On Kids in Poverty, Society's Plans, and Inviting the President to Visit

We've worked with Nate Gibbs-Bowling, Washington State Teacher of the Year, for a number of years now.  His latest interview with the Tacoma News Tribune is full of great quotes that contain keen observations and ideas on education that make him one of the emerging important voices in American public education.

To wit:

“All I’m trying to do is elevate kids in poverty and give them the same chance that kids in the middle class have. There shouldn’t be awards for this. All I want to do is change lives.”

"My principal says this all the time, and I fundamentally agree with it — that the future of the city of Tacoma is in the hands of our staff. If Tacoma is going to become a world-class city, it’s going to be because we economically develop the East Side of Tacoma. I’m teaching the future police officers, future social workers, future small business owners, future heads of neighborhood associations."

"Q: Talk about your theory on self-discipline, especially as it relates to the young men you teach. 

A: Young men who lack self-control — society has plans for them: incarceration, underemployment and a life locked into menial labor."

And this:

"Q: Do you get to talk to [the president]? 

A: I have talked to previous teachers of the year. There’s a moment to chat while you’re posing for photos. The line I’m going to play is 'You know (Chinese) President Xi came to my classroom (in September). You can’t let him show you up like that.'”

"Q: So you’re going to invite President Obama to come to Lincoln? 

A: Absolutely. Why wouldn’t I?"

What is arguably the best - certainly the most entertaining - quote in the interview actually was uttered by a student in the article's lede, as she describes her teacher:

"A very grumpy, but very caring, black Mr. Rogers — with a Taliban beard."