It’s Sunday so I’ll keep this brief.
As usual, as I do every Sunday, I’m reading the newspaper.
I don’t like our local paper much, but I buy it for the local section. After reading the local stories, I scan the national news to see if anything has changed (as the publisher often repeats stories throughout the week – explaining why I don’t like it very much).
I also buy it for the ads, but that’s another post.
Two things strike me today as I read.
The first is the number of stories recently about downsizing. Everyone is doing it. Decluttering. Sorting and donating. Selling and throwing away. Joining Freecycle*. I’ve been doing it, too. I’m happy to read these stories, knowing for once in my life, I am actually in fashion.
The second is the number of stories about schools. And none of them -– not one, not today anyway — are good stories, either.
A boy suspended for wearing his hair too long. In New Orleans, a city characterized for dubious decision making, flamboyant dress, and less than conformist behavior already. A city where there are already plenty of other things to worry about. I happen to like boys in short hair and I completely agree that schools need a dress code – even a uniform policy in many cases. Did I mention the boy is a Native American who grew his hair out as a religious and cultural observance?
A girl with a peanut allergy so severe it could actually start to kill her with one strong whiff. A girl’s parents so worried about her exposure to peanuts in school that they hired a peanut-sniffing dog to check out her classroom. A girl who eats lunch alone and whose classmates are sent to the restroom for hand-washing and gargling twice a day, so that she can avoid contact with the possible odor of the deadly nuts. A situation where other classroom parents are complaining because their children are being short-changed a minimum of 40 minutes per day since the peanut cleansing routine is so time consuming.
And then there are teachers on every page, it seems. There are teachers defending their right to teach. Teachers defending their requests for raises. Teachers having to explain to the ignorant that there is much more to classroom teaching than just delivering information. Teachers refusing to go to work until the settling of union disputes. And citizens, who have obviously never spent a day in a public school classroom in the last twenty years, asserting that teachers have cushy jobs with summers off. And then, people complaining on one page about the abysmal state of our nation’s system of public education then offering suggestions for balancing budgets by cutting dozens school teachers on another.
I could go on, but it is Sunday after all. I’m spending time with my family which means that I’m planning to soak up as much of every one of them as I can. Plus, we watched the movie, “Freedom Writers” again last night. That movie always gets us thinking…and makes us especially happy to have the freedom to homeschool and be together each day.
Here’s wishing a great day off to you, too.