Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts on a snowy day in March

The world is white outside my windows today. Last year at this time, the temps were more like summer here. To compound this wintry surprise, the sidewalks and porch are slick so we had fun ice skating our way out to the garage this morning to feed outdoor cats.

I read an interesting book recently. Angels are Watching Over Us by Niki Behrikis Shanahan is a comforting Bible-based book about the many types of angels we humans encounter in our everyday lives. She also writes books about our pets and what the Bible says about animals in heaven. Anyone who ever wondered about angels, or grieved the loss of a beloved pet, might find comfort in Ms. Shanahan's books.

My last post sparked interest in a way I didn't expect. I expected comments about the banking and Wall Street bailouts but got feedback about school cuts and closings instead. I admit my comments here are "knee jerk" reactions based on personal emotional responses and not always hard facts. I even admit to knowing that everything I see on the news may not be hard, proven facts. (Imagine that!!) I'd like to address both sides of this little tempest in a teapot:
  • Yes, I'm firmly convinced that in some cases schools fail because of mismanagement or even fraud. And I know that educating students is a far more complex job than it used to be back in the dark ages when I was a student. In most cases, it isn't teachers who cause schools to fail. That fault lies with management, or state and federal influences that hamstring classroom educators. I've seen first hand stupid practices that drove a school system into the red despite taxpayer opinion.
  • On the other hand, the school system where I live is a shining example of how education can thrive in a hostile economic environment. When it became apparent that teachers were spending their own money to purchase school supplies, shoes, socks, gloves, coats, food for students, local church groups and private citizens stepped in to lend ongoing assistance. Locals volunteer their time to ensure that track meets or the arts continue to be part of school curriculum. Such support is common practice in rural school systems.
  • I know several excellent long-time teachers who left the profession because they felt that their hands were tied and they could no longer make a difference in the lives of students. Yes, there are more than enough heart breaking stories to go around on both sides of this topic.

One thing is obvious to me: when it comes to government and politics, my opinion is worth less than nothing. So I'll go have a cuppa coffee and watch cardinals eating at the bird feeder.

4 comments:

AstonWest said...

We all see things from our point of view...even what people consider "hard facts" can be manipulated to present one's own agenda. Sadly.

I have to agree with your assessment...it's not the teachers that cause the problem in schools, but mismanagement of the funds that are given and the administrative handcuffs that are presented.

Never let anyone stifle your opinion from being shared, because it is *definitely* worth a lot. :-)

F.E. Mazur said...

Aston's clarification and embellishment of his original post in a previous blog entry is appreciated. As it appeared with mention that his parents had been in the "education system," this meant to me that they could have been employed as custodians, secretaries, supers, or even been a part of his state's ed department officials and staff. Its fogginess was familiar to me as a blanket criticism of teachers. That it was not is enough to offer an apology for the heat in my response. I believe a lot of money is wasted on the administrative end and that too much criticism is directed at the people who do the real work of education the nation's youth.

Jaime Kubik said...

We all have our opinions don't we? Being a former school teacher, I have mixed views on the subject. I did feel my hands tied in a number of ways, but I also felt that I was able to touch lives as well....sometimes in a not-so "educational" way. So many kids out there don't have positive influences in their lives and I think I was able to give that to my students.

mgibs17 said...

This is a wonderful post. The things given are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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