband wanted to fill one out. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was a scam. He filled out the paper, used my address and phone number because he didn't have a phone, and dropped the paper in the box.
On Monday we were watching Wheel of Fortune at my apartment when the phone rang. A young man wanted to speak to my husband. He claimed that my husband won a vacation. He (my husband) would have to pay a boarding fee and purchase airline tickets and what credit card did he want to use to pay for everything.
I explained the language issue and that I would have to translate. As I translated the young man asked if my husband was interested in the vacation. I had to answer that I didn't know yet because I was still translating. Sometimes translating can take time. For example, for a long time I couldn't pronounce “refrigerator” in Spanish, but I could say, “That thing in the kitchen that keeps food cold.”
As I was translating, I heard the line click. I wasn't sure if the young man had put me on hold or if he had hung up. I continued to translate as I held the phone against my ear. I heard another click, and I could tell the young man was back on the line because I could hear others speaking in the background. He said nothing. Then I heard another click. Silence.
I hung up. About thirty seconds later, as I was explaining what had just happened to my husband, the phone rang again. This was before the days of caller ID for me, so I answered the phone.
And I heard:
“You f*cking spic. Why didn't you just say you don’t want the god d*mned vacation? Get the h*ll off my line.”
Normally I wouldn't give something like that a second thought. This was different though.
I spent six hours the next day climbing the phone tree. I started with the county fairgrounds staff. To another number and another and another and another.
Each time I repeated the story and what the young man had said. And anyone who knows me knows that I do not use vulgar language. I was careful to explain that I was simply repeating what was said to me.
Each time I heard a gasp on the other end of the line.
Each time I heard, “I’m so sorry!”
Each time I answered, “Thank you. I appreciate that. What I want though is to speak to that young man’s boss.”
Finally, I was on a speaker phone with the boss.
I told my story one last time.
And one more time I heard, “I’m so sorry.”
I said, “Thank you. I appreciate that. I don’t want an apology though. I want that young man’s job. He had access to my address and telephone number and he said that. I don’t think he’s someone you want representing your company to the public.”
He said, “You have it.”
I have no way of knowing if that young man truly lost his job or not. I had my say. I moved on.
So how does this tie to the Time article? Do I want to talk to the editor of Haley Sweetland Edwards and demand her job? Do I want an apology from her or her editor or from Time?
What do I want?
I want a voice.
I want a seat at the educational policy table.
I want someone like Haley Sweetland Edwards to write the WHOLE story. She had access to so much more information and decided to write that. She’s talking to deep pockets about education, as if money makes the expert, but she isn't talking to teachers. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one.
I want Time to get it right.
I want judges like Treu (in the Vergara case in California case) to know what they are talking about before they make rulings.
I want people to understand that the likes of Gates and Welch are businessmen, not teachers. No matter what they say and no matter how philanthropic some of their efforts may be, their goal is to make a profit, not to benefit students. If they were truly interested in helping students, they wouldn't go about it by going after teachers.
I want action.
No, I do not want an apology. Like a PPO, an apology from Time would just be words on a paper. Meaningless. The toothpaste isn't going back in the tube, and I have a feeling Time would just make a bigger mess trying to shove it back in.
I’m willing to educate you, Haley, Time, Welch, Gates, Treu, and so many more.
The question is are you willing to put in the time, effort, and mental energy to LEARN?