from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Three Things to think about 

The first offering today is about teachers.  From the LA Times on Saturday, it is entitled A Teacher Falls In Love, Over and Over.  I really wish I could simply cut and paste the whole thing.  Let me offer the usual snippets.  The piece is written by Linda Kovaric, who has been teaching since 1969.

I will not begin with the beginning, but several paragraphs in, when her students have asked her how long she has been teaching, and were shocked and amazed by her answer.

"I am still teaching," I replied without hesitation, "because how many people my age are lucky enough to spend every weekday with people your age? How many people my age are fortunate enough to talk to you about world issues and the latest music and discuss why you think many Chinese embraced Buddhism instead of Confucianism? How many people can say they laugh out loud every day at work? How many people can drive home every day and smile because a young person they know said something or did something wonderful?"

That paragraph to me is as much about teaching as anything I have ever read.

Kovaric talks about how many teachers leave  -- over 50% in the first five years.  Why does she stay?  Let me offer the last three brief paragraphs (thereby pushing the limit on fair use:

There is, nevertheless, the most important reason to stay: Every year you have a chance to fall in love again -- with your students and with teaching. To remember why you decided that the classroom was where you belonged. To remember how much that one special teacher influenced your life. To remember the magic in your classroom when your students could do it without you.

Every day for a teacher is one of infinite challenge. No day is the same as the one before. No class is the same as the one that just left. You are not always a model of perfection and rarely everyone's favorite teacher; however, you have the time and the opportunity to try to be one of the best.

I continue to teach because every August I still get butterflies thinking about that first day of school. I hope I will be a better teacher than the year before, and I hope I will remember how profoundly confusing it is to be 13. I also hope that each new teacher will be smitten and stay.  


Let's stay in education for a moment.   As many know, I am a Quaker.  As such I participate in a number of Quaker lists.  What I am about to present to you was sent out on a list of Quaker Public educators maintained by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.  Since the intent is the widest possible distribution of the information, I know the author would not object to my pasting it in in it's entirety.  I will split it into two parts, and include almost all of it.

The first part is forwarding of a message about opposition to the provision of NCLB requiring the provision of information about students to military recruiters:

Opt Out check-in Wednesday, June 22, 6-7:30pm

Youth United for Change office 1910 N. Front St in Philadelphia

For more info, contact Global Women's Strike or Payday, a network of

men, at 215-848-1120 or philly@crossroadswomen.net

Did you know that Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" requires schools to give students' home phone numbers & addresses to the military?  You have the right to OPT OUT - refuse to have the school release that info.

On May 23, building on a growing grassroots movement, a Community Dialogue of students, parents, veterans, military families and others - Black, white, Latino, and Asian - launched a Philadelphia area campaign to "OPT the military OUT of our schools and communities." The first "check-in" meeting will be held on Wed June 22 where we will get reports and have discussion on the growing Opt Out movement, what is happening in Black and Brown communities and in suburban neighborhoods, a public information campaign, actions and other activities to broaden that movement. Included in the discussion will

be building for the opening of school in the Fall, when high schools will be sending students' home phone numbers and addresses to military recruiters  - unless we do something about it.  We will have the opportunity to hear about what is happening with military refusniks in other parts of the world from Selma James, international coordinator

of the Global Women's Strike from London England, who will be in Philly and planning on coming to the meeting.  All who are interested in or have been working on this campaign are welcome.

The YUC office is located at the corner of Front & Berks Sts.,

Berks El stop or 3 Bus on SEPTA.

Global Women's Strike www.globalwomenstrike.net

Payday www.refusingtokill.net

Website coming soon - www.optoutofwar.net

Of greater interest, and possible as useful for the opt out campaign argument as anything I've seen, is the following set of statistics. provided by the organizers of the rally.  Let me note that (a) I have not verified their statistics, so use with caution; (b)I am not opposed to military service per se -- I am an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC.  I do object to misleading recruitng, and I think people need to realize in more detail what is going on.

Schools are for learning, not a military hunting ground! $Billions for war & occupation, but there's "no money" for schools & communities

FACT:  Military recruiters offer $30,000 or more to sign up, while on average only $7,000 is spent on education per student in public schools.

FACT: Military recruiters have been caught lying to young people to get them to enlist, making unrealistic promises and coaching students to cheat on exams and drug tests.

FACT: Five times the $ is spent to keep a young person in prison than to educate them. One in four Black youth are in prison, jail or under the jurisdiction of the courts.  In low-income communities the options often are prison or the military. The US has the world's largest prison population.

FACT: 50% of women soldiers in Iraq reported rape by fellow soldiers; 80% reported sexual harassment.  A torturer at Abu Ghraib was a former PA prison guard.

FACT: $160 million or more is spent on war in Iraq each day. Meanwhile schools are under-funded, welfare is cut, we are told there is not enough $ for social security, there is no national healthcare plan, women lack pay equity & most families barely make it on wages that don't keep up with inflation, and they don't earn a living wage.

FACT: 85% of the parents in Montclair NJ schools have opted out and so can you!

Congress is proposing that those who die in combat are worth $100,000, but what are we worth alive?  Mothers did not raise our children to be cannon fodder!


Finally, on another Quaker list devoted primarily to Peace-related issues (we dp get offtrack fairly frequently), a man who is forcefully a Republican (he describes himself as a "progressive Republican"  even though he supports Jeb Bush, but he is absolutely rock solid on most social justice issues), offered something quite valuable.   He would not agree with the politics of most on this list, but would want the information about which he wrote us as widely distributed as possible.  Here it is:

I just came across this link that includes some frightening

information.  For example it states that there are only 4 counties in the United States where a person earning the minimum wage could afford a 1 bedroom apartment.  It also states that if you drew a line 10.5 inches off the ground on a 3 story house,  half of Americans would fall below that line in income while the other half would take up the rest of the three stories.  Somewhat graphic.  While I'm not stating that I may or may not agree with all that the writer writes,  there is much to ponder about our society.


I hope this diary has given you material worthy of pondering.  Having fulfilled my task of making useful information more widely available, I now leave what happens to your best judgments.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?