Building An Effective Wall

I just read that the ‘Wall Proposals’ are due on Wednesday.  I had this picture in my mind of people all over the world sitting in little teams contemplating materials and design.  Suddenly I had a flash of a children’s story I read to my first grade class every year: The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas.  From the title you can see that the classic tale is flip flopped and the sweet little wolves are terrorized by this big mean ugly pig.  The wolves like to play games like badminton, hopscotch and croquet … they try to protect themselves by using not straw, sticks and bricks, but iron bars, metal plates, concrete block and a video surveillance system… each time the Big Bad Pig blasts their home to bits with dynamite, sledgehammers, or his ever ready pneumatic drill.  Finally the wolves give up trying to build this fortress against their enemy….

I imagine our wall as their final house, a wall of flowers (or better yet edible plants) swaying delicately in the wind, having a similar effect on boarder dwellers, as the wolves flower house had on the Pig…. as one draws near our wall “they are filled with the fragrant scent of flowers”… their hearts grow and they begin to dance.  At my wall they may pick a strawberry or snack on an apple before shaking hands with the boarder control, who tend the wall, take selfies with the crossers and welcome them to America.

Gone are the people dying in the desert, gone are people dying in storage containers or the backs of overheated trucks and gone are those profiting from human trafficking…

I am sure there are holes in my dream… but if you don’t have the dream nothing can ever change…

#notmypresident

Postcard #1:

Dear Mr. Trump,  I am a public school teacher. I started working in public education in 1989.  The decline in education has nothing to do with a decline in my teaching abilities, it has to do with the loss of funding and the lack of support for education from families and government.  Your recent visit to a Catholic private school demonstrates how you think public education will change…. scary! Our country is doomed.  ~Allison

Postcard #2:

Dear Mr. Trump,  More on education (I could not fit my thoughts into 144 characters)… Our schools need more funding with added support and funds for Talented and Gifted students as well as special education.  You want the best and brightest to become teachers?  Start showing them the respect they deserve.  I am so sad that you are “leading” our country.  Scary! ~Allison

Postcard #3:

Dear Mr. Trump, Your lack of self-control would not be tolerated in my first grade classroom.  Your tweets are an embarrassment to our country and the office of president.  Time to step away and let someone with real intelligence lead our country! ~Allison

Postcard #4:

Dear Mr. Trump,  Your hatred for immigrants and refugees is an embarrassment to who we are as Americans!  You are not my voice, you are not my president! Over 3 million more people voted for Hillary!  Just resign for the good of our country! ~Allison

Disturbing Visit

It may not have gone unnoticed, but it hasn’t gotten the response it deserves.  The very first school our president went to visit was a private Catholic school.   This should have made headlines, drawn criticism from the National Teachers Union, and the separation of church and state should have been part of the discussion around the CNN newsdesk.

I am not against private school or private religious schools. If parents want something different than their local public school and a non-secular education based on agreed upon standards and curriculum, they can pay for it and make that choice.  They have the choice to take their child to a public school out of their district out of their area and still have that education paid for. That is very different than our government paying for private schools. His  visit sent me, a public school teacher, a clear message. Our president is going to follow Betsy DeVos’s lead and work to funnel some of our meager education dollars into private religious schools. Where is the separation of church and state?

The idea that somehow this will make education better, that the students of my little rural school will reap the benefits of this potential change in policy is ludicrous.  Unless the parents of these children are willing to drive  their child long distances each day they will be educated in their local school.  Who are those parents willing to make  that drive? Families who can afford the gas, families who care deeply about their child’s education, and parents who are involved.  Not to say that many lovely families who value education will choose to keep their children in their local school…but there may be an exodus of many of the best and brightest to schools where they can screen out children who struggle to behave, are low academically or demand too much attention from a teacher.

Who will be left in public education? If Trump has his way, I fear for public education, where we will have to make do with less and less while educating an increase percentage of those most difficult to educate.

This voucher system has not been thought through, but someone needs to start doing some serious thinking and stand up for our children, all of our children… and in standing up for all our children we ARE standing up for public education.

This disturbing visit should have sent shock waves through advocates of public education but instead we were freaking out over 3am tweets.  Don’t let him shift our focus on what really matters…if we become caught up in his distractions we may just miss what is really happening…

No Intelligence – Give Me A Break

lookforthejoy

No intelligence… I heard CNN newscaster, Don Lemon utter these words.   As he was interviewing a Trump spokesperson about the claim that our former president ordered a wire-tap on Trump’s phone at Trump Tower, he simply asked the spokesperson if President Trump had any ‘intelligence’… and then “So, what your saying is that he has ‘No intelligence’.”  I laughed out loud and I am sure that once he said it he knew what it really meant.

Of course our president has no intelligence.  Conspiracy theories, die-hard supporters, poor judgement, and a quick finger when it comes to Twitter – he has those in spades… but intelligence he is lacking.  He is surprised at the complexity of our healthcare issues, shocked that people are concerned about his connection to Russia, and has mentioned our former president more times in the past six weeks than Obama mentioned Bush in his entire presidency.  He is…

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No Intelligence – Give Me A Break

No intelligence… I heard CNN newscaster, Don Lemon utter these words.   As he was interviewing a Trump spokesperson about the claim that our former president ordered a wire-tap on Trump’s phone at Trump Tower, he simply asked the spokesperson if President Trump had any ‘intelligence’… and then “So, what your saying is that he has ‘No intelligence’.”  I laughed out loud and I am sure that once he said it he knew what it really meant.

Of course our president has no intelligence.  Conspiracy theories, die-hard supporters, poor judgement, and a quick finger when it comes to Twitter – he has those in spades… but intelligence he is lacking.  He is surprised at the complexity of our healthcare issues, shocked that people are concerned about his connection to Russia, and has mentioned our former president more times in the past six weeks than Obama mentioned Bush in his entire presidency.  He is becoming more unhinged as the days pass.

We have weathered more White House scandal than we have seen in decades… and he is just getting started.  Wait until he gets on a roll!

Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, the ability to deal with new or trying situations.  Intelligence is what is required to process and synthesize information, to sift through a problem and come up with reasonable solutions.  It is the ability to rise to the occasion, use clear language and speak to a topic.  It is what we need as a nation.

A man who leads without intelligence is a danger to us all! We are being led by someone with no intelligence… and those who surround him are continuing to make excuses for him and cover it up…  Those who surround him need to take his phone at night… give us all a break!

Never Give Up!

Never give up… the show must go on.  A lesson confirmed by my 17 year old son last night at his final performance of his senior year.  Just as he was about to go on stage for his last ‘big number’ his mic went out.  Panicked, he was trying to change the batteries and finally just pulled off the battery pack, tucked in his shirt and stepped on stage.  The band is really amazing, but without a mic on, the singers are almost impossible to hear.  He knew that… and he knew that this was his final performance.  He told me that all he thought about was that no matter what, he would be heard.  And he was.  He sang much of his part up an octave so he could really belt it out.  The adrenalin rush pushed him beyond what he had done during every rehearsal… and he made it work

So, this is the lesson… at our time of crisis… when things are not going our way… don’t give up… that is the time to sing up an octave and really belt it out!  Do not let the band drown you out!  This current political craziness is threatening to silence us at one of our most important moments… sing loud, sing strong, and put it all out there… Never give up and always be heard!

 

Just Because You Believe It…

Just because you believe it does not make it true… Just because others agree with you does not make you right… and just because our President shouts it over the airways does not mean it isn’t a lie… One of his constant untruths is that the New York Times is fake media and they are failing as a business… This is completely false, but he says it over and over, tweets it and speaks about it as if he knows better.

Repeal and replace, repeal and replace, repeal and replace… I have a great plan… a better plan and you will lose nothing… it will cost you less and cover more… Well, just because you believe it….

I have great respect for women, no one has more respect than I do… ask anyone… Well, just because you believe it…

I am for working class Americans… no one understands their struggle more than I do… I am so pro-working class… Well, just because you believe it…

I love the blacks… I have many friends who are black… the blacks really love me… Well, just because you believe it…

I support the gays… no one loves the gays more than I do… look at me wave this rainbow flag someone shoved in my hand… really?  Just because you believe it…

I am looking closely at what I believe and trying to make sure I am not just repeating what I have heard… I am trying to think critically about what he says when he speaks… trying not to jump on everything that comes out of his mouth as being a problem or being a lie… I am reserving that judgement for when his statements are proven false ~ like with Sweden… I only hope that those who are believing everything he says take a pause to think critically and question his ‘facts’…

Several years ago I was having a discussion with a good friend.  This friend does not agree with me politically and we were respectfully debating a topic… I finally asked her where she got her information.  From this great source… a really honest news site… very balanced…. Breitbart.  I had never heard of it, so I wrote it down and as soon as I could I looked it up and started reading.  A few articles seemed plausible but on the edge… as I read, over a period of weeks, I could tell that much of it was just propaganda ~ not at all true facts but mostly thoughts and ideas about what real news might mean for the future or what conspiracy theories were hiding in innocent acts of our government, education system, science and around the world.  Now I understood why my friend believed some of the horrid things said about Obama, Hillary, and more.  This site was confirming her false fears based on theories, not on facts.

I beg of you to search for facts, to learn so that when you state what you ‘believe’ you can back it up with facts and figures from sources outside the White House and conspiracy theory driven ‘news’ organizations.  Left or Right leaning media are very different from the former… they report the facts with their own slant, as long as you know that, you can learn a lot and stay informed… but, be aware… Just because you believe it, does not make it true!