…‘My profession … no longer exists’
Increasingly teachers are speaking out against school reforms that they believe are demeaning their profession, and some are simply quitting because they have had enough. Here is one resignation letter from a veteran teacher, Gerald J. Conti, a social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y as highlighted by Washingtonpost.: >>> Read more Resignation letter
Freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition have long been celebrated as crucial to democratic government. United States Supreme Court decisions have, quite rightly, justified strong protection of these freedoms because of their crucial role in the functioning of American democracy.
The Supreme Court has often noted the crucial function of free speech and press for democratic government. In Stromberg v. California (1931), Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes’ opinion for the Court said “a fundamental principle of our constitutional system” is “the maintenance of the opportunity for free discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people. ” 1 In Roth v. United States (1957), the Court said that “[t]he protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.” 2 Seven years later, the Supreme Court decided New York Times v. Sullivan, a case involving an Alabama public official who sued the Times for libel based on an advertisement. The ad had criticized the way state government officials responded to civil rights demonstrations. The Court said, “the First Amendment . . . ‘presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. . . .’ ” 3 The modern Supreme Court has often quoted a famous concurring opinion by Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v. California (1927): the preferred remedy for “falsehood and fallacies” is “more speech, not enforced silence.” 4 In the United States, freedom of the press, in particular, has been celebrated for its role in checking government misconduct and informing the electorate.
As demonstrated here in Maryland and in Prince George’s county, Unable to counter sense, dissent and the struggle for more democratic space with arguments, the powerful make the messengers the culprits, abuse and demean them, and finally just censor or close them down instead of embracing good ideas enacted by teachers and other staff members within the school district.
Let us remember that in the absence of writing and exchanging good ideas, many staffers in this country are likely to leave in the absence of exposure. Many years ago, our media was the songs, stories and dance used to celebrate the achievements of the community. But the same songs and stories were also used to devastating effect as accountability tools, to criticize leaders when they went wrong, point out vices (especially of selfishness and greed) among prominent people, and satirise those who focused only on themselves rather than the community.
Freedoms are and have always been universal. So has the demand for them. And it is the oppressed and underdogs who always value them more than those in power.
Maryland State Board of Education leaders led by Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes who are involved in conflict of interest better be more careful with their actions including speeches lest they be remembered in the same breath as colonialists, slave-owners and supporters of apartheid.
Of course supporters of colonialism, slavery and apartheid also use these same freedoms to perpetuate their oppression. That is as it should be in democratic societies. But because they can’t win the argument, logically and rationally, they then resort to abuse, venom, and stigmatization. When that does not work, they eventually go down the road of strong-arm tactics like censorship, bans, illegal decisions, imprisonment and killings.
To them, the constitution is just a piece of paper which they embrace when it suits them and discard when it does not. People can no longer express themselves freely anymore and give proper solutions to society. This is not the Maryland we want our future generations to inherit.
>>> Attend Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power. (video)
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.
In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.