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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Sat Jul 30th 2011, 07:39 PM
From Think Progress today. It was good to see someone like Matt Damon take time to fly in to encourage public schools teachers.

Matt Damon: Stop The War On Teachers

Actor and activist Matt Damon spoke at the Save Our Schools rally today. Before he spoke, Damon granted ThinkProgress an exclusive interview. We asked him about how teachers unions are being demonized in much of the media and teachers are being blamed as the root of all problems in public education. Damon told us that the attacks on teachers unions are part of a larger “war on unions over the last decade” and condemned “punitive policies” that punish teachers without looking at the social factors that lead to student achievement.


More from his speech from the blog called NOT Waiting for Superman

Matt Damon’s speech at the Save Our Schools rally, July 30, 2011

I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.

I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to Kindergarten through my senior year in high school I went to Public Schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything. I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself— my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity— all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned— none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success— none of these qualities that make me who I am… can be tested.

I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep— this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.


I know just what he means. I remember that time well while I was still teaching. Creativity in reaching a child was valued, and together with the parents that moment when a kid suddenly "got it". It was an awesome moment. There's not a lot of time for that anymore with all the testing.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: as I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “over-paid”; the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything…

Please know that there are millions of us behind you.


Good for him for taking time to be there. Glad to see his passion and understanding for what teachers are going through.

This should go down as a shameful time in our country...a time when public education and public school teachers were mocked and criticized for the ulterior motives of profit and privatization.
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