Opine I will

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

End of Year

It’s that time of year when we start seeing end of year lists in review. We become inundated with lists of everything from soup to nuts. Especially nuts this year!

Here is my list of questions,  still unanswered, as 2014 comes to a close. Feel free to provide an answer if you can or pass them along.

  1. Why are graduation rates at historic levels ( high school, college and post secondary) if our public schools are failing?
  2. The stock market is at an all-time high, so why are public schools underfunded?
  3. In New York State and many other states, property values are driven by the quality of the school district, so why is Governor Cuomo tying the hands of local communities to fully fund their local schools?
  4. New York State is no longer in financial trouble, so why does Governor Cuomo continue to use a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scheme ( Gap Elimination Adjustment) that robs public schools of budgeted school aid?
  5. Why is New York State funding schools below 2009 levels while giving tax breaks to casinos?
  6. Where is the evidence that Common Core State Standards are age appropriate?
  7. Just what does the term “college and career ready” really mean. Especially when it is used to assess kindergarten through 6th grade children?
  8. Why does the New York State Education Chancellor and Governor Cuomo continue to state that our teachers are failing students when 93.8% of all high school graduates ( excluding NYC) are earning a ‘Regent’s Diploma”?
  9. Where is the evidence to support the underlying requirement of the Common Core that all students should be at the same level of understanding at the same time?
  10. Where is the research that supports the current practice of having elementary age children take hour upon hour of tests to measure teacher, administration, and district effectiveness as well as their own level of understanding?
  11. Why is it acceptable to dismantle and hand over our communities’ most important assets ( our schools) to private entrepreneurs?
  12. Why do our legislators do so little for the social needs of our communities while at the same time blaming our schools?
  13. How do states justify reducing the number of teachers while at the same time proclaim all students deserve a good education?
  14. Why have our public school teachers become the nation’s scapegoat for poor public policy?
  15. Why are special needs children being denied special education services?
  16. Just where is the evidence that supports the ideal that Charlotte Danielson and her contrived rubric should be the standard for teacher evaluation?
  17. Why are teachers’ unions unfairly labeled when the evidence shows that where they exist student achievement is higher?
  18. Why has President Obama been silent on high stakes testing since his State of the Union 2 years ago when he said testing should be limited?
  19. When will states be up front and honest and inform their residents that Lotteries do not increase funding for schools?
  20. When will all public sector unions join together and demand in a collective voice, “workers’ rights, pay, benefits and pensions for all”?

Frustration to Motivation

I love teaching. I know I make a difference in my student’s lives and that my students leave my class ready to face sixth grade and high school beyond that. Every day, I look forward to the challenges my students throw my way. That is what keeps me motivated, focused and teaching. That is why I became a teacher. Unfortunately, new challenges have developed that have turned this year into one of the most frustrating years I have ever experienced as a teacher.

The new challenges I face every day affect my students, my colleagues, my community, my craft, and me. These new challenges are caused by the political agendas of a few wealthy ideologues who are hell bent to “save our nation by saving our schools”.  When in reality their aim is a power grab that will destroy our nation’s greatest asset and hand it over to the private sector to fuel their movement and fill their pocketbooks.

I became President of our local Teachers’ Association about a year and a half ago,  and now my days are filled with contract negotiations, grievances, budget cuts, unrealistic expectations, nonsensical teacher evaluations, tax caps, invalid data, and accusations that suddenly we have no idea how to teach.  We are now being told we all must now abandoned good teaching and follow a new paradigm .

We are in the midst of our third year without a new contract in our district. Thanks to New York’s Triborough Amendment, our old contract remains in effect until a new one is collectively bargained. But that is not guaranteed to continue, because there is new legislation being drafted that would end that protective amendment.  Approximately one third of our teachers have not received a raise in 3 years, our health insurance benefit is under attack as well as our future pensions. Our financial and professional futures have been put at risk.

New York Governor Cuomo, the self-proclaimed student advocate, is on a crusade that will rip apart the fabric of our neighborhoods. He is on his own “Sherman’s March”. His goal is to beat public sector unions into submission by destroying everything in his path, because he claims it is for the public good.

His Tax Cap, his continued use of a Gap Elimination Adjustment, his failure to fund schools beyond 2008 levels, his warped teacher’s evaluation plan, his appointed Education Commissioner, his charter school advocacy, his support for school vouchers and his hedge fund allies have waged total war against our public schools.

This has made it impossible to negotiate a new teachers’ contract and that has created situations where we must now grieve conditions of our current contract that are being challenged. We are being told that we must now teach a new way, and that our old ways may have been effective.We must never the less change due to new high stakes tests. Our special education teachers must now look for ways that help our most vulnerable students despite new restrictions that prevent them from offering needed services. Our days are filled with administrators with clipboards wandering our halls and entering our rooms to make sure our assembly lines (classrooms) are working efficiently.

Here’s the kicker.  Our district located in a strong middle class neighborhood, whose homes sell for $600K to over $1million.Their property values stayed strong despite the economic calamity of a few years ago because of our schools.  Our students excel and over 95% of them go to college. Our teacher salaries are near the bottom of all school district salaries in the region.  We have outperformed the state, the region and the county on state test scores ( It kills me to even use this). With outcomes like these would a private employer treat their employees the same way?

Cuomo’s total war on us will have profound effects on the region.  Our teachers are contributors to our region’s economy. They spend their paychecks in local businesses, pay their fair share of taxes, volunteer in their own communities, and contribute to local charities.  Our retirees pensions flow directly back into the local economy as well.

2015 is not going to be a good year for education in New York State. Cuomo’s reelection has set the stage for a bloodletting of sorts. He now has the votes needed in the legislature to accelerate his campaign of destruction. Now is not the time to sit back and hope. Hear the call to action! Get involved, attend rallies, write letters make calls, and visit your legislator. Join your civic association, wear your teacher label with pride, and let your local businesses know you are a teacher and that you support them.

It’s time to turn our frustration into motivation. If not you better start practicing saying, “welcome to Walmart”.

In the 3rd year without a contract

Our Teachers’ Association is the third year without a new contract. As president of our association I made the following comments at last evening’s School Board meeting.

I  would like to start off this evening by congratulating you on your successful resolution at the New York State School Board’s Associations convention to enhance school safety by bringing to the forefront our district’s concerns with having elections in our schools while school is in session.  I would also like to congratulate the NYSSBA for rejecting their own Board of Director’s resolution to support the continued use of student performance data in APPRs. Even though it was rejected by a slim margin, I am hoping that our Board also voted to reject that resolution.

We all agree that some sort of evaluation process needs to be in place that fairly measures teacher and district effectiveness. Unfortunately so called educational reformers have hijacked the conversation and have created a system that relies on high stakes tests that creates invalid data that we all are unfairly judged on.

Our students are subjected to hours upon hours of tests that are used for multiple purposes Effective Assessments are not supposed to be designed that way. Effective Assessments should be designed to help a child, not label them or label their teacher, school, or district.

At last month’s Board meeting we were presented with bar graph after bar graph that were designed to show how we did on last year’s state assessments. They showed that we excelled at all grade levels and that our teachers do extraordinary work.

Despite the fact that we lead most of the state with our scores we still heard we need to work to increase the ‘stamina’ of some of our students and  that more work needs to be done to raise these scores even higher. That may make logical sense because we all want to do better and better however,

 I must say that, I believe that our students and your children are much more than a test score.

The current APPR evaluation system measuring student growth using

standardized testing is a not a  valid assessment of an educator’s job performance.

These tests do not take into account that our students are more than a test score. They don’t measure a student who may have come to school hungry, or is simply suffering that day from hay fever, They don’t take into account if a child may be dealing with problems at home, or a problem with their best friend. It doesn’t take into account that the child may be just having a bad day, after all we all have them. There are thousands of issues that impact on student learning on any given day and to make believe some standardized test can measure that, ignores the fact that your children are much more than a test score.

My colleagues know that, that’s why when you visit our classrooms you witness first hand the caring and nurturing that our wonderful teachers do. You see our teachers teaching the whole child  going above and beyond any contract language or some made up rubric to ensure our students, your children, are prepared for the yet unknown future they face.

When we speak of stamina, it should not be in the context of student taking tests, it should be in the unbelievable stamina our teachers have. They often work well into the night and on weekends developing lessons and experiences for their students. They attend workshops and classes to improve their craft so that their students and this community benefit.  When you believe that students are much more than a test score you do those things regradless of what any contract says or whether or not your contract has been settled or not.

 Teachers are an extraordinary bunch, they need to be. You see we all depend on teachers. What we do here day in and day out effects the lives of the children and the families we teach, it effects the property values of all that live here whether you have children or not. It even affects the local businesses in the area. Without a strong schools and strong property values, local businesses would flounder and disappear.

Hopefully, one day, we won’t have to sit and look at bar graphs that attempt to label our students and our efforts and our schools. Hopefully our elected leaders will come to believe that our children are much more than a test score.

And hopefully one day soon, our teachers will be recognized for their extraordinary efforts with a fair contract that recognizes that today’s teachers and our future teachers are vital members of this community.

The Big Lie

The Big Lie
time mag

It’s been said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Time Inc.’s website touts them as , ” Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME) is one of the largest media companies in the world reaching more than 130 million consumers each month across multiple platforms through influential brands such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Wallpaper and NME.”Notice their descriptor… ‘influential brands’. Time Inc. admits their magazines are out there to influence the public.

Time knows their covers influence, they also know that most of their readers won’t take the time to actually read. That’s why this cover is so dangerous. Yes… dangerous!

You see folks, we are at war and it’s a Civil War.  The weapons of this war are  influence,strategy, and power .

Influence( some examples)

Time magazine ( at the top of today’s list)

Think Tanks..

Gates Foundation

Koch Bros.


Media outlets

Strategy ( some examples)

Promote the Big Lie;

” Our schools are failing”

“We are losing our standing in the world”

“Kids are not career and college ready”

“Teachers are ineffective”

“Our learning standards need improvement”

“Data can be used to make all kids learn”

“Teachers can overcome all other influences in a child’s life”

Power ( some examples)

“Elected officials”

Groups like New York State’s Board of Regents


Governor’s Association

US Department of Education



This Civil War is being fought around the “Big Lie”.  Their aim is to gain control of our Nation’s most precious assets, our public schools so they may reap the huge profits of their conquests. The victors will gain control of our Nation’s hearts, minds and souls.They are filling their coffers with the spoils of each battle.

Every time they take over part or all of a school building they get stronger. Every time a district succumbs to the fear that they may be labeled as a failure if they don’t follow a Pearson scripted curriculum we lose a battle. Every second a teacher is forced to march their class through test prep, we are one step closer to losing this war.

It’s time to treat this as a real war. We have a weapon that is more powerful, more influential, more effective than anything they can throw at us.  That weapon is solidarity!

Solidarity has been used effectively to advance real change through history. We need to build strong grassroot links across our communities. Educate parents and your neighbors on the perils of losing their neighborhood schools. Visit with local Chambers of Commerce’s and discuss with them that education and tax reform are two separate issues and they should not be used to drive each other. Boycott media outlets that influence and not report. Get active in politics and drive those, who desire to split our nation, into the haves and have nots out of our state houses, governor’s mansions and even our city halls. Demand that your local school boards treat their teachers with respect and focus with laser like precision on what children really need rather on trying to jump through some reformer’s hoop.

And most importantly ….VOTE!









Tipping the scales of an effective education

We need to re-balance the scales of public education in this nation. Visit this link to see our nation’s real problem. scales of education

This could be the most important read of the summer

I like to write my own opines, but this could be the most important article to read this summer. As I sat in the parking lot of a little quilt store, waiting for my wife,in Lancaster, PA I came across the important article. It describes what NYS schools really lost when Commish King grabbed that poisoned carrot on a stick.
Read this and weep along with me for a nano second, then get angry and let’s win this thing.


Just what is “college and career readiness” and “rigor”

Just what is “college and career readiness” and “rigor” that is we are being told is a necessary component of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? These terms slip off the tongues of CCSS proponents effortlessly, like saliva slobbering off a St. Bernard eager for the self-assuring pat on the head of their master. Shouldn’t we be guiding our students to be contributing members of society rather than focusing on some made up term meant to sell a product?

To make the statement that all students will be college and career ready by the time they graduate high school is nothing more than a self-serving sales ploy meant to drive an ideological agenda. We now have schools across the country, demanding that elementary students be placed on this made up paradigm or they will be doomed as failures. Kindergarten teachers are being watched to ensure that every single one of their students start off on this pathway, regardless of their economic, social, emotional, or developmental diversity.

Teachers are being evaluated as to how well they adapt to this new paradigm that magically promises our nation a new economic future. Regardless of where you teach, regardless of who you teach, regardless of the resources you have available, you must walk… MUST.. walk in unison with other teachers across the nation. You are being watched, evaluated, and you will be placed in the public eye if you do not follow this new paradigm.

So what is college and career ready? Am I doing my students a disservice by reading a difficult text to them and not having them struggle through it? Does reading to my 5th grade students Lyddie by Katherine Paterson and discussing the trials and tribulations of the mill girls of the 19th century make them ready? How about Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee? Will my students be deemed college and career ready if I spend time exploring prejudices with them? If a couple of my students, just can’t quite handle basic math facts just yet, will they be doomed to a life without a career? Will I be labeled a failure? If I have my class watch the movie Shenandoah ? Am I doing them a disservice?

Does having my 11 year old students sit through 540 minutes of CCSS assessments really inform my teaching? Does it help them become productive members of society? Does having my students sit through hours of district pre and post assessments meant to evaluate me really help them? Will following CCSS modules that have not been piloted or researched and that ignores Blooms taxonomy, ensure my students a successful life? We all know the answers, but why have we not put an end to this madness?

Look at the definition of rigor, is this what we want in our schools?  CCSS is creating a rigidity that will destroy our future as a diverse nation. The needs of the students of Montana are very different that the needs of the students on Long Island. To assume that rigor is needed to meet those needs, takes us back in time before educational research.

I believe we really want vigor.  I want my students to be independent and courageous lifetime learners. If they need extra time to decide on a career or decide to go to college or not, as long as they are independent and are not afraid to learn new things, challenge the norm and contribute to society in a meaningful way, then I have done my job. I do not want my students to march lockstep through their academic lives, following some new paradigm developed with a political agenda.

Folks this battle for the minds of our children is not over..

I worked too damn hard to earn my tenure to have it taken away.

I have worked too hard, much too hard to earn my tenure as a teacher to just sit back and watch ideologues and so called reformers snatch it away from me. Tenure should only be defined as an employee’s right to due process as defined by state law.

When a failed journalist like Campbell Brown uses her name to drive her husband’s education reform agenda  and claims to have the legal backing to eliminate tenure in New York, it becomes instant news. Why is it that eliminating tenure is news while earning tenure is ignored?

I worked too damn hard to earn my tenure, as an elementary school teacher. I will not sit back and watch Brown and her corporate backers rip my due process rights away from me. I struggled and my family sacrificed so that I may enjoy a fulfilling career as a teacher. Now Brown and her cohorts believe they can label teachers as some sort of indentured servant to be shown the door at whim. That is not the America I teach my fifth grade students. I teach my students about the struggles all people in this great nation of ours faced and continue to face and  that has become the fabric of our great nation.

As teachers it is time to tell our stories. It is time to explain why we are teachers and what we had to do to earn a spot in  one our nation’s most precious assets, our schools.

My story started long before I even dreamed  of being a teacher. I was a self employed architectural designer. I had a studio, employees, and I supported my growing family. My degree in architecture, taught me to question the need for everything I proposed and I was required to defend every aspect of my projects. Most of my clients were well to do, many of the interiors I designed were well out of my own personal means and had a pretty good following. Being self employed I was readily available to be around for my children whenever I was needed. I visited their schools, I coached them in sports and scouts. It was a good life. Yet something was missing.

My work was not that fulfilling. Designing beautiful homes for the 1%,  furnishing resort hotels, or designing the occasional doctor’s office just did not seem meaningful for a life’s work. At the same time I was also dealing with the feast or famine nature of that field. Good times financially and bad times would fluctuate with the market. I began to question my purpose, is this something I really wanted to do for the next 20 or so years?

I began to look for meaningful work, I began by volunteering. I became president of my local chamber of commerce, served as a board member on our youth soccer league, Little League, and even our local senior citizen organization. I was the founding member and became VP of a ratepayer group called the Waterbill Watchdogs  that won a groundbreaking case against our municipal water supplier. I became president of our youth council and volunteered most Friday and Saturday evenings running a teen center where our local kids can hang out in a safe environment.I coached my children in every sport and I eventually became scoutmaster of our local Boy Scout troop.   I even ran for local office ( losing twice). 

I began to really think about my future, what did I really want to do for the next phase in my life.  I took out a pad and listed all the things I liked to do and all the things I didn’t. It became quite clear that I loved working with kids and that I was successful at it. I began to think, just perhaps I could become a teacher.

I began to question my friends who were teachers. One friend, a vice principal in a Queens school suggested I apply for a subbing spot and give it a try. So I did, and I was hooked, I subbed every now and then I continued to run my business as I pondered the idea of starting a new career. As I sought guidance from friends, one remarked, “you are never going to become rich as a teacher, but you will have a wonderfully fulfilling life.”

I talked over the decision with my wife and I decided to go back to school to earn a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. I attended classes at night, fresh with new student loans, and I ran my business during the day. My family’s sacrifice was something I will never forget. I wasn’t around as much, our income fell as less time was spent with the business, and we were going into debt due to student loans. I went “all in” and set a goal to earn that degree in only two years.I then student taught for a semester, (working for no pay), scraping by with my business as best as I could. I reached the point of no return, I was sacrificing my business to follow this new dream.

I had a mortgage, 3 children, bills to pay, and virtually no income during my student teaching experience.The bills piled up, the collection agencies called, vacations were put on hold, my family’s life was turned upside down. It may seem hokey, but I prayed for divine guidance and my drive to become a teacher grew stronger.

I finished my unpaid student teacher experience and then looked for sub work wherever I could. I landed a leave replacement spot for a few months and I hoped it would turn into something more permanent. Unfortunately it did not. I was without a job, a business that I was shutting down and more bills.

I then applied to sub in 6 districts, and was able to sub most days, getting paid anywhere from $90- $110 per day ( before taxes). I did this for a year. Do the math, that added up to less than $18,000 for that year. Thank heavens my wife worked and we were able to survive yet another year.

Then I landed a probational spot in a small elementary school. I believe this was meant to be, because I graduated from this school in 1969! Took me all those years on my journey to wind up where I started!  My first three years were a test. Without tenure I could be fired without any reason. I was observed several times each year, I volunteered for just about anything I could to stay in the good graces of the powers at hand.  I kept my mouth shut, did what I was told. Then it happened.

After all these years I was notified that I was being recommended for tenure. Recommended? It still was not guaranteed. The school board had to make the final decision. Then they held their meeting and voted to award me tenure as of September of the upcoming year. I made it.. due process! I did not have to worry about getting the boot without cause.

Now I was free to try new things in my classroom. I was able to introduce new projects and make my students really grow. I was able to tell parents the truth about what their children really needed to succeed. I was able to contribute , truly contribute on district committees with my own opinions. I was able to speak my mind when I saw a wrong. I was able to be the absolute best I could be.

I have been teaching 16 years so far. I think the first 10 was a learning process, I am much better now that I was 5 years ago. I am now president of our teachers’ association, I speak my mind more that ever, and I am free to write my blog. If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I have been outspoken on several issues and without tenure I most likely be on the street. And yes, now I can pay my bills and I look forward to a pension during my retirement years.

Would I do it again? Yes! This is the toughest job I ever had, but it is also the most rewarding. I touch the future every day, I wonder if Campbell Brown and her cohorts ever have that same feeling about what they do. I doubt it. People like that go through life with a miserable chip on their shoulders. They feel they need to tear down everything in order to prove some warped idea.

All I have to say is, Campbell Brown… don’t even try it. I’ve worked too damn hard to let you get away with it.

The culture of testing continues in NYS.

The culture of testing is about to be given a lifeline in a 4 way deal tonight in Albany. Governor Cuomo, the Assembly, the Senate, and NYSUT will be agreeing on a 2 year deal, that will continue to allow the students of New York to be tested for hours upon hours every school year. \

Last month I wrote that I was ashamed to be a teacher. Tonight, this proposed deal does absolutely nothing to address the concerns I wrote about. This proposed deal, ignores the institutional abuse we put our children and students through to prove that a series of tests, and rubrics can determine who is a good teacher  and who is not.

Here is a link to the bill

We were told that they were working towards a moratorium. That turned out to be untrue. The bill even states that this is NOT a moratorium. Now we are being told it is like hitting the reset button. This too is not true. A reset button starts something over, this bill does not do that. We are being promised that it gives us time to work things out. Really? What the hell have we been doing for the past several years? How does this bill give us time?

So here we are tonight, Albany working in it’s archaic way. Backroom deals abound. Promises made with fingers crossed. Sales pitches to the masses, that seem to ignore that  we can read what you just voted on.

NYSUT has been treading softly on Cuomo’s turf since our RA. My question now is why? For this?

So come next April it looks like I will be writing this again.

“Today I finished administering the sixth day of New York State Common Core assessments. I was a facilitator in a process that made my 10 year old students struggle,to the point of frustration, to complete yet another 90 minute test. I sat by as I watched my students attempt to answer questions today that were beyond their abilities. I knew the test booklets I put in front of them contained questions that were written in a way that 95% of them had no chance of solving. I even tried to give my students a pep talk, in hopes of alleviating their angst, when I knew damn well they didn’t stand a chance. Today I was part of the problem.

Governor Cuomo, and State Senator Martins, I pledge to you that you will not get my vote in November. I Pledge that I will actively work to have you voted out.

NYSUT, I pledge to you, that I will not be silent. I will continue to do whatever needs to be done to be sure our union works from a position of strength not from a position of fear of the Governor.



Time to reflect.. but not for long

As I sit in my backyard,  contemplating another end to another school year, I am drawn to the thoughts of why does this year seem so different than others. In the past, I would often look at summer break as an opportunity to unwind, reflect, recharge, and prepare for the following year’s challenges. But, this year is different, much different. The distractions caused by education reformers, political agendas, corporate raiders, and social upheaval have taken a toll. It has taken a toll on me, on how I teach,and on my students.

Education reformers have been successful in turning my classroom into some grand social experiment. We now march through a curriculum that is  geared towards a Common Core test that is meant to evaluate teachers and administrators. Our vocabulary lists now include words most likely to be found on these tests and we are now told to assess our students against these one size fits all standards. I have to test my students several times a year on an internet based program to determine their growth against students of their own ability. This is the true Race to The Top, as students are placed in categories and their growth scores are calculated to determine my effectiveness. They have turned our classrooms into assembly lines.

My administrators visit my classroom almost daily with a clipboard and  a  rubric used to again measure me. They look at my room and judge me on everything from what is on my walls to whether or not a kid may be daydreaming. I guess in today’s world, kids are not allowed to daydream, especially when an administrator happens by.

Political agendas have also been successful in upending my teaching apple cart. Here in New York, we have Governor Cuomo, who proclaims himself to be the state’s only student advocate. He proudly proclaims his tax cap policy is good for the state while  he funds his schools below 2009 levels. He seeks out tax breaks for millionaires while those of us in the classroom scramble to secure needed resources wherever we can. I have watched teachers lose their jobs all across the state as the concept of one person one vote has been thrown under the wheels of  his bus. This year we have seen the same Regents, that have approved the mess we are in, reappointed by our legislature. I have also personally felt the rage of my NYS Assemblywomen when I dared questioned her on vote.

On a national level, I supported President Obama’s re-election and heard his State of the Union as he praised teachers and asked for less high stakes tests. Yet, his Secretary of Education has failed or refused to do anything about it. Now we have to defend against an attack on  a teacher’s right to due process,and  justify our earned pensions. I have watched schools closed in places like Chicago and teachers’ unions vilified for standing up for the students their members teach.

Corporate raiders have begun the takeover of public education. They have discovered billions of dollars meant for educating the children of our nation can now be theirs. They have driven the Common Core, which in turn requires new resources which they then sell. They have opened their own schools, often turning those with special needs away, as they rob the budgets of local districts. They have even taken over public facilities, driving public schools into corners of their own buildings.

Social upheaval often is by design. We now have lock down and lock out drills in our schools. We often have to use valuable resources on security plans as as we must now fortify our schools. All the while the gun lobbyists point at others every time another school  shooting occurs. When a nation averages 1 school shooting a week and does not mobilize resources to change our mindset, one has to conclude this is by design. When a nation refuses to address poverty as the real reason some children do not succeed, it is by design. When one segment of our population fills our prisons and as a nation we do not direct our resources into those communities, it is by design. There is no other answer.

So this year, I am ending my year by reflecting. There is no time to unwind. I need to recharge because our nation is at war. we are at war to protect our nation’s future.. our children. Our public schools are needed, and I am not ready to be defeated by those who want to destroy and then steal our nation’s most important asset. Will you join me?

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