Good God, People suffer! If we are not anchored in faith, then the world is a very dangerous place for us. Bombs--real ones
in war zones and emotional ones in our every day lives will detonate, but if we are anchored in faith, we will persevere.
Last night I watched the Memorial
Day Celebration in Washington D.C. A story was told about a Vietnam vet and the anger he'd felt months after losing his leg
in a mortar attack. On the battle field, when the medics had come to him, he pulled a "John Wayne" and said
something like, "Go back! Take care of the truly injured!"
Later he found out he needed five pints of blood to stay alive. A priest came to
offer last rites. At 23 he was not ready to say "Adios" and pretty much told the priest to "get the h@%$ outta
It was, he said, God's voice inside
that saved him. As he lamented never being able to play LaCrosse again, God's humorous and laconic voice rose up and
out of him. "Well, you never really could run anyway." He said he smiled, cried, woke up, moved on--you
fill in the verbs--and accepted.
He, over the next five decades,
has helped many thousands of other amputees find their "new normals" in their lives.
I went to church yesterday. A traditional service. We opened hymnals
and sang with an organist. I smiled at one of the hymns: "How Great Thou Art". As a young girl
growing up in a small, rural Ohio town, I'd sung in a girls' quartet and "How Great Thou Art" was a church favorite.
Dorinda was the oldest in our quartet--a grade ahead, so she had "seniority"--then Nancy, Martha, and finally
me. We'd practice after school at Martha's house. Martha's mom, Barb, was our pianist. Barb wore her hair in a tight
bun on top of her head. I remember that. In addition to "How Great Thou Art", we often sang "Let
There Be Peace On Earth", and "Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me", "Count Your Blessings"
and "He". Of course at Christmas, we belted out "Drummer Boy" and other Christmas favorites. "Up
From the Grave He Arose" at early Easter services too.
years are sweetly seared into me. Those songs are resources I call upon when I am troubled. I'll loudly sing them in
the kitchen--just stand and sing. Tears often come.
Great Thou Art" is my favorite kitchen singing song. At church yesterday as I sang it with others and I felt God's presence.
I felt God's presence. I felt him in me,
around me, through me and with me. Although I am troubled, through faith I will persevere.
And I joined the church choir.
Woke up early and wrote this:
It's 0430 and already I'm fretting. I'm fretting mostly about public education. That topic eats
into my joy. I'm tired, not just from being up at 0430, but also from that topic awakening me. I am tired of my governor,
my state's legislators, and my Department and Board of Education. I'm tired of "big whiggie" people in my state
taking advantage of children and their families under the pretense of "equity". Tired of the "big whiggies"
making lots of money at the expense of vulnerable people.
Tired of testing.
I'm tired of being a test administrator. I'm tired of daily reading testing "You-May-Nots"
and "If-You-Do's". Tired of watching children slumped in testing chairs in front of testing computers in testing
labs. Tired of standing around day after day in those testing labs. "You," the state's 'You-May-Nots' seem to include
for me: "may not do ANYTHING other than watch children be bored out of their minds. You most certainly MAY NOT look even
once at 'The Test' on any computer screen at any time for any reason! WE WILL FIRE YOUR A@@ if you do...."
Tired of schools' resources being spent on even more computers so that schools' libraries, for
example, can be turned into even more testing labs.
As I said, I am tired.
I am tired of meeting with parents and children about "The Test." Tired of pretending
the damn thing's important. Tired of using my "personal skills"--and by golly, I got me some after 26 years of being
a flight attendant--to put smiles on almost all testing worried parents' faces.
of pulling out the lipstick and applying it to the testing pig.
I'm so, so tired
of children not graduating because of this test. This awful test. This test that eats up children and schools. Devours time
and resources. Gobbles up futures and hopes and dreams.
I'm tired of
the Department of Education's intimidation. coercion, and fear mongering. "You BETTER put on the testing lipstick! We
DARE you not to gussy up our standardized swine!"
Tired of "choice."
I contend that if community based public schools were all that all children deserve, then parents would choose public schools
"down the street" instead of charter schools "across town."
of: "Teach Like a Champion" by Doug Lemov. My district uses this book to "guide instruction." What a bunch
of (as my father would say) "horses#@t"! Am I the only employee to have watched the accompanying CD? Am I the only
one horrified to see the CD's robot children hopping up as a young teacher claps her hands and barks her orders?! Am I the
only appalled person in my entire school district who will call out this dangerous nonsense?
I've got, however, my own personal "You-May-Nots"and "If-You-Do's": You may not stay quiet
about testing abuse. You may not abandon public education to a bunch of money grubbing bureaucrats. You may not.
You may not, for if you do...you won't much like yourself. For sure,
you won't be able to sleep.