Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh My a Standing Ovation Por Moi?

Well, simply said Yes...
Tonight I went to my first public school community forum where they were going to talk about their budget problems....their need to reallocate resources...bla bla bla. I spent the past three weeks think of what I was going to say but I could not really think of anything that seemed meaningful. I know they are going to close more schools this year. I know mine is most likely NOT going to be one of them so I thought I would go to the meeting and just see how it went. Well in my typical NOT a shrinking violet personality...who by the way has a very HARD time KEEPING her opinions to herself and her month shut (unless I am being paid...then I am very very good at staying PC)...but I digress.....
So they divided the meetings up into five regions and tonight was our region's night for suggestions on saving money and making cuts. Get that the key words are SUGGESTIONS and SAVING MONEY. So after listening to about 40 micro focused people who clearly did not understand what this meeting was about....I decided to stand up and speak. About what I was not sure but I clearly had to stop the Lunacy before I went postal. I was tired of hearing privileged schools whine about having to conduct science classes in the multipurpose room and libraries with old books and experimental schools that needed theaters and alternative education schools talk about needing a track for their 5th graders and a music room so that their kids did not have to practice in the multipurpose room! Hello is that NOT why there are called Multipurpose rooms? So you can use them for all kinds of THINGS!!!!
So I stood up and launched unscripted for about five minutes. I slightly remember rambling about accountability being a three way street. About being a private school family who made the choice to switch to public school and the annual waste that schools spend on trying out new curriculum when no kids or parent really cares that Johnnie is studying the latest in math textbooks and that in terms of basic math and English it has not changed enough to warrant the millions of dollars they spend in their new programs. Having just finshed reading the "Well Trained Mind" and a couple "Charlotte Mason Theory" books as well as "The Educated Child" I found I was far more prepared to discuss changes in education and suugestions for improvement than I had expected.
It is the schools job to teach reading, writing and math (and those of you that know me know I believe it is my job too). That is or should be the foundation of an "public" elementary school education. READING, WRITING and MATH....anything else like science and history are bonuses....art, music, sports and languages are dessert. And right now, they are not doing a good job at any of it...so forget the dessert and FOCUS ON THE FOUNDATION. Forget the tracks, the new science labs, and new pretty books....KIDS DO NOT CARE WHAT THEIR BOOKS LOOK LIKE or if their math program is two or ten years old. It is more important that the LEARN it and the test scores show they are not. I said to forget all the experimental schools that are only available by lottery to get in and take the money and sink it in to the large volume schools since their costs per child are lower. Take those large school and separate out the smart kids and separate out the slow kids and teach at three levels...yes very very unPC but true. Academic intergration is NOT good for the child. How do I know becuase my yahoos are at both end of the spectrum.... I know what I speak....And on and on and on...
I was late to get home so when I was done I turned around to see that the auditorium now had about 400 people in it (I sat in the front) and as I headed out people started standing up to cheer me on, shake my hand and give me a standing ovation. I was followed outside the school to the parking lot by two school board members who wanted to know who I was and if I would be interested in working with the board or being on the board some day. I was followed to my car by the head of the teachers union who wanted my business card to see if I would be willing to come to something...and I was outside by a teacher who I have never seen before that is a first grade teacher at the Yahoos school who said she would love to have my kids in her class. The principle of the yahoos school was at the meeting. I feel like---forget that I know I have the reputation of being a pain in the a** at school because I hold a high standard for my yahoos and the education and likewise I expect them to hold me accountable. It will be interesting to see what the principle will say when I see her at school.....
Gee you can't tell that I'm just a little edgy tonight can you?

5 comments:

PR Girl said...

OMG Dawn!! You are amazing! That is so exciting and I wish I had been there to witness! Xoxoxoxo L

Shirley K. said...

I wish I had been there. I went to the community meeting at MLK and I swear half the parents there were there just to advocate for THEIR school - one which is already over enrolled and quite obviously NOT on the chopping block. They just wanted to express their love for their choice school and was hoping the principle of that school was there so that he/she will admit their kids since they live outside of their coverage area. It was aggravating! Glad you were there to represent those of us who are sane - and glad you hit home the point that the quality of our kids' basic education should be first priority as they look to cut budget and slash programming. DOC for school board! Hurray!

wittygal said...

Wow, sounds SO exciting!! I bet you didn't sleep well that night. Ofcourse you hate to be the one to say it (so I will say it for you) "IN YOUR FACE PRINCIPAL". WAY TO GO!!!

Alyson and Ford said...

Sometimes speaking up will get you nowhere, but sounds like you will get people moving in the right direction. It is sad how our country is in this financial mess, but we can all help in knowing our needs from the wants! You go!

Alyson
Alyzabeth's Mommy
Forever Day 09/16/08

auntieC said...

Dawn,
You amaze me everyday! You rock sister!
Love C