Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sorry Mom

Dear Mom,

I am sorry to tell you that after more than 50 years of waking up to the Los Angeles Times for breakfast, and having watched you spend a couple of hours reading it cover to cover every day, I am cancelling my subscription.  In a way it feels like sacrilege, but I just cannot support a newspaper that endorses irresponsible journalism.  I tried to ignore the pleas of my Union and covertly read the paper for the past couple of weeks, but after learning of Rigoberto Ruelas’ suicide in reaction to his name being published as “less than effective” in the Times, I cannot support this paper any longer.  I will miss the morning ritual, and the comforting remembrances of you mom, every morning.  I will miss reading the writers I love and have been reading for most of my life.  I myself had a small editorial published in the paper years ago.  But I cannot believe that the writers, Jason Felch, Stephanie Ferrell, Megan Garvey, Thomas Suh Lauder, David Lauter, Julie Marquis, Sandra Poindexter, Ken Schwencke, Beth Shuster, Jason Song, Doug Smith, of the education article on Value Added Evaluations of teachers could not have done the same article without naming names and humiliating hundreds of decent, hardworking teachers.

As a teacher, I know we are not in this profession for the money or the glory.  We are in this profession to help children.  I am not writing about evaluation methods, simply about the notoriety seeking journalists that are making names for themselves on the backs of many teachers.  I would like to see Value Added Evaluations of those in the following professions:

Journalists-how many people benefit from your articles?

Lawyers-how many cases were won/lost?

Doctors/Dentists-how healthy are your patients?

Money Managers-how successful are your investments for your clients?

Accountants-how many of your clients are audited?

Automobile Industry-how safe are your cars?

Parents-how ready are your children to start school?

Let’s start naming names!

Students arrive at 5 years old, but the five years before formal public school are filled with the impact of many others including parents, preschool teachers, siblings, relatives, television, video games, neighbors and environment. I know there are claims that Value Added takes all of this into account, but can’t it be used to privately help teachers who need support and publicly without naming names?

For public education to succeed, we need the support of the students, parents, community, government, and media.

I am sorry mom, but really I think you would be proud of me because you were a wonderful teacher; in the classroom and in my life.  I love you.  Good by L.A. Times.

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Filed under Education, Mom, reading

Empty House

I just came home to a very quiet house that suddenly feels a bit too large.  Two of the three bedrooms are uncharacteristically clean and the remnants of food I don’t really eat sit in the refrigerator and on the shelves of the pantry.  Charlie (the dog) is looking around for the commotion that is no longer here and peeking out the window, looking for approaching cars that are parked in different cities now.  The house is quiet.  It is time to take stock of the house and the still too numerous belongings, sift through, clean up and organize.  I have no excuses now, there are few distractions.  I have a few months to make the belongings of this house moveable and shed unnecessary, little used items.  Change comes slowly and is not often noticed until it pounces on you, demanding submission.  It is so much simpler to drift along living in the moment, certainly a desirable state, but current times demand looking in the mirror, reality checks and revamping.  The quiet house is patient and the belongings beg for a place in the future.

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Filed under change, Family, Life thoughts