Last weekend, I attended my 20th high school reunion in Philadelphia. Maybe as a result, I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic about the impact great teachers can make. So, it’s probably not all that surprising that this article about a Santa Fe High School English teacher running for the open U.S. Senate seat caught my attention:
It might sound like a joke at first, an unknown English teacher deciding to run for the U.S. Senate seat held for more than 30 years by Pete Domenici, R-N.M. But it isn’t.
Zach Boatman is jumping into a race that includes Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M. He said he’s doing it because he believes the U.S. election process makes it possible for anyone to run for any position.
The 41-year-old Santa Fe High School teacher decided a couple of weeks ago to run for Domenici’s seat because, he said, “this is the first time in like three decades that there’s been this open door.”
Boatman, who’s teaching Advanced Placement English this year, said a recent conversation in one of his classes turned to politics and students’ complaints about the election process. “(Students) said, ‘There’s nobody to vote for; they’re all the same,’ ” Boatman said.
Now, I don’t know anything about this guy, and his chances are very slim, but in this case, I don’t think that is what matters. What I think is important is that a teacher is putting himself out there to show his students what is possible. It’s actually what many great teachers do everyday. [Disclaimer: I worked in education for over a decade].
We’ve got a huge civic problem in the country – too few people care enough to vote or get involved. We’ve also got this great human experiment occurring, the emergence of social media, that gives everyone and anyone a voice.
I think it would be very cool if kids got behind this teacher and got him the 16,000 signatures he needs to get on the ballot . I don’t think most students realize the power they have to create change. Is there an adult out there who wouldn’t sign a petition to get someone on the ballot if their son or daughter, nephew or niece asked them to do it. I know I’d sign. Students under 18 may not be able to vote, but there is nothing from stopping them being part of the process.