Governor Hutchinson

…An open letter to Arkansas’ governor regarding the reopening of schools by Stacey James McAdoo…

Governor Hutchinson, 

I am not going to spend a lot of time drafting this letter and including researched or scientific data to support my claims. History and recent actions have proven it would merely be a waste of my energy. I do want you to know that educators are not babysitters, nor should we be responsible for saving the economy or solving all of society’s problems. 

I also want you to know that I am genuinely heartbroken, disappointed and enraged that city, state and educational leaders…who sit in offices and spaces where they can safely social distance that are located in buildings that are still mostly closed to the general public…who have the privilege of choosing who they share air with by deciding who (and how many people at a time) they want to see or allow into their space…are making decisions that will undoubtedly put the health and life of educators, students and their families at risk by requiring face to face instruction.  

Maya Angelou’s “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time,” quote has been on repeat in my head for a while now. My biggest regret during my year of recognition as the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year was giving you the benefit of the doubt and trying to play nice/respectable politics. I had hoped that being an ex officio member of the SBE, traveling, studying various educational systems, and looking at things from a different perspective would change my lens. What I learned was that my lens was, in fact, already correct, clean, and perfectly focused. 

In closing, I ask that you be straight up and honest with the people. Tell the public that “everyday” people (including teachers, hourly workers, incarcerated individuals, etc.) are inconsequential. Let us know the acceptable number of school related COVID sickness and death you are okay with. Tell the people that once the data showed that poor and minority communities were getting sick and dying in disproportionate rates, that’s when the state and national focus began to shift. Let them know you are experimenting with us so you can learn how to protect you better. It would also be nice to share where, how, and under what conditions your grandchildren are being educated. Be transparent with the public about the true extent of practical and logistical guidance provided to the districts related to reopening the schools from March 2020 until now. Paint an accurate picture for the parents about what education in most public schools and classrooms will truly look like (especially for those in older buildings and more impoverished communities) as educators try to restrict movement and stop the sharing of contaminated air in poorly ventilated spaces for roughly seven hours straight. Tell them that economics (and the money generated from sports and standardized testing) are more important than people. As my momma usta always say, “tell the truth and shame the devil.”

Writeously Yours,

Stacey McAdoo

**

*Stacey James McAdoo, the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (affectionately referred to as 2019ATOY), is the sponsor of the spoken word collective called Writeous Poets from Little Rock, Arkansas. For seventeen years she served as an Oral Communications instructor and AVID Coordinator at the historic Little Rock Central High School. She currently teaches future teachers in the Excel program and is the lead Secondary Novice Teacher Mentor for the Little Rock School District where she continue to be the living embodiment of her ATOY platform of using passion and poetry to close the opportunity gap.*

43 thoughts on “Governor Hutchinson

  1. Sonja Washington August 7, 2020 — 12:50 pm

    Stacey, you have expressed the thoughts and feelings of many, and I am sure the many appreciate you addressing this issue and putting a voice and bold pen towards the governor and his decision regarding opening the schools in this current pandemic.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sonja! Most days it feels like I’m living in the Twilight Zone.

      Like

      1. Yas!! And seriously, for once, can’t some horrible circumstance affect mostly rich, white, old men?

        Like

  2. Well said Ms McAdoo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well stated 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, Stacey McAdoo. I too have been pondering “How can the decision be made to send innocent children back to school classrooms for in person instructions when this monster Virus has not been tamed? If inmates have been released from the Jails and Prisons because it is too dangerous for them to be there because of the Virus, how can you justify forcing our schools to open again? What has changed since March other than more cases have diagnosed, more people have died, and again, this monster Virus has not been tamed? Follow the Science and not someone who refuses to look at the facts and seems to only be interested in financial gain. The people of the great state of Arkansas deserve to know why our children, grandchildren, Teachers (who are our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, Mothers and Dads) have to be the ”ultimate sacrifice?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my friend and colleague, for writing so eloquently what all educstors in this state are thinking! When people say, “I’ve got your back,” this is what they mean. You have the backs of every educator in this state and everyone know and believes this now!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Lynn! Your kind words truly mean a lot.

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      2. Thank you, Stacy. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly Mrs Booth! By the way, I think you should run office. #MrsBoothForGovernor

      Like

  4. I appreciate you advocating for ALL of us. Please NEVER stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement!

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  5. Clarice Coleman August 7, 2020 — 9:18 pm

    Perfectly worded! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so very much Stacey for saying what I have been saying for a while. Truly it is all about politics and money. No concern for the staff and children. If we can’t be part of the solution then we do not need to be part of the problem. People in office like the Governor of Arkansas is detached from reality. He doesn’t care about the people. We are worse off now than we were in March when we closed the schools. But yet and still we are moving forward just like nothing is happening. It’s crazy !! Wake up Governor📢 ONE death is ONE death too many!. He will have a lot to be accountable for. You know I wonder how he and others that think like him sleep at night.. November 3rd is right around the corner. We have to get out and exercise our right to VOTE!!! Let’s pray for our Leaders
    to make the right choices that will benefit all races of people and also pray for those that have lost someone during this pandemic and all of us who are being impacted by it as well.

    Thanks Stacey for speaking out!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my letter. These are in deed trying times for us all. Here’s hoping the days ahead are full love, light and healing for us.

      Like

  7. The true story could not be told any better! Thanks professional educator.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Clearly you are a true example of Teacher of the Year. Thank you for giving teachers a voice. Over the past week as I have been in trainings, my heart and mind have been racing back and forth. I have been prayerful. Thank you for saying what many of us are feeling. I look at these political leaders and school officials, who are making all these choices and think our lives and lives of students are just dollar signs to them. While most were praising the Southwest Little Rock community gaining a new school, all I could think of is this is a new form of segregation. However the athlete that can push a ball will manage to be implemented into more affluent neighborhoods in order to save their sports programs. Thank you again, you said what many of us are truly feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, reflecting and sharing your thoughts. I’ve been back on contract since July 16th so I know how scary it is. Just yesterday a teacher got excited and tried to hug me. And I’ve seen many people wearing their masks improperly or removing them. I know that no one is intentionally trying to expose me to anything harmful but if it’s easy for an adult to forget and right now there’s only a relatively small amount of people in the buildings, all I keep thinking about is what’s gonna happen when all the educators and students return.

      Like

  9. Grateful you spoke up August 8, 2020 — 7:12 am

    Clearly you are a true example of Teacher of the Year. Thank you for giving teachers a voice. Over the past week as I have been in trainings, my heart and mind have been racing back and forth. I have been prayerful. Thank you for saying what many of us are feeling. I look at these political leaders and school officials, who are making all these choices and think our lives and lives of students are just dollar signs to them. While most were praising the Southwest Little Rock community gaining a new school, all I could think of is this is a new form of segregation. However the athlete that can push a ball will manage to be implemented into more affluent neighborhoods in order to save their sports programs. Thank you again, you said what many of us are truly feeling.

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback. I sincerely hope you are able to find peace of mind in the days and weeks ahead as we enter the 2020-2021 school year.

      Like

  10. Good morning.
    Thank you Mrs. McAdoo. You are both a Hearer and Doer of the Word. God Bless you.

    Kent L. Moore
    LRCH

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Is it okay to amplify and share this on other blogs?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for speaking up. Many of us are feeling very undervalued right now and I appreciate that our teacher of the year has the courage to say what you did. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is my sincere hope that one day all of society will recognize and acknowledge the vital role we play and our importance. And I can think of no better way than for the heads (of state and of districts and of schools) to publicly support and value our health and lives.

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  13. You are the voice of so many teachers who feel the same way. Because he read a letter from his “side” it would be nice for him to read and respond to YOUR letter. Thank you for your bravery to speak up for all of us who feel that our own voice would never be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and responding. I truly hate that so many of us feel powerless and voiceless — especially considering the fact that we are in the business of empowering students. I’m still hopeful that one day we be valued and protected like we deserve to be.

      Like

  14. Jennifer Caesar August 8, 2020 — 9:19 pm

    Simply put – you are extraordinarily gifted in writing, protecting the people and profession and loving others well! I pray daily that our leaders will not only read these words, but follow up with action. Thank you so much for using your talents to help us! I’m blessed to follow your journey ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. When we make it to the other side of this pandemic we’re gonna meet somewhere in the middle for dinner (preferably somewhere that has cheese dip)!

      Like

  15. Thank you for your courage. Once again the powers that be must be reminded that all lives matter.

    Myra Jarmon
    SPED Teacher
    LRCH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Here’s hoping that a realistic and doable plan is executed that values and protects us all.

      Like

  16. It is a good thing that healthcare workers did not feel the way so many teachers seem to feel. Healthcare would be greatly negatively affected. I personally feel that educators and our public/private school staff are essential workers. Our children’s education will be greatly negatively affected if they are not allowed to go back to school. If you do not feel safe or comfortable, then resign your position as an educator.

    Like

    1. The training and work protocols for health care workers and educators are vastly different. For the most part, health care workers actually have proper PPE and systems in place to help mitigate the spread of diseases. Those who don’t have proper PPE or who work in places where protocol and systems aren’t in place should also be equally enraged. This pandemic IS negatively impacting all of our children’s education. The goal of education during this pandemic should be to keep as many students and staff healthy and alive as possible so that we can live to teach and learn another day… and not sending them into brick and mortar buildings with no/unrealistic/ unworkable plans so that teachers can be babysitters who save the economy. F

      Like

    2. Billynda McAdoo August 9, 2020 — 7:34 pm

      Actually, Sarah, it is a good thing that healthcare workers absolutely “feel the way so many teachers seem to feel”. And if anyone should resign, it should be those who ignore science and common sense. Unlike the general public, healthcare workers have firsthand knowledge of the toll this disease has taken on individuals. We don’t want to see our valued teachers and beloved children unnecessarily exposed. The numbers speak volumes alone, but we have literally been face-to-face with the suffering of COVID patients, in our hospitals, dying without their loved ones at their sides. So, in fact, healthcare and healthcare workers have already been “greatly negatively affected”. We will never be the same after seeing what we’ve seen. I wouldn’t expect nor want anyone else to have to see it firsthand in order to understand. I would prefer that people listen to medical experts, as our educators have, and do what it takes to keep people safe. I don’t blame you for your opinion. There is a great deal of misinformation being dispersed. Emory Healthcare does a good job of looking at the safest ways to open schools based upon countries that have already attempted this. Please view this presentation starting at 26:52. https://vimeo.com/443501753/5fe13fde92

      Like

    3. you want our TEACHER OF THE YEAR, not even some flunkie riding out tenor, to QUIT THE PROFESSION because she fears for her life? for the life of her kids, her kids families, even your family? Sounds like you need to get your teaching degree and live what you’re preaching.

      Like

  17. Thank you Stacey for your strength and courage to speak up. It feels like public school students, teachers, support staff, and families have been thrown in the fire like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
    They will have to answer to God for this. #JesusBeAHedge
    Ephesians 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
    1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for sharing your letter. I appreciate your boldness in speaking out for teachers and others in education.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow. I can’t believe I am JUST reading this. You’ve captured most teachers’ fears and thoughts, as always. This is simply amazing. Thank you for always using your voice to represent and speak for educators and the community.

    Liked by 1 person

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