Much of the nation has been overwhelmed by the composure and courage of the students from Marjory Steadman Douglas High School. The courage they have shown in the face of the usual intimidating practices of NRA politicians and other stooges has been amazing. Courage that has been sadly lacking in all previous iterations of America’s unique disease of mass gun violence.
Everyone has been amazed except for their teacher, Jeff Foster. Mr. Foster is an AP government teacher at MSD High. Among the subjects in his course are special interest groups including the NRA.
Many of the high-profile Stoneman Douglas seniors are in the same AP United States Government and Politics program this year, helmed by Jeff Foster, who helped create the AP government curriculum for the entire Broward County Public Schools system.
Foster is going on 20 years teaching AP government classes. He worked in finance for a few years before his mother suggested he try substitute teaching. He fell in love with it and went on to get his masters in education.
On the day of the shooting, Foster taught the AP Gov students about special interest groups, like the NAACP, American Medical Association, and the National Rifle Association. His lesson plan that day included a discussion about the Columbine and Sandy Hook school shootings, with emphasis on how every politician comes out afterward a tragedy to say the right thing about changing gun regulation. The students learned how the NRA goes to work as soon news reporters and the public move on to the next story.
“That’s not the NRA’s fault, that’s our fault,” Foster says. “We lose attention and that’s why interest groups run the country. If it’s not the NRA then it’s another group.”
The following day the students were scheduled to have a test on the special interest chapter. The exam was supposed to include a free response question asking students what techniques the NRA used to be successful. The students were supposed to discuss how the NRA used mass mobilization, campaign contributions, and litigation to push their agenda forward.
Remember that even though Jeff Foster is an amazing teacher, every teacher that your children and grandchildren, your neighbor’s children and all the kids in your town encounter will have a lasting effect on them. Teachers that teach the critical thinking that will hopefully someday pull this country out of the control by the oligarchs.
Now, ask yourselves, are these the people we want handling guns in schools. Or, perhaps a better solution would be to limit access to guns and to engineer in safety solutions much as we have done to cars, other machinery and utilities like gas and electricity that if not handled properly can kill.
Kudos to Jeff Foster for preparing those young citizens to stand up to intimidation. Kudos to other teachers who labor under unreal expectations from politicians who live in fantasy worlds and yet are able to affect the lives of future citizens.