Leave No Teacher Behind
Marc A. Anderson was buried March 11 in Bushnell National Cemetery in Tampa,
aged thirty. Army Specialist Anderson, of the First Battalion, 75th Ranger
Regiment, was one of eight Americans killed in Operation Anaconda.
Specialist Anderson had not set out to be a soldier.
Back home in Alliance, Ohio, Anderson played football and was a champion shot
putter. He was also in the National Honor Society.
He began college in Case Western University, transferring to Florida State
University after two years. There he continued to put the shot, and was named
the universitys top male athlete in his senior year. He was graduated in
1995 with a 4.0 grade average and deeply in debt from student loans.
The New York Times reports:
He took a job teaching seventh and eighth grade math at the Fort Myers
Middle Academy, a magnet school in a blighted neighborhood. One of his
students in a pre-algebra class was Juliann Reaves, a seventh grader who
Early in the term, Mr. Anderson noticed that she was having trouble, Ms.
Reaves said, and he offered extra tutoring to her and other students. He
would show up at school an hour before the first bell bearing bagels, donuts
and orange juice, for anyone hungry to learn.
He took everything one step at a time, and he didnt rush
us, Ms. Reaves said. He was the greatest math teacher I ever
Still, Mr. Anderson was not entirely happy. His salary was less than
$30,000, and he was deducting $550 from his monthly check to pay down $45,000
in student loans. He shared a two-bedroom apartment with another teacher,
drove a used car, and felt so crowded financially that he could not envision
When he was in his third year of teaching, an Army recruiter told him
that if he enlisted, the military would pay off his college loans, a proposal
he found attractive.
When he resigned from Fort Myers Middle Academy in 1999, according to a
fellow teacher, Catherine Kane, he did so in hopes that he would be able to
return to teaching someday. On a teachers salary, he couldnt
make it, she told The Tampa Tribune. He was a born teacher.
There is nothing extraordinary in this story, except that we see
nothing extraordinary in it. Still, isnt it perhaps just a little odd -- a
little sad, even -- that the federal governments only program for paying
off the student loans of a born teacher should turn out to be funded by the