Vote of Confidence

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I have so enjoyed writing for LRC this past year and hope that readers are interested, for some time to come, in my ideas, opinions, and rantings. I have also enjoyed communicating with the hundreds of pleasant and interesting people who have written in response to various columns. I receive email from across the USA, and from regular readers in Spain, Italy, Japan, The Philippines, Canada, Brazil, Australia…

When I read about the unpleasant and poorly written letters sent to Brad Edmonds — (by teachers, no less) — I was embarrassed on behalf of such illiterate and rude public educators. Since I hold the dubious distinction of being a "government teacher," myself, I feel the need to apologize for those "professionals."

Brad’s experience made me even more appreciative of the letters I receive — notes of encouragement, kudos, requests for advice, wishes for my continued well-being. These contacts have been especially heartening since they differ so greatly from my experiences within the public school system.

Today I received another letter encouraging me to run for political office. The reader explained that “straight shooters” like myself and the other writers at LRC are “perfect candidates” and asked if we “just need a little friendly nudge?” He wished that “we could save a few children from a fate…worse than hell.”

Although it is nice to be viewed as one who might, working within the political system, save children from academic harm, I’m not the one to do it. I do not believe that the educational system is savable and I know that the State isn’t even smart enough to get out of the way and let people handle schooling decisions at the local level, which must be done to affect any real change.

Additionally, I am just not cut out for public office. Diplomacy is not my strong suit. Currently, at the close of each school year, I look back and note that 35 children now read, or read better — which probably would not have happened, were it not for me. At the end of a year in politics, I would look back and realize that I had voted "NO" on 35 pieces of bad legislation — but they all passed, anyway. No, I could not live with that kind of "closure."

For the sake of those children who will learn to read; learn to think; learn to see through State lies and fight for individual liberty — all because of lessons in my classroom — for now I will continue to teach, to write for LRC, and to enjoy the fine letters from the readers.

I’ve had a great year! I have even "lost" several students — who learned to read well enough to test out of special education. Their smiles of newfound confidence are my greatest rewards, and are far more satisfying than any kind of political power could ever be.

I’m still needed in that classroom, but thanks for the Vote of Confidence.

Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] lives in Michigan. She is a free-lance writer and the owner of “The Learning Clinic,” where real reading, and real math, are taught effectively and efficiently.

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