A lesson for all of us -- Detroit teacher to parents: I'm sorry

If you are a public school teacher, I ask you to read this letter that my friend (a Detroit Public Schools teacher) has shared. She didn't write the letter and doesn't know who did, but it's being circulated widely by educators who agree.

We are seeing the seeds of what has happened to Detroit Public Schools all over the nation: takeover plans, legislation and policies that defund schools and demoralize educators, gutting of funding to public schools while private schools get more and more public dollars.

Read this letter carefully.

And speak up now before you find yourself writing a letter like this yourself. Get engaged. Get informed. Get organized. And join us - parents, educators, community members all -  in standing up for our students and schools before it's too late.


Dear Parent,

I write this to you on this night because you're on my mind. You live in Detroit and you send your child to Detroit Public Schools. You trust me everyday with your children. I feel that I owe you an apology. I apologize because I should have stood up. I kept quiet as they dismantled our schools. I was silent when they took your schools from you. I didn't protest in the streets when they put our schools in State control. I said nothing when they took your democracy. I should be ashamed of myself. I the teacher you trusted had power to start a revolution, and fight for you, and I didn't fight back. Tonight, I am going to make you a promise that I won't sit quiet any longer.

You're going to hear in the news, and in the papers, about how I don't care about the students. You're going to hear that taking days for sick-outs is selfish of teachers. I agree I have been selfish but it was my inaction that was selfish. It was me sitting in my position of authority in your children's life and doing nothing to protect them. I am sorry I let this get so far. I promise that although I want a living wage that is not what brings me to action today. What makes me fighting mad is that your child, who I call "one of my kids", is learning in an environment that is in total chaos. I am sending a message to Michigan politicians that they must sit at the table and legislate to come up with a solution to the financial crisis that they caused.

I am fighting for these demands:

  • Supplies
  • Art
  • Music
  • Gym
  • Recess/Play space
  • Proper Maintenance
  • Clean Buildings
  • Safe Buildings
  • Interpreters
  • Support Staff
  • Quality Food Programs
  • Class Size
  • Your Democracy
I also want to say that I take offense when the politicians involved in this say that the children go hungry if they don't eat at school. I know you take excellent care of your child and that isn't the case at all. I thank you for everything you do and all of your support. I stand with you as we fight to take back your schools.

Your child's humble teacher.
Detroit Public Schools

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