Teachers in the Chester Upland School District, who had agreed to work for free when the district announced it was facing bankruptcy, will continue to receive paychecks. Last week, a federal judge approved $3.2 million in stopgap funding, which will keep the district afloat (for a while at least).
Sara Ferguson, a Chester Upland teacher who was previously quoted as saying she would keep working without pay because "students don't have any contingency plan," was invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama at the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday. Ferguson, a 20-year veteran of the district, published an op-ed in the Huffington Post after the experience. In an inspiring message, she wrote:
My school district could be any school district. It could be yours. It is hard to acknowledge that unsettling reality without feeling pessimistic.
But I hope the response of my community can serve as an example. Parents and community members held candlelight vigils and rallied around our schools. Every day, teachers and support staff came to work prepared to teach. Every day, the students came ready to learn.
It's too bad President Obama didn't use her as an example of persistence during the speech ... (or any teacher for that matter) ...