I was selected through a competitive process by the Friends of the National World War II Memorial to participate in their Teachers Conference from July 16-20 that included breakfast inside the Capitol in Washington, D.C. I am the first teacher from Maine to be selected for this educational program, where 40 teachers from around the country gather to learn about teaching World War II and its legacy. All but a handful of states sent at least a staffer, and most had a member of Congress attend this breakfast.
It was embarrassing for Maine that I was one of a few teachers to have no one from their state in attendance. Each member of Congress (or their staff members) who attended praised us teachers. I sat alone with my Maine flag and watched as Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Montana, and Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, came by and chatted with us.
I know members of Congress are busy, but it was embarrassing for Maine to have not even a staffer show up for 10 minutes. What a lesson to bring back to my students that Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are all so busy (or apathetic) about education and/or World War II that they couldn’t even be bothered to send a staffer to meet with me for a few minutes in the Capitol.
I feel it is an offense to teachers and students in Maine. It’s another example of disrespect for teachers. When I shared this with a friend, she asked me if I was surprised. I answered that I was, but I followed it with “but I guess I shouldn’t be.”


Shane Gower

social studies teacher, Maranacook Community High School


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