Random thoughts. I just can’t quit you.


Four years into retirement I still drop by the school where I once spent fifteen years.

At least twice a year.

I usually go to the Holiday Sing in December. And the day  before the last day which, if there have been no snow days, is a records day with no students in attendance.

It was the tradition that on this day the few members of the staff who were men would grill brats for the rest of the staff for lunch. It was a tradition that preceded me and continues.

I go back for the brats and to see friends. And to share a little gossip.

One of the few bad things about retirement is that work is a place where you meet and develop friendships. And where you hear good gossip, especially about administrators.

Retirement provides fewer opportunities to develop friendships. And what’s to gossip about?

I heard the frustration with all the testing that has only increased since I left.

“They name those tests like we are taking a vacation,” a past colleague said. “MAP and PARCC. Sounds like we are taking a trip to a place with trees and a pond.”

Before heading back to close up their classrooms for the summer, a few members of the Carpenter Ukulele Society got together for a short jam.

My favorite teaching years were spent at this school. It was a place where we struggled to do good Special Needs inclusion with students. It was the greatest professional opportunity and I always felt lucky to be in the middle of doing work that was incredibly meaningful.

I say “good inclusion,”.

These days, with the budget fiasco in Springfield, the possibility that schools may not even have money to open in the Fall, and the Manar funding formula change that would remove dollars from hiring special education teachers,  doing good inclusion is a huge challenge.

It can’t be done on the cheap.

Inclusion isn’t dumping students in a general education classroom with a general education teacher, class sizes of thirty and more and no support staff.

Inclusion isn’t a school that has no funds for a regular social worker, psychologist and special education specialists.

It isn’t RTI push-in programs.

We had to always fight for or against those things.

Now more than ever.

7 Replies to “Random thoughts. I just can’t quit you.”

  1. You must have given up on your workout program Fred. You make that guitar you’re holding appear very small next to your waistline!

    1. Cruel. No. I’m still at it. It’s the camera angle? Can’t sit up straight in a little kid chair? Are you buying any of this?

  2. Fred,
    You can hire all the psychologists, social workers and specialty teachers and support staff you want.
    You cannot replace or create a stable home environment, It’s time to try something else. This is not working.
    Thee are two important areas of modern life where the public is being duped into thinking they are the customer and the institution has their best interest at heart. Healthcare and public education. Both are broken.
    As Hawkeye Pierce of MASH fame once chanted “We want something else, we want something else!!”. He didn’t want any more “liver for dinner”, well we don’t want any more pablum for the masses.

    Gentle Gliding Clyde

    1. You must be thrilled that schools may not open in the Fall. You will have what you dream of. Something else. Or rather nothing else.

    2. If you’re really concerned about kids having a stable home life, having living wage jobs with good benefits would go a long way. As would mental health centers, libraries, a public school in the neighborhood, good healthcare, ample food, etc. But you’re probably opposed to all of those too, amirite?

    3. Why do I have a very strong feeling that you don’t give a damn about kids who need special ed help or their parents?

      “There are two important areas of modern life where the public is being duped into thinking they are the customer and the institution has their best interest at heart.”

      There are many of those in our deregulated, careening out of control, “free market” economic system, but health care and public education are not among them.

      “Health care and public education. Both are broken.”

      Health care isn’t broken; the system of payment for health care that relies on private, profit-making businesses called health insurance companies is “broken.” I have no complaints about the health care I’ve received; I have plenty of complaints about health insurance companies.

      Public education “broken?”

      What qualifies you to make that assertion? (a) You’re a Fox (News?) devotee. (b) You’re a Limbaughling. (c) You’re a Glenn Beck disciple (d) You can’t find the posterior part of your anatomy with either hand. (e) all of the above

      As for “Hawkeye” on “MASH,” He’s funny, but he’s also fiction.

      “…well we don’t want any more pablum for the masses.”
      Pablum for the masses? Ironically, that’s your only contribution to the discussion.

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