I haven’t written in a few days, not because I’ve had nothing to say (lord knows) but rather because I’ve been busy writing and preparing for WHC.
What’s prompted me to break my LJ fast is that I’m outraged over what’s happened to high school teacher Connie Heerman. Heerman, for those who haven’t heard yet, was officially suspended for 1-1/2 years from teaching at Perry Meridian High School for using a “banned book” — The Freedom Writer’s Diaries. (She was suspended back in November, but her school board appeal wasn’t decided until this week.)
Let’s not yet discuss the merits of this book (I’ve never read it, so I don’t know) or even the extremity of the punishment dealt to this teacher for “insubordination.” What’s completely distressing is that:
In Heermann’s absence this semester, a substitute teacher filling in for her has allowed students the option of using “The Freedom Writers Diary” for various reading assignments, Heermann said — this time, with administrators’ consent.
So, a teacher’s job was taken away — a job she obviously loves and is probably getting paid fuck all for — for 18 months simply for “breaking the rules.” It’s not the book that’s important, a book that might or might not be offending students (heaven forfend!) with racial slurs and sexual content (yawn), but that she broke the rules. Because obviously the book isn’t a problem, if it’s still being used by the substitute teacher.
Connie, here’s hoping you find a better job where you don’t have to work with hypocritical jackasses who are more concerned with crushing teachers under their flabby thumbs than teaching students.