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Finding Heimat in Alt Ed: I’m a Mama to 120+

30 Apr

I’ve been mountain biking lately. I’m finishing up my student teaching. I’ve removed my mind from politics.

While teaching, you start to pick up on just how important your job is, even if you knew it in theory prior to teaching. You start to notice necessary leaders in the school; leaders who show their kids what it means to be a good, fair person. You start to notice how desperately so many kids need this example. Then you notice the money.

I feel as if invisible dollar bills, not air, is the force pressing so evenly against our bodies. Money, driving all actions, squeezing all pocket books. The reality that money (or lack thereof) will be THE factor in shutting down or crippling successful schools is ridiculous, for certainly, there is enough money in the world, especially the United States, to keep schools open and functioning.

Jay Z's MIAMI Mansion

I am thinking of the school at which I am student teaching.

I was lucky enough to have been born into a family where none of my needs went wanting, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Each individual has their own personal set of issues, but my family was a rock for me. When I remember childhood, it is a warm, comforting memory. I think of home and my mother’s meals, brothers and sisters, the banks of a pond, the peepers outside my window at night – all come back to me. Family. Shelter. Warmth.

This is more special than I can truly realize.

Before arriving at Marquette Alternative High School, I had never stepped foot in a school that replicated the warm feelings of home and family. I had spent almost 200 hours volunteering and observing in area schools, and that is what they always were – schools.

This is fine; not all schools must recreate the special dynamic of home. For so many kids, however, this is exactly what they need. A safe place. Family. Home.

In German, there is a word that does not directly translate in English; the word is Heimat. We translate it to mean “home,” but it carries a special connatation – the idea of warmth, family, safety. It is all wrapped up in one small word.

Marquette Alternative High School meets a need that money cannot create. Money can support the people who need to be there in order to create this safe place, but a family does not sustain Heimat with money. Unfortunately, money always plays.

Remove a father from a family and watch what happens in the life of a child. Take away an older brother or sister, an aunt or uncle, and the family is utterly changed.

Freud said once that as soon as a given state of things is upset, there arises an instinct to re-create what is lost. People who have had their families torn apart by abuse, substance, death, and adversity search to re-create the family which is lost. A person can take multiple approaches to such re-creation, and strangely enough, we often search in the same ways which destroyed our first family.

Finding real family, real Heimat, real love, can change this.

This is my plea to allow the song to remain the same at Marquette Alternative; this is my plea to put forth money to a place that provides a safe place for so many kids. Please, find it within your budget to maintain the level this building is at.

A Heimat is something that simply cannot be replaced.

My Second Family: The Wily Brood at MAHS

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Recent Research Suggests Gov. Rick Snyder May Be Cold-Blooded

6 Sep

Gov. Rick Snyder may be cold-blooded, recent research has revealed from a local university.

“After studying his actions in office, similarities have been identified between Snyder and a common, venomous snake found in Michigan,” says Dylan Sanders, a herpetologist with Macomb County DNR, “Perhaps the most shocking was the propensity to eat his young to support himself.”

Scientists came to this conclusion after Snyder passed House Bill 4361, which cuts taxes for business by $1.8 million and takes the firstborn from low-wage earners. Macomb County resident and Waste Management Laborer Jim Blokee still supports his vote for Snyder. “Snyder promised job creation and incentives. I trust him.”

Blokee stated that while he cannot afford to put away for his daughter’s college education, perhaps jobs would exist for her in the future. “I know there’s no guarantee,” he said, “But if I have to take a hit so Carrie can find a job down the road, then so be it.”

Sanders is still in shock from the recently released results. “The evidence certainly suggests a strong resemblance between Governor Snyder and the Eastern Massasauga. It’s uncanny.”

 

 

About House Bill 4361: http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/03/pro-union_demonstrators_to_pro.html

The Think Tank Behind Snyder: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/michigan-snyder-mackinac-center

Diane Ravitch, You My Girl!

4 Sep

You just can’t say it better than Diane.

“Critics have been complaining about the public schools for the past 60 years. In the 1950s, they said that the public schools were failing, Johnny couldn’t read, and the schools were in a downward spiral. In the 1960s, we were told there was a “crisis in the classroom.” For at least the past half-century we have heard the same complaints again and again. Yes, our students’ scores on international tests are only average, but when the first such test was given in 1964, we were 12th out of 12. Our students have never been at the top on those tests.

Read the whole article and GET ENLIGHTENED!

Doubly awesome for using Norman Rockwell in her article.

Here’s the article again. I really want you to read it. http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2011/08/16/lifestyle/features/american-schools-crisis.html

A $40,000 SUV: the Natural Choice for a Dying District

11 Aug

Sometimes you need to search for the incredulous. Other times, it hits you in the face.

A news article I just stumbled upon could have been found on Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Titled “DPS’ chief Roberts defends purchase of $40,000 SUV with district funds,” I doubled checked my news source. Yup. Detroit Free Press. Doubled checked the acronym. Yup. Detroit Public Schools.

The same DPS that is $327 million in debt? The one that’s closing half its schools? And what about that new budget?

Oh, that’s right. When the old guy failed to resolve the $327 million in debt in five years, we (or should I say the Honorable Governor Snyder, who took away Michigan citizens’ voting power)  replaced him with a guy who talks about $40,000 SUV’s as if every man, woman, and infant baby in Detroit could purchase one.

“”I’m driving the heck out of it.”

Haha! You’re a funny man, Roy Roberts!

There she is, Big, Shiny, and Oh-so-necessary.

Roy Roberts and his jocular manner regarding his new purchase with district funds reflects on his ability to act as DPS’ “Emergency Financial Manager.” The lone wolf (dare I use the word?) with ALL THE POWER thanks to Snyder’s new law. Did I mention he’s an ex GM executive? Oh, and his measly contract of one year only allows him a salary of $250,000.

How strange.

For more info on Michigan’s latest snake:

“Roy Roberts New Financial Manager For Detroit Schools”

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Diane Ravitch

29 Mar

The fundamentals of good education are to be found in the classroom, the home, the community, and the culture, but reformers in our time continue to look for shortcuts and quick answers. Untethered to any genuine philosophy of education, our current reforms will disappoint us, as others have in the past (Ravitch, 2010, pg. 225). Continue reading

The Shadow of Doubt: Darkness Easily Dissolved by Dostoevsky, Donne, and the Outspoken Apology of a Pre-Service Teacher

22 Mar

Click me!

I’m just going to say it: the current state of affairs in the field of education makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Why am I going to be a teacher? What am I getting myself into? The political stage is mess, the public has taken a stand against teachers and the profession, and reforms encouraging the turnover of education into a private business are readily being passed and accepted on the basis of faith, i.e. despite all the excitement about charter schools, there is still no research to support the claims that charter schools outperform public schools. Again, read the research here.

Education does not look like a promising profession in which to devote oneself. The teacher is no longer the apple of the public’s eye, the security of a wage over minimum may disappear with the advent of charters, and with curriculum reform, teachers may even lose the ability to choose the content of their classroom. Continue reading

A Word to our Sponsors: an Educated Response to Federal Funding Cuts

11 Mar

Dr. Joe Lubig, NMU's Director of Field Experiences. Photo courtesy of the NMU Department of Education website.

On page seven of the Thursday, March 10, 2011 edition of the North Wind, Northern Michigan University’s campus newspaper, Dr. Lubig, NMU’s Director of Field Experiences, authored a “Letter to the Editor.” Dr. Lubig lends a local voice to the federal issue of budget cuts in education. To allow a larger base of readers to receive a well-informed opinion on the matter, I’ve reprinted Dr. Lubig’s letter as follows (published with permission):

National service programs shouldn’t have their funding cut

There has been much debate lately about what the federal government should and should not spend its money on. In an effort to address this issue, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1 – a bill that would eliminate billions from the current budget, and as a result, eliminate various federally-funded programs across the country.

Included in the elimination would be the Corporation for National and Community Service and the national service programs it administers (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve). As a Governor-appointed board member of the Michigan Community Service Commission, I have seen first-hand the impact of national service in the state. In Michigan, these programs have a long history of addressing critical challenges in communities, improving local economic opportunities, and enhancing the work of area organizations.

Before Congress eliminates national service programs, wouldn’t you like to know more about what national service is and what Michigan will be losing as a result of its elimination?

A loss of $28 million in federal funds to support Michigan’s national service efforts would mean eliminating the opportunity for nearly 47,000 residents to serve. The lack of service would mean low-income individuals and families would lose access to health care, adequate housing, and foreclosure prevention assistance. Struggling young people would be left without literacy services, academic support, and mentoring opportunities. Home bound seniors would be unable to maintain independence in their own homes.

The cuts would also force 2,300 organization and schools to address local issues of critical importance with little to no support or resources – including Goodwill, Red Cross chapters, Big Brother Big Sisters agencies, community health centers, Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and many more.

Let’s reconsider the value of national service and volunteerism – particularly in a state that has benefited so greatly from its impact. By doing so, we agree to prioritize the efforts of current programs and volunteers and ensure they can continue to make a difference in Michigan.

Joe Lubig

Michigan Community Service Commission


Thanks for speaking up, Dr. Lubig.