Closing remarks made by Executive Director Jennifer Copeland at the Council’s Public Education Summit on Friday, January 25.
The Council placed a billboard along I-40 last summer, echoing the attention raised by the Teacher Rally in Raleigh last May. Along with the picture of a ragged pile of school books (in use at the time), we quoted the prophet
The rest of that verse says: “because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your god, I also will forget your children.” Pretty strong language. Hosea is telling the leaders, things could get ugly.
If we think this has nothing to do with us, we need to remember that the priests of Hosea’s time were like the legislators of our time. They were the ones who interpreted the laws and set the policies. Things were not going well for the people of Hosea’s day because the leaders were crafting laws for their own benefit and exploiting the poor.
Hmm…starting to see how this might have something to do with us? For Hosea to say to these lawless leaders that God will forget their children, is not an indictment of the children. It is, instead, directed to the leaders, forecasting for them what they can expect if they continue their wayward ways. Not punishment from God, let’s be clear, but rather the effect of what they have caused.
The practical outcome of their legal, yet unethical behavior, will be to create a world filled with so much injustice that eventually even the children of the ones who have created a system for their own benefit will suffer. If a rising tide floats all ships, a sinking ship drowns all passengers.
That’s what Hosea is talking about. His point is, if the leaders don’t lead in ways that protect the most vulnerable among us, it will first be those vulnerable ones who suffer—but the damage will ripple out and eventually touch us all. Even the people who created the suffering.
Friends, our children are going to suffer—already are suffering—if public education in this state continues down the privatization path we are on. We all know the numbers and if you’ve forgotten them, then we will give them to you again. We all know how to turn the tide and if we’ve lost track, we will lay it out again. We all know God’s claim on the lives of the children we are tasked with protecting and if we’ve lost track, we will write more sermons.
Our call is to go forth from this place and make a way for the children to come…