September 11th, 2012, in Chicago

Dear Chicago Teacher,

Months ago, you took the time to write me.  You thanked me for my words that were being heard and shared, inspiring and empowering teachers in Chicago.

Chicago Teacher, it is I who must thank you.

Thank you for having the courage to stand with others and publicly call out the crime being committed against our students by those masked under the guise of “education reform,”  despite knowing the tremendous resources they will use to try to break your will.


Thank you for not being silent or afraid to ask the tough questions of poor leaders who have sold out our children to private, corporate interests and thank you for refusing to simply be complicit to their will, despite knowing others who are afraid will resent your independence.

Thank you for being able to reason and make a conscious, ethical choice between right and wrong, despite knowing those who cannot reason and therefore base their moral system on blind obedience, will rebuke your non-compliance.

Thank you for having self-respect and for understanding that caring about yourself is not selfish, that teacher working conditions are student learning conditions, despite others who lack self-respect will despise you, and those expecting your compliance will be angered.

Thank you for expecting liberty, and justice, for all.

Just today, your mayor’s office posted these words, “As we remember those who lost their lives on September 11th, let us also reflect on the role that each of us can play to strengthen and serve our community, city and country.”

These words present a timely juxtaposition: as the Mayor’s office remembers those fallen to external threats to our nation, you are working to strengthen your community, city and country from what has been, historically, the greatest threat to any nation – that of the enemy within.

Here’s hoping that the spark you have created will be fanned into flames that spread into all directions across our country.

Thank you, Chicago teacher. 



A Huntington Teacher