Welcome to Ask Gail–a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like my “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital.” Stay tuned for more…
Back to school…
The Bridgeport Public Education Fund makes books available to all first graders on the first day of school, so yesterday I read Memoirs of a Goldfish to 18 enthusiastic first graders. The book is beautifully illustrated and it tells a funny and sweet story about friends and family and community. Such excitement and potential. I am so juiced.
But I am also outraged.
Everywhere I looked, there were colorful posters, letter trains, number pictures, rolling carts with puzzles, books and special blower toys for students with speech difficulties. Overhead hung more interesting signs and posters, and each student’s desk had a welcome place mat with colorful illustrations of letters and numbers and a beautifully lettered name placard. One area held a rug for sitting and listening to readers who visit, just as I did. The walls were filled with different billboards, where student work will be proudly displayed. It was obvious how much time and effort the teacher had made to create a safe, interesting, stimulating, and instructional environment for her students. And she had spent close to $500 of her own money to do this.
Try this simple arithmetic problem: multiply the cost of creating a classroom times all the teachers in CT. Let me know what you come up with.
The word shandeh, in Yiddish, means a shame and a disgrace, as in blaming teachers and their unions for our fiscal crisis and then slashing budgets so that schools are laying off teachers, psychologists, and counselors, and cutting back or eliminating art and music and after-school programs. Some groups want to cut school breakfast and lunch programs entirely. Many children in this school qualify for free lunch and breakfast—sometimes the healthiest meals they eat all week.
I am truly at a loss to explain what is happening in our country. When did we stop caring about our children? Yes, they are all our children.