Thought this was interesting. A public school administrator in Texas penned a letter (last year, but I didn’t see it until now), based on that written by South Carolinian William Barret Travis from the Alamo, describing how he was besieged by ideological “reformers” in his state.
Will anyone ride to his rescue? And if he falls, will there be a San Jacinto?
From: John Kuhn, Superintendent, Perrin-Whitt CISD
To: Senator Estes, Representative Hardcastle, Representative Keffer, and Representative King during these grave times:
I am besieged, by a hundred or more of the Legislators under Rick Perry. I have sustained a continual Bombardment of increased high-stakes testing and accountability-related bureaucracy and a cannonade of gross underfunding for 10 years at least and have lost several good men and women. The ruling party has demanded another round of pay cuts and furloughs, while the school house be put to the sword and our children’s lunch money be taken in order to keep taxes low for big business. I am answering the demand with a (figurative) cannon shot, and the Texas flag still waves proudly from our flag pole. I shall never surrender the fight for the children of Perrin.
Then, I call on you my legislators in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy of public schools is declaring that spending on a shiny new high-stakes testing system is “non-negotiable”; that, in essence, we must save the test but not the teachers. The enemy of public schools is saying that Texas lawmakers won’t raise 1 penny in taxes in order to save our schools.
If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and fight for the kids in these classrooms like an educator who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his community. Make education a priority!
With all due respect and urgency,
And here is the Travis letter upon which it is modeled:
Commandancy of the Alamo——
Bejar Fby. 24th 1836
To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world——
Fellow citizens & compatriots——
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna —– I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man —– The enemy has demanded a Surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken —– I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the wall —– I shall never Surrender or retreat
Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch —– The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country —– Victory or Death
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt
P. S. The lord is on our side- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn— We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves—
You may also be interested in a speech Kuhn delivered more recently at a recent Save Texas Schools rally in Austin. It concludes:
These and other grievances were patiently borne by the teachers of Texas, until they reached that point at which patience is no longer a virtue. We appealed to our government last spring in this very spot, called upon those in power to encourage and support the teachers who day by day struggle to educate the poorest children in the most neglected corners of our state. Yet they responded to our entreaties with new condemnations of the work we do. Our appeals have been made in vain.
We are forced to the melancholy conclusion that this government favors business interests that want a profit-based education system that would enrich investors, rather than a publicly owned system that enriches our children.
You can keep your for-profit schools. I want a locally elected school board that answers to me, to parents and local taxpayers, not to shareholders. I want a quality public education for ALL Texas children. I want adequate and equitable funding, so that families in every part of Texas can count on the consistent quality of our public school system like we count on the consistent quality of our interstate highway system, because we don’t want to wreck our children any more than we want to wreck our cars.
Texas officials, you build your hateful machine that blames teachers for the failures of politicians; we’ll still be here teaching when your engine of shame is laid upon the scrapheap of history. For now, we’ll bravely take these lashes you give because we know that — no matter what you say — the only crime of the public school teacher in 2012 is his or her willingness to embrace and teach broken children. If that’s a crime, then find us guilty. If caring for the least of these makes us unacceptable, then bring on your label gun. We’re not afraid.
Perhaps I was born too late. I miss speeches like that. This guy’s not afraid of anything, least of all a scrap.