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Thanking and Honoring Our Nation's Teachers

Fellow Reformers,

The community of Newtown and our nation as a whole has been forced to cope with the incomprehensible tragedy that unfolded last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the coming weeks, many discussions will be had at local and national levels about what could’ve been done to prevent this horrendous act, and what should be done to prevent this senseless violence in the future. Those conversations are vital, and they absolutely must take place. But today, I want to focus on simply thanking and honoring our nation’s teachers. They serve so many roles in our communities that directly impact our progress as a people.

Last week’s events remind us in an all-too-real way that teachers are not simply professional instructors; they’re role models, leaders and protectors of our nation’s children. Many are parents themselves. They’re the people with whom we entrust our children for more hours in a day than we often see them ourselves.

And, as we’ve tragically witnessed far too often in the past decade, many of them - without hesitation or consideration - are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and wellbeing of their students. With each day that passes, we continue to hear stories of the bravery exhibited by teachers and school leaders at Sandy Hook. If not for their love for children and their selflessness, it’s quite possible we would be mourning the loss of even more precious lives.

We must not allow their sacrifice to be for naught. More than ever, in our communities, we must rally around our teachers. We must continue to evaluate how we can provide them with a support system that allows them to mentor, help and protect our children. Our kids are the future, and great teachers are the people who will help shape what lies ahead for our nation.

We extend our deepest condolences to the families, students, teachers and administrators who have been affected by this unbelievable tragedy. Though words can’t begin to heal these wounds, it is our hope that the events in Newtown will bring us closer together in our communities - to support our children in need, and those who guide and protect them.

For info on how you can help, click here. And today, find a teacher - whether it’s your child’s instructor or simply a neighbor or friend - and thank them for everything they do. If you’re a teacher reading this newsletter, please know we value and appreciate the work and dedication you display every day.

Larry Grau, DFER Indiana State Director

Larry joined the DFER team at the end of 2010. He has over twenty years of experience in research, policy development and analysis, and evaluation, primarily in the areas of education and youth development. He was formerly the chief education policy advisor to Governor Frank O'Bannon, and served as the Education Finance Analyst for the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee prior to that. Read more about Larry here.