Conor Williams has a (sarcastic) “confession” to make on Talking Points Memo.
I am a “teacher hater.” I’m also bent on “undermining public education” in service of my “corporate overlords.”
Not really. But “that’s what my inbox tells me every time I write something about charter schools, Teach For America, or education politics in general.”
Williams writes about American public education for the New America Foundation. He “cares profoundly” about inequality and social mobility, he writes.
When people tell me that the “education reform” movement is a corporate enterprise run by wealthy adults who scorn teachers, I’m genuinely confused. I consider myself part of the education reform movement because I know the dire state of American public school instruction. I know the difference that great teaching can make—because it was so rare in my schooling. Those outstanding few were my heroes.
Inspired by “great educators,” he became a first-grade teacher in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Of course, I often hear that I am not REALLY a former teacher, since I entered the classroom through Teach For America. During a school visit recently, an administrator snapped that my “teaching as internship experience” gave me no right to call myself a former teacher.
Williams left after two years because he was mugged outside the school, leaving physical and psychological scars.
He and his wife are sending their son to their neighborhood D.C. public school in the fall.
“While I’m open to the possibility that some of the education reforms that make sense to me may not actually work as well I hope, I’m tired of being told that I have no standing in these debates, or that I hate teachers, Williams writes. “You want to have a debate on the merits? Fine. But don’t accuse me of being disingenuous.”