Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

What should we look for in 2012?

If you haven’t noticed there ‘s a huge debate taking place. This debate is over values. Whose values will our world, country, community, and families follow. If you’ve been awake, you would have seen the debate going on at the workplace, around your holiday tables, on TV, on bumper stickers, and just about everyplace you go. You may think it’s over an election, or who has the best TV show, or which sneakers you should buy, but it’s not. It’s about values.

2012 we will see people struggle with the issue of values in our society. Do we elect those who agree with our values or are we electing those who seem to agree with them. Are we aware of our own values that we easily recognize them in others, or we confused, or being confused into thinking our values are what we actually see?

Let’s look at some specific examples..

Education

I will start with education because as an educator I often see values as one of the driving forces in the current debate on education reform. One area often claimed by proponents of change is that teachers should teach values and character education. Why just last night a candidate for President, Santorum said, ‘values should be taught in school’. I wish I was able to ask him, whose values should we teach? His? The same values that said the federal government shouldnot be involved in education? The same values that spout the poor should just lift themselves out of poverty? Are these the values we should teach?

Do we value a good education for all children? If so why aren’t we willing to spend what is needed to combat poverty? Why do we see class sizes rising? Why are teachers under attack?  So what do we value?

Do we value having good teachers in our classes? If so, then why does it cost so much to get a good college education? Why aren’t we willing to offer salaries that can draw the best and the brightest?

Do we value what teacher’s teach? Why do we allow textbook publishers distort history in order to appease a small group of people in Texas?  Why has their been a huge debate about a core curriculum?  Why have we given over segments of our schools to corporations?

Do we value our schools? If so, why do we rip resources out of our school budgets and hand them over to corporate concerns. Why do we allow those without an education background to drive education policy. Why did we in NY appoint a charter school advocate to oversee our public schools?

Children

Do we value our children? Then why would we subject them to hours of test prep, and then hours of standardized testing that really doesn’t assess what they know effectively? Why  don’t we eliminate child poverty? Why don’t we pour every resource we can muster to defeat childhood diseases. Why don’t we provide healthcare for all our children? Why don’t we fund pre-K and head start programs effectively?

If we value our children why do some GOP candidates advocate that poor children should be out working, cleaning schools, flipping burgers, instead of learning and being nurtured by our society?

Community

Do we value our community? If so why do we have fences? Why is it that when people walk down the street they often don’t even say hello? Why do we send people to congress to represent  our interests and not our neighbors’? Do we value community or just our community?

Do we value communities that are suffering with foreclosures, poverty, crime, etc. Do we value them enough to share resources to help them  and lift them out of despair? Do we value our community by offering a hand and volunteering? Or do we just say as a recent GOP candidate said, let foreclosures run their course?

Do we value or community by ensuring all those in our community have adequate healthcare, that they have heat in the winter, food on their tables, clothes on their backs? Or do we say that we have to stop talking about entitlements?

I can go on and on.

In 2012, we are going to see a battle over values like we haven’t seen since the early 1900′s. Disguised as fighting for Judea-Christian values, we’ll be seeing anything but. My hopes that we will survive, are bolstered by the faith that good conquers evil.

I believe our great society will wake up in 2012, recognize what Judea-Christian values really are, and demand that all of our values are warranted . Not just the values that guarantees profits and power for some.

Have a wonderful and value filled new year!

 

 


Equity?? No, just more of the same

Yesterday 260 Nassau County workers received pink slips. According to this Newsday article many came from the Department of Social Services. While I often complain about high taxes here in Nassau County, these cuts fly in the face of shear hypocrisy On the same day 260 civil service workersbob have their lives turned upside down , Newsday also runs this bombshell, Legislator John Ciotti, who just lost his bid for another term get awarded with a $300K at the Nassau University Medical Center ( County run). The former person in this position was making $260K.

So the county lays off hundreds, and awards its own for losing but staying loyal.  Typical Nassau GOP.

More trouble on the horizon

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement  that “The greatest challenge is going to be reforming the education system in this state” should be a wake up call for all educators throughout the state. Cuomo’s one size fits all approach to education reveals his ignorance and arrogance that will make him a one term governor.

We all know that we have a diverse state, with diverse resources, a diverse population, diverse funding (unfair), and many diverse impacts on the education of the children and young adults in our state. To lump all schools into one category and declaring that, “The need for reform in education is much more striking to me…” ignores our diversity.

Why should a very successful district, of which there are many in NY, be forced to swallow another mandate? All to often these new mandates, such as APPR are unfunded and do more harm  by eroding the funding of  resources available for local districts.

Why is a so called Democratic Governor so set against local control? He has already stripped some control of budgeting from local school boards. Mandating that the ONLY budget in NYS that actually is voted on need a new 60% super majority to approve an increase of over 2%. Municipalities all across the state are declaring that they can’t live with that 2% cap and are able to over ride the cap with a simple majority of their boards. Why can’t local school boards do the same? They still would need a simple majority of local voters.His 2% tax cap will have devastating impacts on public education in our state. Most municipal governments have declared that they can’t do it, and have so easily opted out of it, yet school districts  can’t. He has effectively stripped local control away. He has marginalized  the local residents’ vote. He has rewritten democracy. He is stating that 59.9% is not a majority. He is wrong.

We must ask ourselves did the people of NY elect the first Democratic Tea Party Governor?

What has he done to address the real issues that effect education in NYS? Poverty? Health care? affordable housing? Public Safety?

“Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said, pension reform, relief  from government mandates and state agency consolidation will be among
his priorities for 2012″
  That certainly sounds like he took a huge gulp of Tea.

 

Hello world!

Hello world! Welcome to my blog, where I’ll be sharing my thoughts, ideas, comments and dreams.

I’m an elementary school teacher trying to do the right thing for my students, my family, and my community. At times doing the right thing has placed me on the ‘other side’ of the issue. It has cost me some ‘friends’  if they were friends at all, and it has also allowed me to gain some wonderful new friends as well. We all must live by our convictions, otherwise we aren’t living at all.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right” I tell my students to always think that they can. My goal for my students is that they will become confident, courageous and independent learners and thinkers. I think that if we had more real thinkers in our society, we all would be better off.

I tell my students, have your own opinion, but always remember to do your research. Opinions without facts to back them up are nothing more than rantings. And no one is really  interested in rantings.

We all need a place to share, opine, complain, and contribute.

Hopefully this blog will be the place for me. Let’s see.

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