“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
So I had the weekend (and part of today) to work through my frustration and anger regarding the manner in which staff at the Huffington Post handled my request to write for their Education Blog special this month. The initial email and ensuing responses are below.
From Me to Them:
A Twitter friend ( @ReadyWriting) suggested that I contact you regarding writing for the upcoming Education section of the Huffington Post. Could you provide some additional information on the guidelines and criteria please? I am very interested in this opportunity, as the parent-teacher voice has been silenced in recent Education dialog efforts.
Below are some links to a few blogs/articles I have written:
My personal blog: https://educationceo.wordpress.com/
Contributions to Race-Talk blog (Kirwan Institute);
Examiner.com: Atlanta Education Reform Examiner
I would also like to add that I have approximately 2,300 followers on Twitter. Not quite celebrity status, but not bad for an unemployed single mother (and former teacher) who only started seriously tweeting earlier this year!
Thank you in advance for your consideration!
An email sent from D.G. to T (with a Cc: to myself):
Let me know any next steps to take with this one. Thanks!
– Show quoted text – (The initial email I sent, which is above.)
The Huffington Post Impact
Second email from D.G. to Me (same day):
Thank you for showing your interest! People interested in blogging for the Education section are asked to send in a brief bio for review by our editorial staff. If we feel you could contribute to our section we will get back to you as soon as possible.
To familiarize you with the expectations we have for our section and our bloggers I have provided you a bit of information below. If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
HuffPost Education, launching Monday, October 4, will serve as a hub for prominent educators, celebrities, politicians and other influential voices to discuss successes and failures in the American K-12 public school system. This is a great opportunity to share your opinions about education and education reform and to encourage readers to get involved. We want to inspire thoughtful discussion about education, spur innovation in the field, recognize great teachers and provide tools and information for ordinary Americans to make a difference for their local schools.
Like the Impact section launched last fall, Causecast has partnered with The Huffington Post to develop the Education section.
By providing unique content (text or video) either regularly or as an occasional guest contributor on this platform, bloggers will be able to share their message with millions of active Huffington Post readers who are looking to be inspired and get involved. HuffPost Education will feature blog posts from teachers, students, education reformers, nonprofit leaders, politicians and celebrities and provide clear calls-to-action for readers looking to get directly involved with the issues discussed. Contributors will include Arianna Huffington, Davis Guggenheim, Rosario Dawson, Geoffrey Canada, Joy Bryant and numerous other individuals passionate about improving education in America.
HuffPost Education presents an exciting opportunity to build a community centered around education topics on one of world’s most active news blogs. To build a strong relationship with your HuffPost readers, we encourage you to contribute regularly. This is the best way to maximize your effectiveness on the platform.
So here is my issue: First of all, I didn’t quite appreciate to the reference ‘this one,’ regardless of the intended context. For the record, I don’t like ‘You people,’ ‘Those people,’ and any other derogatory terms/statements. Second, look at this line (yes the response was canned, but it speaks volumes about the lack of respect that everyone has shown for the parents):
HuffPost Education, launching Monday, October 4, will serve as a hub for prominent educators, celebrities, politicians and other influential voices to discuss successes and failures in the American K-12 public school system.
Did you happen to notice who was missing from the line-up? The same group that was missing from Education Nation and the talk show circuits during the past 2 weeks: Parents. No, not the kind like Guggenheim who can afford private schools for their kids, but the kind like me who sacrificed a lot to buy our first home within a school district known for its (supposedly) excellent schools. Me, who when backed into a corner and threatened to choose my job or my child’s well-being, chose my child and now cannot get another teaching job in the state of Georgia. Me, who is suffering because I cannot do what I love-what I was called to do. Me who realizes that I would rather struggle alone in calling attention to the Johnny-Come-Latelys who don’t know a damn thing about Public Education, must less how to relate to people like me. Like I said before, money does not buy you the experience. Sleeping with a Black man does not buy you the experience. There is no substitute for experience. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. It is what it is.
But despite the elitism and condescension, I knew that I could count on someone (@readtoday) for support and a little hell-raising. To her words and constant support, I say this:
And in keeping with who I am and knowing whose I am, I will embark upon my own little boycott of the Huffington Post and any other media rag that choose to continue to ignore the voices of those who have the most at stake in this game of Russian Roulette disguised as education reform. Yes, I know I will be alone but that’s how I came into this world and I am sure that is the same manner in which I will leave. But you know what? I am ok with that because when I have to answer for what I did/did not know do, I know that my actions/words will not have been in vain.