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Re: Why are teachers under attack? (was "response to Dave Stratman")

August 4, 1999

I would add a couple of things to Dave Stratman's observation that teachers
in this country are under attack for our successes in our classrooms and
schools, often against the odds.

1. We are also the largest, best trained, and most experienced cohort of
teachers in the history of the nation. To admit that our experience is the
most valuable asset of America's public schools (and to a large extent of
American democracy) would be to admit, also, that we should be given
professional power commensurate with that size, training, and experience.
Instead of allow that, the attack has been relentless. Here in Chicago, the
veteran teachers over 50 years of age are the most specific targets of the

2. We are the first generation of teachers, principals, and other public
school educators that has become massively multicultural. We all can remember
the days, not more than two generations ago, when African American teachers
with real power were either limited to segregated schools or did not exist.
The empowerment of African American and Latino professionals in teaching in
the United States is unprecedented. This, too, is a reason for the
relenteless attack on teachers in this nation at this time in history.

The amazing thing is that the combination of media and corporate power has
convinced a large segment of "the public" that these successes equal failure.
Instead of retiring the nation's most accomplished generation of pubic
educators, those who rule America are driving us into early retirement or, in
some tragic cases, worse.

Much of this has been reflected in the pages of Substance during the past

George N. Schmidt
Editor, Substance
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641

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