Angie Sullivan, a kindergarten teacher in Las Vegas, sent the following message to members of the Nevada legislature to mark Teacher Appreciation Day:

It’s been a long, long time since my district has had positive educational leadership.

I watched this short video of Interim Superintendent Skorkowsky – and I wept. Something unusual – to NOT receive abuse and berating – but instead a positive uplifting message. I weep because my heart is breaking for my profession that is being destroyed – and not being replaced with anything of value to kids.

I don’t know when the “witch hunts” for the infamous “bad teacher” started but it’s now become harrassment for everyone.

I don’t know when it became sport to hurt women who teach people to read.

I don’t know when everyone became convinced that testing is teaching and. . . now there is NO MORE teaching. . . only testing.

I don’t know when we started paying “reformers” without research to “fix-it-up-chappie” our schools instead of being willing to pay for retirement for professionals who were dedicated for decades.

I don’t know when it became OK to privatize by charter . . . but not hold charters accountable . . . even though they use tax payer funds.

I don’t know when it became OK to fail an entire city and not recognize significant amounts of poverty and obstacles. Cities full of people, families and kids that did not graduate – most likely because they couldn’t understand English?

I don’t know when the textbook companies and computer software manufacturers took over and decided the nation must be standardized to common core – not because we would all benefit – but most likely to sell more product nationally.

I don’t know when people became convinced that some silly rich people became MORE knowledgeable than trained professionals about my classroom.

I don’t know when politicians started taking money from Students First, TFA, The New Teacher Project, ALEC, and other union busters – to privatize instead of fund our schools.

But I’m grateful to hear from a leader who was a TEACHER first and sounds like he remembers – and knows how important the front line – LABOR – is to public education.

So as you decide to legislate – could you please ask someone in the CLASSROOM their opinion? Please ask my union. Please ask an educational leader. Please encourage the school boards to hire educational professionals – not unionbusting businessmen in disguise. Our problems are significant. I will fight this war as I beg for support. But I’m drowning in impossible mandates in a sea of needy five year olds. So I weep.

But I’m grateful someone powerful thanked me today.

O God, hear the words of my mouth. Let hardened hearts be softened to hear the cries of women who love children – and the children in need.

Angie Sullivan