Ellen is a teacher – and a good one (and that’s not just a dad talking up his daughter). I’ll support a good public education at every turn, and she ought to know that. This letter bolsters what’s she’s heard before.
March 24, 2014 Ellen/Reid: There was some relief, but not unexpectedly so, after last Thursday’s ‘procedure.’ Always good to get the good news. Your time is coming on that score, however. But you’re both still a long time away – at least 20 years or so.
Ellen, it was with some dismay this morning that I read the attached in the Observer. How can racism and de facto policies of exclusion exist in today’s classroom and school board rooms? You would think, after nearly 50 years of effort and sweat to make us one nation, that a country the size and scope and influence of ours with nearly unlimited resources would have the gumption, courage and foresight to make sure that one of our most basic needs – public education – is available to all. The lack of support for adequate schooling across our spectrum has cut across the regimes of both parties and there’s no excuse for it. I think an integrated little classroom like yours is the shining light for many, many schools. I think kids innately want to learn, and we ought to nurture that at the sake of a lot of the things we opt to invest in. How is it that people are going to pull themselves up if they don’t have equal access to the tools and technology and thinking skills to make them competitive in the job marketplace?
We just don’t emphasize the quality of public education that in essence would be a rising tide that raises all ships. The current crop of right-side leaders, notably here in the South, see it largely as a ‘motivational’ issue – if families aren’t motivated to encourage and support their children, then the heck with them. That, and legislators want to fund private education with public dollars. That’s total nonsense. We need to fund good schools, good early education, and good secondary education to get kids on the right track and keep them there. We need to turn that tide – starting right about now. Otherwise, we sustain a permanent underclass that will surely lack the ‘motivation’ we so encourage and demand them to have. I think, too, that we are too consumed with testing as an accountability measure. Accountability for what? Up the street from me is a private school where tuition for 1st graders starts $22,000 – plus expenses. That exceeds tuition costs at a lot of good public universities. I don’t begrudge those with the pockets to afford such schooling but on the other hand it separates portions of society from one another, and my sense is that is not good. It just grates on me that public education is panned/deemphasized at the very time it ought to be seen as our longer term societal salvation. You want people to work instead of being on the public dole? Then teach them from a very early age. There will be hell to pay one day if we don’t push public education to a front burner and keep it there for a long time to come.
I ordered a new Scott A4 3 wt. fly rod this weekend. It’s a four piece beauty, and thanks to Tim for steering me in the right direction. Now it’s up to Orvis for a small lightweight reel. It’s probably the motivation I need to head to the hills a little more often and not squander the resource that is so close to Charlotte. Reid, now we’ve got two rods in the event you come to Charlotte. There’s a hint in there somewhere. Our brand of winter continues to cling to us. It’ll be in the 20s overnight tonight. It’s aggravating and just plain stinks. I want it warm and I want it warm now. Sentiments you guys likely insist on, too.
Okay, enough of this. I’m on to other things – like real work. Be good. It wouldn’t hurt to call me sometime.