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by Micah Landau | published October 30, 2014
It’s time to apologize.
That was the message sent by dozens of educators, parents and other supporters of public schools who gathered outside Time magazine’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan on Oct. 30 to protest the publication’s teacher-bashing cover on the Nov. 3 issue.
The demonstrators, led by UFT President Michael Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, delivered petitions with more than 100,000 signatures calling on the magazine’s editors to apologize for the offensive cover with a headline that began, “Rotten apples: it’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher,” and a picture of an apple about to be smashed by a gavel.
Time should be thanking teachers, not disparaging them, Mulgrew said.
"I'm tired of people who think that because they have made a lot of money they can tell how our schools should be run," Mulgrew said. “Having millions of dollars doesn’t mean you can teach.”
Weingarten said the Time cover stood out even in the current climate of teacher-bashing and that it has elicited a powerful reaction from both teachers and parents.
“Enough is enough,” she said. We can debate policy, but “what shouldn’t be debatable is whether a cover that suggests teachers need to be smashed is appropriate.”
“Apologize for your cover,” Weingarten said. “Be balanced in your journalism. Don’t smear or sucker-punch teachers. Support teachers.”
Sara Berger, a 9th-grade teacher and the UFT chapter leader at Business of Sports HS in Manhattan, said she works hard to help put her students on a path of success.
“We don’t do it for the money,” Berger said. “We do it because we believe in public education. I invite Time to come to my classroom and see if they see any rotten apples,” she said.
Parent activist Natasha Capers had just one question for Time: “How does that cover help children? It doesn’t!”
To the contrary, Capers said, the magazine cover seems aimed at pitting parents against teachers.
Educators from Connecticut and New Jersey also participated in the demonstration.
Laura Troiano, a high school English teacher who belongs to the North Bergen Federation of Teachers in New Jersey, spoke plainly and from the heart.
“We didn’t become teachers to become millionaires,” she said. “We became teachers because we believe in the American dream and that all children deserve a quality education. We are all good apples here. We work very hard and deserve better.”