Smoke & Mirrors.

There is a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz, in which the great and powerful one is revealed.  Turns out he's just an ordinary man, but one that has managed to dupe an entire population into believing that he's bigger than life.

Tomorrow, our state's First Lady (translation - the Governor's old ball and chain), will be visiting our district.  According to the information our principal sent to us earlier this week, "The plan for this trip is to showcase for Mrs. [First Lady] the great work underway here in the District, and to highlight how [unnamed school district] is offering important, unique and exciting options to our students."  Seems pretty harmless.  Then why are so many of my colleagues, including myself, incredibly peeved?  Here's why.

The district for which I work, a behemoth of a machine, is undergoing some serious change and with that turmoil.  The fact that someone has decided to showcase the great work underway is a steaming pile of malarkey. Of the many, many, many schools the First Lady could have - should have - visited, Suit Person, chose the two schools with the most gleaming and unmarred reputations. My school and the other school, are in no way ANY sort of representation of our district as a whole.  We are the exception to the rule.  What the First Lady needs to be shown is the REAL story.  

There are schools in our district being shut down.  Closed. Gone. Absorbed.  Teachers will be losing their jobs.  Why not take First Lady to those schools and have a luncheon where those poor people deserve to be heard?  Why not allow for a round table to discuss her hubby's incredulous ax dropped on education via budget cuts?  Who taught your hubs how to read, Mrs. First Lady?  Oh a teacher, that's right. Take that one home and smoke it in your mansion.  Nope. Won't happen.  The picture is too ugly.  Too simple.  This reality lacks in majesty. 

We are charged with teaching our students, not only subjects of academia, but how to be good people.  Honest, forthcoming citizens of change.  How can we stand on two feet when our own superiors won't even be honest with themselves? Instead of pulling the curtain back, the district continues to work the machine to produce a great and powerful image - and a beauty of an image she is.