As enabled by Charlie Rose: Victoria Soto, 27, was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary.
This morning, Joseph Berger describes her funeral in the New York Times. The whole piece is well worth reading:
BERGER (12/20/12): Remembering the Passion of a Teacher Who Died Protecting StudentsWith apologies, we thought of the interview Charlie Rose did with Wendy Kopp in 2008.
Ms. Soto’s aunt, Debbie Cronk, a teacher who was her professional inspiration, remembered how exuberant Ms. Soto was when she called five years ago to say she had secured a job at Sandy Hook Elementary. But Ms. Cronk also remembered her mischievous side, how as a little girl Ms. Soto loved feeding the ducks near her grandmother’s house, though not as much as eating the bread herself.
Ms. Schiavone, her best friend, recalled Ms. Soto’s devotion to the profession—spending every evening working on lesson plans and designing poster boards—and the extra mile she went for her students.
“It does not surprise me at all that Vicki died protecting her kids,” Ms. Schiavone said.
Gary MacNamara, the chief of the Fairfield Police Department, who rushed to the Sandy Hook school shortly after the shooting, said Ms. Soto had “pushed children into a closet and allowed other kids to escape” before she herself was killed by Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old armed with a semiautomatic rifle and other guns.
“All of law enforcers are asked what will we do if given that moment when a life-threatening decision has to be made,” Chief MacNamara said in an interview. “She answered that question: through her strength, she took action to save the life of the students. I know, because I’ve spoken to children in that class who are alive because of what she did.”
At the time, we said it might be the worst interview ever conducted. During the interview, Rose let Kopp go on and on with her patently ridiculous stories about the astonishing exploits of teachers in Teach for America. Rose never challenged the highly improbable things Kopp was saying, although studies had long since shown that her claims tend to be grossly misleading.
In these ways, regular teachers have been slimed and disparaged in recent years. But Manhattan’s powers that be were on Kopp’s side, so Rose let her stories run on.
(For links to all parts of our five-part report, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/16/08.)
Needless to say, we respect and admire the many teachers who have entered classrooms through Teach for America. But regular teachers got slimed and disparaged as Kopp’s tales went on and on.
Question: Is any sector driven by bigger dissemblers than the “education reform” sector? You have Michelle Rhee and Kopp—and as it turns out, you also have the fairy-tale autobiography pushed by Joel Klein.
In October, Richard Rothstein reported this remarkable story in the American Prospect. We’ve planned to review the tale before the end of the year. Today, we will at least link to Rothstein’s report.
It too is well worth reading, especially if you want to ponder the difference between the very best of our real people and our grasping plutocrat swells.
The disparagement of American teachers has been endless in recent years. Soto’s life, recalled in Berger’s report, suggests a different tale.