I also want to express my admiration for those who served in evacuation shelters, including school buildings. They provided food, transportation and comfort to those who were temporarily displaced.
In times of crisis, we know New Yorkers are at their best. With the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 upon us, we vividly recall the calm heroism of our public employees, including our school leaders, as they shielded children from harm. During Hurricane Irene we watched the same people once again put aside their own safety to protect fellow New Yorkers. The NYPD, the FDNY, EMS, and many other unionized public workers, including our school leaders and teachers, were in the forefront of the mobilization. Hopefully now, those special interests that begrudge public employees their salaries and benefits will cease their rhetoric and show a little gratitude. At CSA, we couldn’t be prouder of our public workers and our public school educators.
Still, with the nation in upheaval, we must remain vigilant about the rights of our educators and our children. Stealth attacks occur during turbulent times; over the last year or so, unprecedented assaults have been launched against public school teachers and administrators along with an insidious campaign to privatize public schools, a move I believe will ultimately offer fewer opportunities to students. But one thing I know for sure: We will ignore the epithets hurled at us as we once again focus on our work heeding the needs of students who inspire us to meet the challenges ahead.
Educators, parents and elected officials must stand together to fight those who would, in the name of smaller government, eliminate the proven ladder to success – a quality public school education – for all children and to make sure the middle class remains the middle class.