Thursday, July 30, 2015

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     Where Have the Dreams and Democracy Gone?

     by Larry Proffitt, Member of Tennessee BATs and the BAT Leadership Team




    As I have watched films lately that speak to the privatization movement entrapping public education, I've observed teachers' many comments about the change in their original dream of being an educator.

    The fire has dwindled in their eyes.

    I'm concerned for this lost passion for the classroom that they appear to exude.

    If they have become so discouraged, what is to become of the dreams of the students they teach?

    Dreams are shared and inspired by educators, but the dreams seem to be dying, and along with the dreams, the future of democracy seems to be fading.

    An agricultural experiment at the University of Tennessee was never meant to squash the dreams that education is capable of inspiring, but it has happened.*

    I speak to teachers daily trying to encourage them, but they have become discouraged and ready to leave the profession.

    This is a double whammy because of the experience and passion needed to mentor new teachers, but this does not seem to affect most politicians. They have either bought into the false propaganda about failing schools, or they are a part of the false propaganda machine. 

    Copycat legislation circles our nation striking down any protections available for our teachers, and in effect, our students. With those protections, fear creeps into the profession of teaching. Fear is powerful. It creates an environment of uncertainty and submissiveness. 

    What can be done to reverse the trend steamrolling through America on the false rails of misinformation? 

    Education and solidarity are the only tools available to educators. With these tools, teachers are reaching out to parents, and they rally every grassroots group who will lend an ear. 

    It is vital that parents, students, and community members join in the movement meant to derail the privatization movement. It is the only hope to put the inquisitive minds and philosophers back in play in our society. 

    We must once again ask, "What if.....?"

    We must once again make curiosity ruler of the classroom, along with imagination and play. 

    Our children are our most precious resource. 

    We must think of them and their future, and with that comes the future of democracy. 

    So, when someone reminds you that dreams become the foundation of aspiring inventors or creative minds solving society's issues, remind them that the dreams are disappearing and soon after, democracy.



    *A professor at UT was the creator of Value-Added formula to assess crop yield. It was later applied to educational gains.

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