There are teachers and there are educators


I like a good joke as much as the next guy so, like most of you, I get funny little stories sent to me through email. Most are the type that make the rounds and don’t deal with public policy; therefore, we don’t comment on them at Minnesota 2020.

But this story is different. Here it is as I received it:

“According to a news report, officials at a school recently faced a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. After they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the maintenance man would remove them, and the next day the girls would put them back.

“Finally, the principal decided that something had to be done. She called the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirror, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.”

The headline was “There Are Teachers and There Are Educators.”

There is a persistent and thorough attempt to paint teachers and administrators as greedy, lazy people who only want to make money and keep their job security through tenure. This line of thought claims educators block any attempt to change the way they do their jobs and are obstacles to improvement.

This is a load of hogwash. The story above may or may not be true, but it captures the essential kindness and intelligence among Minnesota’s educators. They deserve our support in the classroom and our advocacy for public policy supporting strong education investment.

Our students  –  even ones that leave lip prints on the bathroom mirror  –  deserve no less.