Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day -- Show Your Support

Today, Teacher Appreciation Day, is a day to thank our educators for sculpting America's future. What's more, it is a day to reflect on the value of education, and the austerity policies that chip away at access to good public schools.

Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio R. Villaraigosa explains his teacher appreciation -- and why we must invest in educators --  in an open letter to teachers on Huffington Post:

Just like so many politicians, artists, astronauts, entrepreneurs and surgeons, I am who I am today partly because of a great teacher. After dropping out of school, I found my way back and landed in Herman Katz's English class. Mr. Katz believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself, and over 40 years later I sometimes still spot his kind smile and horn-rimmed glasses among the sea of faces at my speaking engagements.

Teachers devote their lives to giving our children the tools to succeed and inspire them to do it.

It is you who listen to our children, who challenge them, and who encourage them to stand up for their values. You will teach our future U.S. presidents the importance of the Constitution, show the next Carlos Santana how to strum a guitar, and demonstrate the Scientific Method to the bright young student who will cure cancer.

The simple truth is that, as a nation, we must invest in a strategy that places appropriate value on the contribution that you and your colleagues make to our collective future. Teacher attrition rates are far too high, and given that you are the builders of our future, losing even one good teacher is too many.

Working closely with the teachers at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, I have seen firsthand the inspiring effects of teachers leading their schools in shaping innovative district initiatives. We must continue to expand career and leadership opportunities like these, opportunities that allow you to develop your practice, foster a school culture that encourages collaboration with your colleagues, and empower you with the autonomy to innovate and thrive.

As Henry Adams said "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." It is time that we show teachers how much we respect their influence, and provide them with the tools and support their job demands. Take a minute today to thank a teacher, and better understand how you can help him or her ensure access to a good, free education in your district. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at May 8, 2012, 10:22am

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