Rachel Levy is a public school parent and teacher in Virginia. She wrote this article as part of the series created by the Network for Public Education called “Public Voices for Public Schools.” Rachel recently ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She learned about politics at the ground-level. And she saw how much the public appreciates its public schools.

She wrote:

I was proud to tell voters that I was a teacher. I am proud to be part of a profession of smart, resourceful, responsible, and caring people who do socially useful, meaningful, and intellectual work. Unfortunately, that same sense of ease people felt when I told them I was a teacher, the same sense that I am a responsible and reliable member of the community may be tied to the sense right now in this pandemic that teachers are expected to take care of everyone else and put the health and lives of others above our own and our own family members. It may tie into the practice of not allowing teachers and educators input into the policies, practices, and working conditions that determine the quality of our working lives and the quality of education we’re able to provide.

My message to voters was that our public school teachers are not expendable, replaceable or disposable. To value our public schools is to value our teachers. To value our public schools is to value democracy.  

Just as the January 6th insurrectionists came for our democracy, there are people coming for our teachers and for our public schools. I don’t believe that teachers and education alone can solve poverty or build democracy. But our public schools are a building block of our democracy, and we need them and our teachers to be strong in order to weather the current fascist storm.

From the response I got on the doors campaigning, I’m confident that the public agrees.

Please open the link and read the full story.