Charters Won’t Help

Okay, let’s face it. As parents, as educators, as administrators and as politicians we are concerned with the state of education in America and in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Here is my take:

1. Class sizes in these areas are TOO BIG. That being said, I will concede that I grew up in large cities that bussed and we had large class sizes. There were thirty plus kids. So, what is making this a problem today? Teachers? Parents? Kids?

a. Parents are not parenting. Kids are not being taught to be respectful and follow rules at home. Why would we expect them to do so at school? When I call a parent about their child swearing and the parent swears at me for “bothering” them I understand that I now have to ‘parent’ the child at school. When did it become my job to raise other people’s kids?

b. Teachers are picking their battles. We do not want to punish kids. That is not why we are here. We chose this profession, this art, because we love working with kids. It is ingrained in who and what we are. BUT. Yes, a large ‘but’ has to go in here. BUT, we cannot do it all. We cannot compensate for every child’s lack of appropriate parenting. We cannot financially compensate for a child’s unpreparedness. We cannot be in ‘loco parentis’ (in place of parent) and educator, too. Large classes of students who do not follow direction and behave poorly impacts teaching and learning. Teachers must give and follow through with consequences.

c. Kids. Kids will do what they are taught to do or let do. Without guidelines and rules children will mimic what they see and hear. If they are allowed to scream at home, they will scream at school. If they are allowed to cry and get their way at home they will attempt the same at school. If parents do not give consequences for inappropriate or, yes I will use the “B” word here, bad behavior then children will not understand consequences at school.

d. Administrators MUST support the classroom teachers as well as the parents and children. When a teacher has attempted to correct behavior and parents have been involved but refuse to support the teacher, administrators must take the firm hand. At time, it may be the child is suspended for a lengthy period of time. Parents my need to be inconvenienced. Put the education and parenting back on their child. Require the parent to attend with the child and make certain their child does what he/she is supposed to do. THAT would cause a bit of an uproar but you would see parents pushing their kids to behave better in school. Administrators should substitute. I’d love to see a middle or high school principal sub for me for a week. I’d love to have the superintendents sub for me for a week. I think school board members should sub as well. That would change perspectives. Many of these have either never been in a classroom or it has been so long since they were in a classroom they have no clue as to how students really behave and how parents do not support the teacher.

e. Politicians. Come do my job for a week. THEN you can talk about my job education.

I am really tired of feds, state officials and parents talking about how educators and the educational system is failing them, failing children. This is not the educational world in which you and I grew up.

My daughter looked at my old 3rd grade school picture. She counted the students. “Mom,” she said “there are thirty-two kids in your class. They are all sitting at their desks and smiling and looking well behaved. Didn’t you have the ‘class-clown’ or the ‘bad kid’ in your class?”

“Yes, we had them. However, they knew if they misbehaved of clowned around when it was time to do work or get pictures taken they would be punished by the teacher and their parents.”

“Teachers spanked kids?”

“Yep. Not often because we knew our parents would do it a second time when we got home. We did not do things to make our teacher spank us. It was rare.”

“Wow.” My daughter contemplated that concept. “Teachers need to spank now.”

“I don’t want to spank someone else’s child.” (Grammar withstanding our conversation) “I want parents to parent their kids so I don’t have to spank their children. I want them to understand about consequences in school and at home. I want an educational partner.”

This is what teachers want. We want involved parents.

Throwing money at schools is sometimes frowned upon. But as a teacher of large class sizes I can tell you that I would benefit from an extra adult body in my room. That takes money. I would love to see smaller classroom sizes at the PreKindergarten through second grade levels. We can teach them manners and appropriate behavior if we have smaller classroom sizes.

😀 This is my rant of the day. Thanks given to Fox News for setting me off.


Still gone….

Kerr Place

Kerr Place (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

not fishing. 🙂

I am still in the little bay side town of Onancock, Virginia. I am really enjoying the flow here. It has been enjoyable just hanging around after I finish working on the archives. Yesterday, while it was raining – just a shower really, I walked to the convenient store to see what they stocked on their shelves and to the Market Street Grill for dinner. It was nice because the main street in town, Market Street, is only two lanes and no lights. Really, I am loving it. To and from the restaurant was 1.4 miles. It was nice to have a little walk after dinner.

The Market Street Grill is the farthest from where I am staying. My husband comes in town tonight and we are hanging out “down town” to enjoy the festivities. It is a nice friendly town. I would not mind retiring here. I say retire because there aren’t any jobs. The school district is huge but no openings. The town has openings but nothing I am qualified to do and the next town up only has deli and fast food jobs available. Good that everyone is either working or retire here. Bad because there are no jobs.

So, retirement it shall have to be. I’m okay with that.


Life isn’t fair

George Mason University

George Mason University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I know I am preaching to the choir here, but I just had to reiterate the obvious.

Life has never been easy for me and mine. My family was not born with silver spoons in mouths. My father’s people were share croppers. My mother’s people were laborers. My grandfather (Papa) owned numerous babershops in town until he lost his arm due to cancer. Circumstances – aka The Great Depression – kind of took the fight out of him. My mother worked hard all of her life and she worked hard to take care of us.

She was not educated and so life was especially hard for her. Divorced woman in the 60 – no real options. She tried her best, though. College was not presented to us as an option because Mom hadn’t thought it was very necessary. She was able to work and take care of us with only a 10th grade education. Only one of us actually finished high school. No, not me. I took my GED and got out of school.

My older brother and I started college in our late 20s and early 30s. I stopped and started a few times just to get into the routine of school and working full time when I became pregnant. I did not have a “normal” pregnancy. I wasn’t supposed be able to become pregnant, you see. I was, for all intents and purposes, sterile. Yep, she is my miracle baby! Then, at five months, I found out I had an incompetent cervix – it was too short and too soft and it was torn! After a cerclage (a purse-stitch) I was on bed rest for a bit. THEN, yes indeed, there is more! THEN I went into preterm labor. My miracle baby was born at 27 weeks. Ten weeks later she came home.

Life did not get any easier. She struggled with chronic acute asthma. She caught any virus going around. We spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office and hospital in hear early years. I divorced and moved twice by the time she was a year old. So, I went back to college and received my first bachelor’s degree and started looking for a job. No luck! Who would have thought that graduating from college with a degree is education, in social studies, would not garner a job! Well, the HR directors told me the truth – there are too many people out there with social studies teaching degrees and not enough jobs! Really?

So, even after I finished my second bachelor’s degree in US history, I still could not get a teaching job. I did get a job as a library clerk in the special collections department. So my history degree was helpful! I would not get the higher paying jobs in a library without an MLS so I began working on my master’s degree.

Oh, did I mention I met and married my wonderful husband during all of this? Well, his company transferred us to another state and I had to look for a new job. No teaching jobs available so I subbed from January through June at the local schools. They offered me a substitute job at the high school library for the summer. Then a one year position at the elementary school. I accepted.

My husband lost his job at the same time. No problem, he is an engineer and they always are employable, right? Nope. Not in a small south western town in Virginia. He went back to school and earned his master’s in IT – another highly employable career choice. But not there. We could not seem to catch a break.

The daughter continued to thrive. She was healthier once we found out she had allergies to dairy and refined sugars. She thrived. She did well in school. She ran cross country. She joined marching band and played soccer. She went to Governor’s School and graduated with a 4.3 GPA. She was accepted to all four universities to which she applied.

Golden. Not so fast. Her financial aid package was anemic. We ended up paying 8,000 annually to cover her education. Thankfully, she graduated early because she had earned 52 credits while in high school. Did I forget to mention how smart, and beautiful, and smart my daughter is?

She got a job or three to help with her expenses. She worked over the summers. She did everything right. She graduated early. She won’t even be 21 for a couple more days! Smart, remember? Now she needs a job. She is applying EVERYWHERE! She is applying for every job in the Communications and Journalism industry. She does not care that she has to start at the bottom. She expects to start at the bottom. She would rather not. 🙂


Life isn’t fair and she is learning this the hard way. She has done everything right but it is not coming together for her just yet. We have learned to roll with the punches and move on. She knows life isn’t fair and life isn’t easy. She is just ready to move forward.