Why I Teach – A Special MLK, Jr. Post

I get another three-day weekend this week in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I’m reminded today of why my job is so important.  Memphis schools provide a clear picture of de facto segregation and show that racism is not something our country has moved past.  The recent fight over Memphis City Schools surrendering their charter and Shelby County’s unwillingness to be tied to the city schools in any way have really highlighted this fact this year.

Many of the schools in Memphis are either 100% black or 100% white.  I’ll let you guess which ones are the lowest performing and which are the highest.  The fact that socioeconomic status is the greatest predictor of academic achievement shows that the work Martin Luther King, Jr. started is far from finished.

This is why I teach.  Because I believe with all my heart that my poor, minority students deserve the same quality education their upper-middle class white counterparts are receiving, even when they don’t seem to want it.  We must remember that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream has not yet been realized; who will fight for it if we forget?  The fight for educational equality cannot only be fought by the teachers who are working in the trenches; it needs to be fought by everyone.  As MLK said in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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  1. What an amazing teacher you are!! The kids in your classes are so blessed to have you as a teacher and an example! Keep up the great work. :)

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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