I woke up this past Sunday Morning with a lot on my mind. When I opened the Internet on my phone, I was bombarded with social media commentary from the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. fight, as well as a plethora of Nate Robinson memes, clowning the former NBA player’s failure to deliver in his highly anticipated boxing debut. Although I’m a fan of all three athletes, I couldn’t help but wonder how many folks switched the channel to witness the real life boxing match where countless teachers, school leaders, and students are getting TKOed at the hands of COVID-19! While millions of folks spent their morning creating memes, I embarked on my own challenge and searched through Google to discover the names of all the educators and students who have lost their lives to the virus. In a one-hour span, I was able to find 48 individuals who fit that criteria.
Shortly after this discovery, I went on Instagram LIVE to share my personal thoughts about the pandemic and to affirm the lives and sacrifices of the 48 individuals I discovered. All of these educators showed up every day for their school communities only to be rewarded with the kiss of death. They were champions for young people and beloved by their communities. For many of them, they sacrificed their bodies for school districts that already viewed them as expendable employees.
As you may or may not know, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy Devos has mandated that chief state school leaders should push forward with state standardized testing for the 2020–2021 school year in spite of the fact that COVID-19 numbers are continuing to skyrocket nationwide and thousands of students & educators have either contracted COVID-19 or have lost their lives as a result of this pandemic.
Although I’m not teaching this year, I’m still an educator at heart. I still have many friends and former colleagues who are struggling, overextending themselves, and facing the pressures of getting their students ready for standardized testing under these life-threatening circumstances. Their performance evaluations and livelihoods are tied to how their students perform on standardized tests…