Local
9:34 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Chester Upland Teacher Lauded by President

A schoolteacher from the embattled Chester Upland School District in suburban Philadelphia remembers her view of Tuesday's State of the Union Address from the First Lady's box as a sight to behold. Sara Ferguson sat alongside the First Lady, the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the wife of the late Steve Jobs, and billionaire Warren Buffett's secretary.

Ferguson's district recently sued Pennsylvania for emergency funding to stay open. She said says she's not the leader of or the spokeswoman for the Chester Upland teachers, she is just one of the many faculty members who promised to keep coming to work even if they couldn't be paid. "Many of us, you know, have different financial situations, but we all came together and decided that we were going to put what we say, our values, into action, and show the whole United States that we're committed to our students, and that's what we did."

Ferguson said she's just happy the president recognized teachers for the work they do. "Teachers from all over the country and support staff work hard every day and sometimes they don't feel that they are recognized," said Ferguson. "But they were all there in that box with me. And I was just humbled to be a representative for teachers and for students all over the country."

Ferguson has taught for 20 years at Columbus Elementary School in the Delaware County school district. The Chester Upland School District has been at the center of a debate over whether the state should bail out districts that have struggled to pay their bills.

Ferguson said the kids need to be put first in the debate. "The children don't have a contingency plan. They need to be educated."