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“I used to be a public defender. One time I represented a man who was facing thirty years for crack possession. He hadn’t graduated from middle school, and he had a previous record with several drug charges. I worked on his case, and I managed to get his sentence reduced to twelve years. He was always so good about thanking me, and after the case was finished, he wrote me a thank you note. It really bothered me that we live in a society where this man felt he needed to thank me for getting him a twelve-year prison term. I didn’t decide to become a teacher until two years later. But I always think of that note as the turning point. I still keep it in my classroom.”

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