Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What ALL Children Deserve

I completely understand the desire to provide the best education possible for children, but charter schools are NOT the solution, particularly if you believe, as I do, that ALL children deserve the best education possible.  Too few people know the damage charter schools are causing to our public school system.   Last night I went to the Highlands Ranch library to view a film titled The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.  While I've had an opinion about charter schools for quite some time, this movie and discussion that followed inspired me to re-examine my beliefs and the facts about charter schools.  

At first glance, I can somewhat understand the appeal of charter schools for parents.   The idea of a school designed and run by people in their own communities, tailored to meet the specific needs of the kids in their communities may sound appealing, but this is not what charter schools are. What follows are ideas that do not sit well with me as I consider what charter schools are.

Charter schools are corporately funded for-profit schools syphoning money from true public schools.  Charter schools thieve money from schools that provide education for ALL students and use that money to educate only select students -- those who win the charter school lottery, those who do not have any additional needs including learning disabilities and English language learners, and those who willingly conform to whatever corporation has purchased the right to educate that child while they rake in hundreds of thousands of dollar salaries.   How is this PUBLIC education?   Why are our tax dollars going to this select group of kids instead of to ALL kids?  When we stop taking money away from our TRUE public schools, we can start to take steps towards giving all students the best education possible.  

Don't get me wrong, I see many other problems with charter schools than funding.  I have big questions about curriculum, instruction, philosophy, discipline, emphasis on testing (a problem in public schools thanks to politicians as well), and on and on, but the funding being stolen from our neighborhood schools sickens me.

Privatizing education is not how we are going to "fix" our education system.  

The Grassroots Education Movement, the group who produced this movie suggests the following ten ideas for real reform, all of which cannot be accomplished by the charter school movement.   For more information about these ideas and to view the movie check out their website:  http://www.waitingforsupermantruth.org/.

The best education possible is what all children deserve.

Real Reform #1:  Smaller Class Sizes
Real Reform #2:  Excellent Community Public Schools for ALL Children
Real Reform #3:  More Teaching – Less Testing
Real Reform #4:  Parent and Teacher Empowerment and Leadership
Real Reform #5:  Equitable Funding for ALL Schools
Real Reform #6:  Anti-Racist Education Policies
Real Reform #7:  Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Real Reform #8:  Expand Pre Kindergarten and Early Intervention Programs
Real Reform #9:  Qualified and Experienced Educators and Educational Leaders
Real Reform #10:  Democratic and Social Justice Unionism

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Cameron amazed me today.   When he got home from school, we sat down on the couch with him to tell him about Yogi.   We discussed many different ways to tell him.   Do we tell him about the act of putting him to sleep?   Do you tell him we made the decision?   Do we just try to be as factual as possible?   It's tough with a kid his age.  I didn't want to lie or deceive him, but how much does he really need to know?   I decided to follow my older brother's advice, and tell him, "You know how Yogi has been very sick and he's very old?  Well, we had to take him to the vet today.   While we were there, Yogi died."   Cameron's response was to cling to Derran and cry while it all sank in.   After a few minutes and no words, he went to Poe.   He laid his head on Poe, stroked him, and said over and over again, "Poe, Poe, Poe.  I know you're sad, Poe."   His compassion and concern for how he imagined Poe must have been feeling at the loss of his good friend Yogi amazed me.  Amazed me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Super Mario Room

When we found out we were pregnant again, we decided Cameron needed a room update from the super cute Tigger room that Nate and Carey painted for him when we were pregnant with him, to something more "big boy."   He picked Super Mario.   Tigger would become Charlie's room, and Cameron would move in to his new room at the end of the summer.   In July of last year, Brent started his work.   He's still working -- adding details and characters slowly but surely.   Check out it out... Cameron LOVES it as do we.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I know it's been ages since I last posted, but as I've just started having my students blog in my intervention class, I've decided that I need to get back to keeping up with my personal blog.   Yes, and this is how I'm choosing to do it... the subject?  Vomit. 

Can I please just have ONE NIGHT when I don't have to deal with someone or something puking in my house?  Please?  Just one night?   If it's not the baby spewing excessive amount of rotten milk smelling spit up, it's the cat, or the dog, or most recently Cameron.   Now the Cameron thing is my fault.   I don't seem capable of learning this lesson:  Chocolate milk and alfredo do not mix well in Cam's belly.   I know this.  I've discovered this repeatedly, yet, foolishly, I always convince myself, "This time will be different!"  No.   It never is... What's really great about this magic combination, is that Cameron enjoys staring at himself in the mirror behind the toilet while hyperventilating, holding his stomach, and sobbing.   Looking at the mirror instead of downward is not conducive for accurate aiming of his regurgitated meal.  No.  Not at all.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Exactly why what that teacher is doing in my previous post is so important.   This sickens me.   How can anyone be so callous?   A friend of mine in high school committed suicide the summer between junior and senior year.   Patrick was a football player and a band member.   When we went back to school in the fall, one of the other football players said about Patrick's suicide, "Who cares.   He deserved it."   Disgusting.   Ignorant, callous, repulsive.  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44684938/ns/today-today_people/?ocid=twitter#.ToMOsNTl9QU

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Want to Do

Yes, a departure from writing about my children.

Last week I went to work for a few hours to show off Charlie for a bit and to touch base with my substitute.   As I sat listening in horror (and quite honestly, a little amusement) at the insanity that my students have created in the last few weeks. I reconfirmed my belief that I belong teaching middle school.   I love the content of what I teach.  I love seeing students grow as writers and readers and some even discover that their passion is reading and/or writing.   What I love the most though, is seeing them change and grow.   7th grade, in my opinion, is one of the worst times in anyone's life.   Being 12 and 13 sucks.   You don't have the freedom you need to exercise the independence you want, but you also can't get away with being the cute little kid who doesn't know any better any more.   You are caught between wanting to engage in the games and hobbies of elementary school but know you will be ridiculed if you do.   You are curious about the things high school kids and adults do, but you can't or shouldn't do those either.   If you're like me, you're almost 6 feet tall and the boys are all 5.  It's just yucky.   But from my perspective, this is what makes these guys so endearing.   They are so awkward and cumbersome and struggling, but they are so open to learning and seeking out new connections.   My friend and former administrator Tina Boogren now has a job in which one of her roles is to observe teachers around the country.   I love this blog she wrote about a middle school classroom.   I get that this teacher may seem cheesy and the activity would not at all appeal to everyone, but when I look at my students and how much they desperately need confirmation that they have amazing attributes others notice, I think it would be incredibly powerful.  This teacher she writes about amazes me that she has set up such a safe culture in her classroom that kids are willing to speak this way about one another.   I want to be able to do this.   I have a new goal for my ELO class.

Thanks, Tina, for letting me share your blog.  Tina's Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2011