Friday, November 15, 2013

Two Weeks of Thanks-Giving 2013 plus National Education Week

Today, we Teaching Authors begin our annual series of Thank Yous, which began in 2011 with Esther’s post that charted the path to Thanksgiving through poetry. Because next week is National Education Week, we’re all posting about someone who makes a difference in ensuring others receive a quality education. We invite you to join us by posting your own poems, which can take the form of a Thanku. We’ll include a round-up of links to participating blog posts on November 29.

A quality education includes teachers who are treated fairly and with respect. Here in Wisconsin, teachers are portrayed as the enemy by a vindictive governor whose divide-and-conquer strategy resulted in the union-busting Act 10, proposed to address a projected state budget deficit. Teachers, health care workers, fire fighters, and other state employees flocked to the state capitol to take part in massive protests.

The bill passed anyway. Its slimy tentacles still reach into school buildings and teachers’ wallets.

But protests continue. One group, the Solidarity Sing Along, has met at the capitol to sing protest songs every weekday since March 11, 2011. Its Facebook page says, “One of the many missions of the Solidarity Sing Along is to create positive, progressive change through participatory song.” Despite more than 200 arrests (for singing!), the group just celebrated its 700th Sing Along. (You can read about the Solidarity Sing Along and its role in Wisconsin history in the new book Unintimidated: Wisconsin Sings Truth to Power.)

My cousin Maureen, a retired teacher, has been a regular participant since the beginning of the Solidarity Sing Along. She shines as one example of the many who still stand up for children, education, and free speech. My poem began as a Thanku, but the format couldn’t contain it.
Truth, freedom, justice
ring out in your voices,
some day (keep singing!) throughout the world.
Thank you, Maureen and the Solidarity Sing Along!

What do we do next? Work for change. Find, support, and elect government leaders who care about education. And keep singing.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at  Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup.
JoAnn Early Macken


jama said...

Thanks for spotlighting Maureen today and her work with the Solidarity Sing Along. What could be more important than quality education? And thanks to all the teaching authors for everything you do every day. :)

GatheringBooks said...

Thank you for your passion and commitment. We need more teachers like you who know how to fight the good fight. Bless you!

Margaret Simon said...

Even if solidarity singing is not working to change the creepy politics, at least they are spreading a positive message in a fun-loving way.

Time to be thankful and write some Thanku. Thank you for the reminder.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Jama, thank you for all you do to promote children's books and poetry!

Thank you, too, Myra and Margaret! Yes, I agree that it's important to keep the message positive while keeping the pressure on.

Happy Thanksgiving,everyone!

April Halprin Wayland said...

I count you among my heroes, JoAnn. You and your cousin Maureen, too.