And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Waiting For Superman


This evening I curled up on the couch with my laptop and favorite blanket and watched the documentary Waiting for "Superman". I must first note my potential bias as having been a teacher and having a vested interest in the education system. That said, this documentary was heartwrenching in capturing the failure of the American education system. No child or family should have to pin their hopes on receiving a decent education on a lottery drawing because everyone from the parents in the neighborhood to the administration at the school know the local school is no place for a child. When money has failed and legislation has failed, thank you No Child Left Untested (No Child Left Behind) then something else must change. What worked 50 years ago is not going to work today. The first thing that every teacher, administrator, policy maker and legislator must agree upon is the belief that every single child regardless of preconceived notions of failure is fully capable of learning and succeeding. The next thing that  needs to be done is to get rid of the obstacles to radical change. Teachers unions are far too powerful in their ability to cripple efforts to make radical changes to how we educate children. I do disagree with merit based pay based upon the current assessment system as the testing completed is prejudiced against ESL learners, children with disabilities, and children from different backgrounds. I am all for eliminating tenure and making teaching like every other job - if you fail to do your job up to expectations then you lose your job. No free rides just because you made it through two or three years. We need to look at the schools that are succeeding, the radical schools that are breaking all the rules and defying all of the odds and learn from them. If we don't start to apply the lessons they offer to us, we are soon going to cease to be a superpower in the world due to a lack of educated populace. I would totally recommend this movie for any parent, anyone who cares about a child, or anyone who cares about the future of our society.
2 comments:

I totally agree with you. I also felt the same way after watching this great movie. The state of affairs is very sad. I had no idea teachers' unions had such power- its really crazy! I also don't believe people should be that hard to fire if they have tenure. This movie also brought to mind many other social issues- very thought-provoking.


Thanks so much for writing this post, Bethany. You are thoughtful and have working in public education. Your perspective has meaning.

(Michelle Rhee now follows me on twitter! I think because of your post!)

Barbara


Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."



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Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst



Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies


* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.
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