Friday, August 29, 2014

Pray for the Children

As a teacher I have a tender spot for children, small animals and babies of all breeds. When I was young, I was hopeful. I thought there was a future where I could have a home and children and a job I loved. It wasn't unrealistic because most people were capable of achieving those modest goals. I am not sure what happened along the way, but I feel a great deal of sadness when I look at my own children. What kind of world have we given them?

My kids are the ones you don't read about in the newspaper. We are not rich so they couldn't be spoiled. They participated in school activities, cared about their grades, sought college or at least some training. As young adults they worked at jobs. Some of them were not the deluxe careers sought by some young adults, but it paid the rent and the bills. My kids have struggled. Despite college degrees, the jobs are few and far between. This group more than any other has borne the brunt of economic savagery wrought by this administration. While the president claims to love the middle class, he dines and golfs with the one percent he claims to hate.

I just got off the phone with my daughter. Married two years, she works two jobs to the tune of 12 hours a day. Her husband works with autistic children and has just finished his Masters. They can barely afford their bills and money woes are taking a toll. She has already told me that she sees no way they can ever afford children, much less a house or any of the other rites of passage. Their problems started when her paid off car was hit by an uninsured driver. She was forced to buy a used car which right now are where new cars were just a couple of years back. There is no other way for her to get to work. She is very sad.

My oldest son, newly married, just moved into a small older duplex. He and his wife are trying hard to save money to buy their own home, but just yesterday a driver ran a red light and hit my daughter in law's paid off Toyota because as the other driver said " I didn't think I had to stop at this intersection" (There's a light there.) This comes on the heels of my son being hit by a guy in a Chrysler who was too busy fiddling with his phone to stop at the light. So they too are stuck with two car payments and no way to avoid the additional expense.

My youngest son, 25, has only recently been able to afford to move out. The rents in this area are ridiculous unless you want to live in a war zone. As it is his expenses are claimed to the penny with insurance, gas, food and child care rising every month.

This is what happens when you have people in power more concerned about agenda over efficiency. I look at the young faces in my class and I wonder what the future holds. Our borders are insecure-rumors persist that ISIS is gathering in Juarez, the cost of everything is rising and it seems that the administration is more concerned in starting a civil war than in running the country. All I can do is pray. I raised my kids to be good people and they are good people. They deserve better than this.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Using Children for Extortion

The story unfolding along the southern border of the United States is not new to those of us who live there. For years there has been a steady stream of undocumented workers who are here illegally. The popular chant is that they only come to work. That should explain the erosion of wages that are occurring under the Obama regime. Oh sure, they talk a good game about "living wages" that are unsustainable for most small businesses, but continue to ignore journeymen plumbers, electricians, machinists and carpenters that are simply priced out of the market by a surge of unchecked workers who may or may not be qualified to build your home. (As an aside, in the chichi upper class environs of McKinney TX a few years back, a custom builder was found to have used uncertified workers -most likely illegals-to wire houses. Only later when houses started having fires were the houses discovered to have been not up to code. This was hushed up with out of court settlements)

So those problems along with identity theft, spikes in uncompensated claims for emergency,fire, police, water, energy and housing have added to the economic burden of the region.

Even the most liberal among us were beginning to say enough is enough.

Then they sent children.

Americans are decent people. Unlike many other cultures we don't demand our children quit school and start working at an early age.  Most people seek to help children as witnessed by campaigns like Feed the Children, Toys for Tots and other independent programs that do not exist anywhere else in the world. Our tenderness is our Achilles heel. Cartels-which incidentally indulge in many other crimes beyond drugs such as human trafficking, smuggling, brand encroachment as well as bringing people here illegally. So someone (I'm still reserving judgement as to whether this was precipitated  to stampede Congress to make a snap decision on immigration) started and effectively spread a rumor regarding amnesty-something that our president was slow to refute. We have facilities full. If a hurricane, tornado or other disaster hits the region, Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states will have few options for housing the survivors.

My final thoughts are these: What loving parent places their toddler in the arms of a coyote? It makes no sense. It's just too pat a story. What other criminals and even terrorists have managed to elude our grasp because the Border Patrol was changing diapers? Our softness is setting us up for failure.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Of all the things I have seen, the extortion of the elderly and their families has to be among the worst. Insurance companies terrify them into purchasing policies that are essentially worthless. Doctors ignore their complaints rather than investigating concerns. But among the worst of the worst is the housing and care industry for the very oldest among us.

My mother was hospitalized last week. She is scheduled for skilled nursing (rehab) for three weeks. Right now she can walk with a walker, but we have no idea what other things she can do for herself. She lives on social security from my Dad-just enough that she doesn't qualify for Medicaid. She has no savings-Merrill Lynch purged her accounts of that when they bought out BofA. She has no investments, no cache of jewels, no hidden wealth. And yet the cost of finding her safe living accommodations is over $3500 a month. That's more than my takehome pay after taxes. While my Dad was stationed in Sasebo and Nagasaki immediately after WWII, because it wasn't "wartime"

She can't live with us-our one working bathroom isn't accessible. The other one is a mess of leaky pipes that we can't afford to fix. We have no money. She has no money. There's no programs to help her or us. Oh...and on top of the $10,000 taken out of our checks we had to pay $600 more in taxes this week.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

So we begin the year with my son's catastrophic ankle break. Two plates and 16 titanium screws later, he' still hobbled. My other son was hit when a guy in a big car ran a red light. My son had two witnessses and the police officer say it wasn't his fault but we had to lawyer up because the other guy's denying it. Last week my husband came down with pneumonia and then Friday I came down with acute brochitis. Later Friday my 84 year old mother calls 911 rather than me and ends up in a hospital half way across town because they're the only one that honors Humana. Seriously...could  I please have a break?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Ft. Hood-Deja Vu

I guess being a big military base and in Texas makes Ft. Hood a giant target. I have to wonder if things would have been different today, and back in 2009, if the Clintons had not actively campaigned to remove working weapons from all on base military except MP's. The Navy Yard shooting also could have been mitigated if the shooter KNEW there would be ten guns pointed back at him for every one he pulled out. 
The bottom line is this-we are training young men and women to shoot weapons and do so responsibly. Shouldn't we at least trust them to have them on their own base? Frankly from this perspective it looks like the Clintons were early adopters for hamstringing our military and making them ineffective. 

BTW, if ANYONE dares to say this guy was mad about congressional lack of action on immigration, I will go nuts. This is just the kind of drama ridden prop the Left needs to create to shove through another inane and costly bill like the poorly titled "Affordable" Care Act.

Our prayers go out to the men and women of Ft. Hood and to those who find themselves safer overseas than at home.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why Administration Micromanagement is Driving Teachers Nuts

I have taught for a long time. I know what I am doing. I am open to new methods, new technology, new ideas, but I do not need an administrator repeatedly and without warning, throwing new things at me. We have a chief administrator that would change the color of the sky if he could do so. Change for improvement is great. Change for the sake of change (and the sake of career grandstanding) is not.

In the past year we have changed:
-The online gradebook
-Online attendance
-Method of purchasing supplies
-Attendance policies
-Grade policies
-Computer hardware (PC to Mac based)

When looking at a list of stressors, too much change in anyone's life is bad. Is it any wonder that we are seeing a Conga line out the door of retirees. What is more, younger teachers are actively seeking employment in other districts and other professions. You would think after seeing the Gallup polling data from teachers (God knows this administration love them some data) they would see the almost palpable frustration over how we have to deal with things on a daily basis. Just in feelgood actions of placing severely disabled kids into regular classrooms with no aid, no resources, no support at all, leaves teachers wondering about the validity of what we do. What good is it to create a curriculum when nobody is held to those standards. You can walk into any high school in my district and find different procedures in play. It makes no sense that we hold our kids in school A accountable for work that school B ignores.

I guess at some level my school administrative staff sees there's a problem. But their solution is to offer just more of the same. Now and for the rest of the year, we will be giving up one planning period a week to essentially vent. Knowing the people in charge and how they can sometimes not take criticism well, how much of a psychological relief will this be?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break

I remember Spring Break as being the time my brother and I would spend clamoring to be allowed to swim although the temperatures were barely above 70 degrees. There was something inextricably wound in my soul with vacation and swimming. Now I don't venture into anything cooler than a hot bath, but that's age for you.

I've spent the majority of my Spring Break cleaning up. When I was a stay at home Mom, I was able to clean and my house was reasonably neat. Now my house is a disaster that I'm just too tired to care about most of the time. That's sad. I watch ads on TV and wonder whatever happened to that woman that couldn't get the ring off the collar of her husband's shirts. Now most cleaning seems to center for whatever reason around cleaning bathrooms. It's as if women have become so disengaged from the drudgery of what B.F. Skinner called "huzzifry" that we don't give a flip if our kitchens, living rooms or dens look like the scene of an episode of Hoarders as long as our toilet bowls sparkle. It's like the bathroom being clean is our last hold on civilization.

I've also spent the Spring Break organizing a luncheon for my daughter in law to be-a wisp of a girl who looks like a Disney princess but can shoot like Annie Oakley-and a rehearsal dinner. The combination of the two will cost as much as the reception, but then maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. She's a lovely girl and I want her to have nice things.  The down side is looking for an appropriate dress for me. At my current size that's not easy and it's clear that despite my attempt to lose weight, that's just not going to happen before the wedding.

With all this excitement it has also become clear that I don't want to work anymore. I am not anticipating the rest of the year with glee. There's just too much uncertainty and instability going on in my district. We have a superintendent who seems to have a need for attention. As a result, we are indulging in a variety of questionable cutting edge techniques that are costly and of varying levels of value. I need five years to retire with full pension. In five years I don't know what this school will look like. Color me fearful.