I just got a message from Arne Duncan. An email actually. Here’s what he sent to me:
As our nation observes Teacher Appreciation Week, I am pleased to send this message to recent Teachers of the Year, to make sure that you know how much we at the U.S. Department of Education value your extraordinary commitment and service to our nation’s students.
All teachers deserve honor and thanks on a daily basis for all they do to nurture their students’ academic and personal growth, help them to achieve, and prepare them for the future.
Teachers of the Year admirably represent the entire teaching profession, and I am especially grateful for the leadership and good examples they provide.
I salute you for all of your accomplishments, and I thank you for your enduring dedication to America’s students.
At first, I thought it was a hoax. I thought I was going to open the email and POOF! my computer was going to disintegrate while an evil teen cackled from half-way across the world screaming, “I hate and am not liking subject verb agreement always!”
But alas, it really was from Mr. Duncan. And then, once my initial cynicism subsided, I realized, “Hey, that was pretty cool. Nice gesture, Mr. Secretary of Education.”
I mean the guy obviously can’t be everywhere doing everything trying to meet everyone. But at least he wrote me an email.
Or had a secretary write it.
Or ordered a secretary to have an intern write it.
Or ordered a secretary to have an intern who had a mother who was once a teacher write it. (Look at the proper use of those apostrophes… you know that if you’re gonna send an email out to teachers, as Secretary of Education, you better get both Strunk and White to sign off on that bad boy! However, I think I could take issue with his parallelism if I were to get persnickety but alas, he’s a busy guy so I am not gonna hit him with the fine tooth comb.)
Arne, I agree with you on one hell of a big point: our schools need to change. And I do salute the fact that you are a person who believes that if you’re going to make an educational omelet, you gotta break some schoolhouse eggs. (BTW, if you ever need a fire and brimstone speechwriter, I can be bought!)
Now of course, I might quibble over the eggs you are choosing to smash – or not choosing, as well (like bubble tests!) – yet, at the end of the day, I think the jury is still out on you. Being that you’re still relatively new at the job, and still learning the ropes, I think you deserve more time before you become the next marshmallow on my blogfire.
And you’ve done some good already as well. Those coupla billion you scrounged up to keep the universe afloat while Wall Street was playing 3 card monty with our national banking system really did prevent a calamity.
Yet, we ain’t out of the woods yet. Please don’t forget that.
All in all, thanks for the note last week – and right back at ya, Dude! Teacher of the Year wnners do work hard. But please know that there are hundreds of thousands of teachers in California and millions of teachers across the country that would really like to feel your love as well.
Now sure, some teachers stink and should be run from the profession, but their numbers are infinitesimal as compared to the number of those who simply do right by America. Remember, more time out of the Beltway will always be a good thing to show you just that. And if you want to come to Lynwood, we’d love to have you.
Oh yeah, feel free to bring Barry, too. It’ be a genuine honor.