Monday, May 1, 2017

A TEACHING HERO | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing

A TEACHING HERO | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:

A TEACHING HERO

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Harris Lirtzman is a relatively new friend of mine and a man who is a hero in the fight for justice for our kids. I met Harris a couple of years ago when I worked for WISE Services. I was part of a team who thought we could help the organization, Yonkers Partners In Education (YPIE), provide mentoring to Yonkers high school students to help them not just graduate but also succeed when they get out of high school. Harris was one of their team members at that meeting.
When we realized we thought on a very similar wavelength we decided to meet for lunch a couple of times. We hit it off. My wife and I invited Harris and his partner Ralph to dinner. We’ve been close friends ever since.
We share ideas about teaching, education, life, politics, family, photography, the Hudson River and whatever dumb ass stuff #45 and his band of bullies pull daily. A couple of days ago I saw a reference to Harris being a whistleblower in the NYC DOE. I hadn’t known about this so when I asked him to tell me, he sent me two NYT articles from the spring of 2012 that told the tale of Harry the Hero.
Let me say this before I share his story with you. There are many of us who, for years, have been advocating for public schools, their students, and the parents who send their kids to those schools. We have taught, marched, rallied, conferenced, wrote, rapped, and organized, but too often what we have done has been far too ideological and, well, just plain far less effective than we hoped our efforts would have been.
So this leaves me to Harris, who I am proud to call my friend and an example of what sacrifice for these kids really means. Over my many years in education I have had other friends and met other teachers who have spoken out and tried to do the right things, the right ways, and for the right reasons. They had been reprimanded, ATR’ed (A NYC thing- Google it), put in a “rubber room”, had their professional lives made miserable, were forced toA TEACHING HERO | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing: 

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