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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The heroes of Newtown

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Many blog readers have already made this point, but thanks to the Daily Howler for highlighting an editorial in the Baltimore Sun titled "The heroes of Newtown."

Some excerpts:

... Let a banner be raised for the heroes of Newtown, Conn.: the educators who sprang into action to protect the young students in their charge.

We don't know how many lives were saved by the alert and brave actions of the faculty and staff at Sandy Hook, but we suspect they were many. Yet how many among us should stand ashamed today for showing so little respect for such public employees — mocking teachers, in particular, for their cost to taxpayers in salary and benefits — and failing to appreciate how willingly many educators stand prepared to lay down their lives for our children?

Rarely are teachers given the kind of respect afforded soldiers, firefighters or police officers, but how else to describe Principal Dawn Hochsprung but as a first responder? We now know that it was she, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and Vice Principal Natalie Hammond who first confronted the heavily armed Adam Lanza in the hallway. Only Ms. Hammond survived that initial effort to subdue the intruder.

Four other employees, all teachers, died in the shooting. Anne Marie Murphy, a special education teacher, was killed attempting to literally shield her students with her own body.

...Teachers and other public school employees deserve more respect than to be vilified as lazy, overpaid union thugs, or any of the other various taunts that have been hurled their way in recent years. In some states, they are been stripped of bargaining rights. Often, they are cited as a threat to public education and not its chief asset.

We adopt standardized testing of students, in part, because we don't trust that teachers are doing their best. Too often, we judge them harshly for not achieving the near-impossible: creating a model citizenry from the imperfect products that show up at their doorstep.

Next time we discuss the state of education, let us also recall those images of teachers leading children out of harm's way in Newtown or those half-dozen adults who died in the line of duty. Public educators deserve our respect, not just for what happened in Sandy Hook but for their extraordinary, daily devotion to the education, health and welfare of the next generation.

RELATED: So much for credit where due. I now read that the teacher union haters jumped on Diane Ravitch for expressing a similar sentiment while noting that Newtown includes both union teachers and tenured teachers

IN ARKANSAS: Gov. Mike Beebe has declared Friday, Dec. 21, a day of mourning for the school victims. He asks for a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m.

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