Dave Grohl Says We Must Protect Teachers as “National Treasures”

Cameron LeBlanc

The Dave Grohl who dropped out of school halfway through his junior year clearly wasn’t a fan of the institution, but the Dave Grohl of today, a dad rocker of the highest order, is a very different dude. He just wrote an essay for The Atlantic that makes a forceful case for the value of public schools and the need to protecting teachers like the ones he prematurely left behind.

It seems like an odd tack for Grohl to take until you read the single-sentence second paragraph: “My mother was a public-school teacher.” Seeing the hard work she put in — both for her students and in second jobs needed to pay the bills — made an older, wiser Grohl into one of the most pro-teacher high school dropouts around.

“She helped generations of children learn how to learn, and, like most other teachers, exhibited a selfless concern for others,” he wrote of his mom. “Though I was never her student, she will forever be my favorite teacher.”

So the mad dash to reopen schools pushed by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who are willing to risk the health of teachers, is offensive to Grohl. He makes a forceful argument for remote learning while conceding that it isn’t perfect.

“Remote learning is an inconvenient and hopefully temporary solution. But as much as Donald Trump’s conductor-less orchestra would love to see the country prematurely open schools in the name of rosy optics…it would be foolish to do so at the expense of our children, teachers, and schools.”

Grohl isn’t arguing that schools remain shut down indefinitely; he’s arguing that every teacher who, like his mom, puts time and effort into planning their lessons deserves to have a similarly detailed plan for reopening that protects their health and safety and that of their students.

“Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are,” he writes at the end of his essay. “For without them, where would we be?”

You can listen to Grohl read his essay below.

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