By Yohuru Williams and Steven Singer
Nearly 18 years ago in his 1997 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to prioritize education. He suggested beginning with building respect for the teaching profession. To “have the best schools,” he observed, “we must have the best teachers.” He continued, “most of us in this chamber would not be here tonight without the help of those teachers.”
Despite Clinton’s eloquence, respect for the teaching profession steadily declined due primarily to a narrative of failure constructed by the proponents of corporate education reform. They consistently blame the power of teachers’ unions and teacher tenure for society’s woes. They use both as a justification to construct a multi-billion dollar industry to standardize and privatize our public schools.
For the most part, the mainstream media has been reluctant to challenge this narrative and point to the real obstacles that…
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