So, I was going to write a different post tonight, but right now I am so fired up about something else that I kind of have to write about it instead.
I just saw a piece on CBS 60 Minutes (online) about The SEED School, (which is largely funded by The SEED Foundation) where I used to teach in Washington, D.C. Okay, let’s just put it out there that the piece wasn’t perfect. However, I have definitely come to realize that almost no media is ever going to be ‘perfect,’ at least not in everyone’s eye. The piece did give a pretty accurate thumbnail of what SEED is all about. Also, SEED itself is not perfect, but I don’t know a school out there that is. Now, with those two caveats out of the way, here is what has my blood boiling to the point that I had to write about it on here:
People who write nasty, hateful comments on anything and everything and who do it with the comfort of anonymity (i.e. on the internet).
I mean, you want to tell me that racism and sexism don’t still exist? Go to any single article online and scroll down through the comments. By about comment number 17 you can bet your bottom dollar that someone has ‘taken it there.’ It’s as predictable as the gay affair that the politician fighting the hardest against gay rights is currently engaging in.
Of course, in this particular situation people were saying nasty things about MY kids (Yes, if I have any former students reading this, that is still how I feel!) and I couldn’t help myself…I stooped to their (the commenters) level. Well, I tried not to get nasty and I hope my thoughts came out in an intelligent manner, but I did comment. And here is how this ties into being a ‘Real Mommy,’ because just a few weeks ago I was quoted in an article and what I said was taken out of context so readers had some pretty harsh things to say about me on their blogs and in their comment sections. And yet, I held myself back from responding and defending myself, because I knew it was no use. But when I saw some of those comments on the 60 minutes piece, about MY babies my Mama Bear hair stood on end and my claws came out. How dare they?!?!
This all just reminded me that once my kids are a little older I have no choice but to get back into my career in urban public education; I care too deeply about it to not go back to it. It is not okay that some children in this country, our own first-world country, mind you, are offered a complete failure of an education. The kids aren’t the failures, the system is. This has always struck a chord with me. When I was still teaching I would get so emotionally involved with my students and truly felt as invested as if I were their third parent. This was especially true when I was first teaching at a school in Baltimore City before I had started my own family. I have to admit that once I worked at SEED and began having children of my own, I struggled with having enough energy and emotional reserves to give my students and my child my all. On the other hand, having children myself only makes me even more determined to help create equality in our public school systems in this country. I want my children growing up in a time where they are offered the same educational opportunities as their peers, no matter where they live, how much money their parents have and what color their skin is. And isn’t that part of being a mother, too? Wanting what is best for your child and through that, wanting what is best for all children? Once we know what it feels like to be a parent how can be possibly say that we want another parent to have to know that their child is getting the short end of the stick? That has to be heart wrenching. I know I certainly don’t want to feel that way myself and wouldn’t wish it on any other parent.