I haven't had a chance yet to check out the authenticity that this person wrote this open letter; however there is a real person in St. Paul, with this name, who appears to head a teacher's organization with this name. I hope to confirm this week that this is the person who wrote this, given the instances where people's names and organizations appear in heavily forwarded emails or goes viral on facebook. I think this is an excellent letter, and it appears here based on the initial appearance that this is legitimate. More will be posted as it becomes available.
Last week, as reported in the STrib, a father pulled an AK-47 on his daughter for getting 2 B's instead of 2 A's on her report card; he was found to have a collection of assault rifles. He also threatened hi wife with his newest assault rifle over the incident. It is not a stretch to imagine a parent, or even a distraught student, doing the same thing with a gun, over an unsatisfactory grade. It has happened in the past, in Montana, where there was a school shooting over bad grades.
By way of Facebook:
From a teacher in St. Paul, NE.
You want to arm me? Good. Then arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing.
Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game.
Arm me with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student's and her family's needs so I. Can. Teach.
Arm me with enough school nurses so that they are accessible to every child and can work as a team with me rather than operate their offices as de facto urgent care centers.
Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning and fewer days for standardized testing.
Arm me with class sizes that allow my colleagues and I to know both our students and their families well.
Arm my colleagues and I with the time it takes to improve together and the time it takes to give great feedback to students about their work and progress.
Until you arm me to the hilt with what it will take to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable student population, I respectfully request you keep your opinions on schools and our safety to yourself NRA. Knock it off.
-Mary Cathryn Ricker, President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers.
This was shared on my wall today. I thought I would share it with you and I hope you share it with others.