The Education Party.

Schools in America are in trouble.

And I’m not talking about academically.  At least not in this blog.

I’m talking about financially.

We could argue about what has caused this gigantic monetary mess, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Ahh, who am I kidding.  I’ve got nothing but time (as these endless blogs prove over and over…).

In my mind, two groups are to blame for this mess.

Politicians and

Politicians are number one on my list because they are simpletons.  They are incapable of making a single rationale decision on behalf of the people they represent.  As a group, they are more “me” than “we” (I just went Obama on you… or if you’re old school, I just went Jesse Jackson).

Number two on my list?  Voters. 

Why?  Because we continue to send the same geniuses back to our local, state, and federal governments. (and by geniuses, I don’t mean geniuses).

We don’t need term limits, we need a clue (although term limits wouldn’t hurt).

There is something else that will help keep both groups in line.  We need a 3rd political party.

And it should be named The Education Party (I kind of gave that away in the title didn’t I?).

It will be “The Party for Our Future” (I really should copyright that..).

Every political party needs a mascot and ours will be an Apple.  This means we will get free advertising from 84% of elementary teachers who already own a sweater with the party symbol on it (I briefly considered going with a Snowman because 99% of elementary teachers own sweaters with those on them).

The party will stand for the following:  children.  Yes that’s right, children.  Period.

We will believe in: not lying, playing fair, no bullying of other countries, not spending money we don’t have, and all of the other values good parents and educators try to instill in our kids.

As our party name implies, we will be pro-education.

But not pro-education in making things easier for administrators and teachers.

Pro-education in making things better for students. 

Longer school days?  Maybe.  School on Saturday?  Possibly.  Year-round school calendar?  I hope not, but we have to be open to anything.  Keep tenure?  Only if it’s good for kids.  Higher pay for school employees?  Yes, but it will come with higher expectations.  Open enrollment to make districts compete like businesses?  Count me in.  Placing students at grade level based on ability, not age?  Definitely.

Most importantly, we will run on a platform of teaching our students the basics.  But the basics for this century, not the last one.

Reading (and lots of it), Math, Science, English, History (and just not our version), Foreign Languages (in elementary school), Technology (current, not Microsoft Works), Health and Nutrition (like PE, but not just whiffle ball), and last but not least… Personal Discipline and Responsibility (after all, we don’t want our kids to grow up and be like our present politicians).

The Education Party will be the party of change.

Not the party of yesterday, but the party of tomorrow (more Obama/Jackson).

We will endorse candidates who demand schools look toward the future, while still understanding we need to base our beliefs in our more conservative past (like the Andy Griffith show, but with laptops and the ability to speak Chinese).

This financial crisis could be the best thing to happen to education in the last 100 years.

But it may not be enough to just change education, we may need to change the people who make the decisions on education.

As an added bonus:  all of The Education Party Conventions will be held in San Diego.  I like it there.  It’s warm.

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The Weather is Too Nice to Blog.

I’m taking the day off from blogging.  Laying (lying… whatever) low.  Going incognito if you will.

It’s the weekend and I deserve some time off (plus my garage is a mess and Buddy is starting to complain about his unsanitary living conditions).I Don't Cantore Would Wear a Stocking Cap in San Diego.  But I Can Hope.

At least for today, no sitting at Larry the Laptop and trying to blog about something amusing and/or entertaining (often failing miserably, but you have to admire my effort).

Where I live the weather is perfect.  Sunshine, no wind, and 72 degrees.  In my part of the world, that’s pretty good for early November.  Actually, that’s pretty good wherever you live.

Ok who am I kidding?  This type of weather has only happened twice in this part of the US…and one of those times I missed it because I was on vacation!  Undoubtedly, I was sitting somewhere really HOT watching the Weather Channel only to find out it was perfect weather where I live.  I HATE THAT!

Of course, if you are reading this in San Diego you probably don’t understand why this is a big deal.

Of course, if you are in San Diego please realize the rest of us hate you.

Why my anger towards San Diegans?

Because I watch the Weather Channel for 2 reasons.

One, to see if my state is going to get hammered by some sort of once every 100 years weather event.  And two, to see what other part of the country is going to get hammered (if the map is dark purple over your town… that’s not good).

San Diego never comes up in these reports.

Not once have I seen Jim Cantore (maybe I have a man crush… maybe I don’t) standing on a pier in San Diego wearing a free Weather Channel parka about to get blown 40 miles into the ocean. 

To review, if you live within 100 miles of San Diego, I hate you because you never feel weather suffering (or I am extremely jealous… I get these two confused).

This brings me back to no blogging.

I have the garage to deal with.  The Weather Channel to watch (have to see who is about to get crushed!!).

I also need to mow my yard for the last time (this is the 4th time I’ve mowed it for the last time… what’s a guy have to do to get a good hard frost???).

Buddy the Dog also needs a bath.  He’s not that dirty, but I live in fear that his next cleaning could be his last until mid-June.

He is going to be one ripe beagle after playing in the snow for the next 4 months (and I also anticipate… quite tired).

Normally, I try to blog at least 3 times a week.

This is my tried and true method of getting readers.  It’s a little something I like to call “Quantity over Quality.”

3 a week equals roughly 10-12 a month.  My odds of getting one “not terrible” entry is pretty good.

Today, under normal circumstances, I would have slopped together something about one of the following:  Swine Flu (ready made for sarcasm), the ever increasing unemployment rate (I thought when I voted for you Mr. President this was supposed to go down…), the impending financial crises of 2010 in education (always a ton of laughs in this material), or maybe the Health Care Bill (what could possibly go wrong with a trillion dollar program when the government is in charge???).

But not today.

No blog.

No sarcasm.

Just chores (but at least the sun is shining).

So if you stopped by to read something educationally related or borderline humorous, I apologize.

Maybe next time.

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The Day I Almost Died in the School Parking Lot.

I Had No Chance.I live in a part of the country where the weather has been perfect for the last 2 days.

This has been wonderful considering it has been cold, windy, and rainy for the past 147 straight days. It may have been 148, but I have lost track.

For whatever reason, yesterday’s perfect San Diego type weather reminded me of a cold icy day 11 years ago (don’t ask me why the nicest day of 2008 causes me to remember a nasty day 11 years ago because I really don’t know, it just did).

On that particular day, I was running late for a 6:30 am junior high basketball practice.

I can assure you this wasn’t and isn’t like me.

People are either born with the running late gene, or the arriving early gene. Lucky for me, I have the arriving early one.

Except for that day.

This was a problem. Because you see (or read) as the coach , I was adamant about the players never being late to a practice. It seemed as if they were letting the whole team down by doing so.

And if one of them was even 2 seconds late, the entire team had to run. A lot. And by a lot, I mean until I got tired of watching them. And back then, my stamina level for watching people run was at a world class level.

Sadly, I had forgotten to put a rule in place on what would happen if I was late, or if I forgot to set my alarm, or on the worst of all days, both.

When I woke up, I realized that all of my preaching to the team about responsibility (and double-checking your alarm) was about to haunt me.

So I jumped in my clothes and raced out of our palatial 200 square foot apartment (newly married, poor, and yet we thought we had it made because for the first time in our lives we could afford to have a pizza delivered… once a week… if the finances were carefully monitored during the preceding 6 days).

I had about a 26 minute drive to get to school and I was on pace to make it in 9.

Until the flashing red lights came up from behind.

Just as I thought my situation had taken a turn for the worse, I caught a much needed break.

In my side mirror I noticed the policeman was my principal’s son (as my daughter would say… Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet).

He walked up to the car and I politely explained what had happened. I went through the whole story and at the end added that I really needed to get to school so the youngsters would not be unattended and locked out of the gym on this cold and miserable day.

I really poured it on, but yet I kept my ace in the hole for the very end of the story.

I had him eating out of the palm of my hand. The lad was no match for my superior intelligence and wit.

And then I laid it on him. “By the way, I work for your dad.” I could kiss that speeding ticket goodbye.

Or so I thought.

His response was, “That’s nice. I will be back with your ticket.”


I was late. The team was going to eat me alive. And I was a brand new owner of a speeding ticket for which I had no money to pay (see 200 square foot apartment… plus even worse I just knew there would be no pizza delivery that week).

The good news was I arrived at practice in one piece, barely.

You see, when I finally got there, I jumped out of the car so I could run into the gym.

Sadly, I didn’t notice the patch of ice until it was too late. And by too late, I mean I did 14 complete summersaults and then finished by sticking the landing (by sticking the landing I mean my behind, back, and head crashed into the pavement/ice).

I really had a dilemma now. I was late. I was a lot poorer. I was soon to be hungry. And now possibly hurt… badly.

This is the exact moment I knew that I was no longer a kid, but an adult.

I had fallen and it was 50/50 whether I could get up.

Unfortunately, no one saw me crash into the ground. I was on my own. Why is there never a cop around when you actually need one?

At that point (after I came to), I picked up my clipboard and whistle, what was left of my dignity, and made my way into the gym.

There l came face to face with 25 sets of little beady eyes staring right at me. I hadn’t felt this bad since… well, since I busted my behind 30 seconds earlier (or 12 minutes… who can keep track of time when you’ve blacked out).

What was I to do? I was late. And if you are late, you run.

So I ran. Actually limped would be a better description. I think the kids thought I was faking an injury. And I might have been. But it wasn’t a leg injury like they thought, it was a possible head injury.

If they had only been around to see me fall (and more importantly, help me up).

Moral of this story and possibly the keys to life: double-check your alarm, drive slowly, don’t try to outsmart the police, watch where you step, follow your own rules, and save your money for a rainy day (or pizza).

And most importantly (and I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating), you are officially old when you fall and you don’t care who sees you because having help to get up is the most important thing.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.