“Where are the heroes of today?”
a radio talk show host thundered.

He blames society’s shortcomings on education. Too
many people are looking for heroes in all the wrong
places. Movie stars and rock musicians, athletes,
and models aren’t heroes; they’re celebrities.
Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn’t
make the news. There is no precedent for the level
of violence, drugs, broken homes, child abuse, and
crime in today’s America. Education didn’t create
these problems but deals with them every day.

You want heroes?

Consider Dave Sanders, the schoolteacher shot to
death while trying to shield his students from two
youths on a shooting rampage at Columbine High
School in Littleton, Colorado. Sanders gave his
life, along with 12 students, and other less
heralded heroes survived the Colorado blood bath.

You want heroes?

Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, NC teacher, was moved by
the plight of one of her students, a boy dying for
want of a kidney transplant. So this woman told the
family of a 14 year old boy that she would give him
one of her kidneys. And she did. When they
subsequently appeared together hugging on the Today
Show, even Katie Couric was near tears.

You want heroes?

Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a
teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those
wondrous teachers who could bring the best out of
every single child. One of her fellow teachers in
San Jose, Calif said, "She could teach a rock to

Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s Disease
which is always fatal, usually within five years.
She asked to stay on job …
and did. When her voice
was affected she communicated by computer.

Did she go home? Absolutely not! She is running two
elementary school libraries! When the disease was
diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families
that she had one last lesson to teach … that
dying is part of living. Her colleagues named her
Teacher of the Year.

You want heroes?

Bob House, a teacher in Gay, Georgia, tried out for
Who Wants to be a Millionaire. After he won the
million dollars, a network film crew wanted to
follow up to see how it had impacted his life.

New cars?
Big new house?

Instead, they found both Bob House and his wife
still teaching. They explained that it was what they
had always wanted to do with their lives and that
would not change. The community was both stunned and gratified.

You want heroes?

Last year the average school teacher spent $468 of
their own money for student necessities …
workbooks, pencils … supplies kids had to have but
could not afford. That’s a lot of money from the
pockets of the most poorly paid teachers in the
industrial world.

Schools don’t teach values?
The critics are dead wrong.

Public education provides more Sunday School
teachers than any other profession… The average
teacher works more hours in nine months than the
average 40-hour employee does in a year.

You want heroes?

For millions of kids, the hug they get from a
teacher is the only hug they will get that day
because the nation is living through the worst
parenting in history. An Argyle, Texas kindergarten
teacher hugs her little 5 and 6 year-olds so much
that both the boys and the
girls run up and hug her
when they see her in the hall, at the football
games, or in the malls years later.

A Michigan principal moved me to tears with the
story of her attempt to rescue a badly abused little
boy who doted on a stuffed animal on her desk …
one that said “I love you!” He said he’d never been
told that at home. This is a constant in today’s
society … two million unwanted, unloved, abused
children in the public schools, the only institution
that takes them all in.

You want heroes?

Visit any special education class and watch the
miracle of personal interaction, a job so difficult
that fellow teachers are awed by the dedication they
witness. There is a sentence from an unnamed source
which says: "We have been so eager to give our
children what we didn’t have that we have neglected
to give them what we did."

What is it that our kids really need?
What do they really want?

Math, science, history and social studies are
important, but children need love, confidence,
encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to
listen, standards to live by. Teachers provide
upright examples, the faith and assurance of
responsible people.

You want heroes?

Then go down to your local school and see our real
live heroes the ones changing lives for the
better each and every day!

Now, pass this on to someone you know who’s a
teacher, or to someone who should thank a teacher
today. I’d like to see this sent to all those who
cut down the importance of teachers. They have no
idea who a public school teacher is or what they do.