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I knew Lauren Rousseau, one of the teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. I met her several years before she started teaching, when she was a barista at the Starbucks on Mill Plain Road in Danbury, a few exits down I-84 from Newtown. Lauren was one of the sweetest, kindest, most gentle people I've ever met. Everyone who met her liked her, and I'm certain that everyone who knew her loved her. She was the sweetest person you could ever possibly imagine meeting. She worked hard--always with a big, warm smile on her face--and spoke with the most calming voice. I didn't know her well, but I knew she longed to do more, to follow a higher calling: she wanted to be a teacher.

It's simply not possible to imagine Lauren being subjected to the insane violence of that morning. To do so would be to drive you to levels of despair you simply couldn't handle. I try to block it out. But it's there. The act. It happened. It doesn't unhappen just because you refuse to imagine it. When I do occasionally think about it, I get this very distinct feeling that is almost overwhelming. I know that feeling. I subjected myself to it for an entire day once. It was the day I forced myself to visit Dachau. I call it the "There Is No Such Thing As Humanity" feeling.

Dachau is a place where humans did unspeakable things to humans, and in so doing, did unspeakable things to all of humankind.

That's what happened to Lauren Rousseau and all of the other teachers and students at Sandy Hook that day.

They weren't the only ones who died that day. It was all of humanity that died that day.

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UPDATE: This is a reposted and updated diary several people suggested I repost on Memorial Day.

In this area of central Connecticut, the cities feel like small towns. I live in  Plainville, Connecticut, a city of 17,000 surrounded on all sides by larger cities that still pale in comparison to Connecticut's larger cities: Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury and Danbury. To the south lies Southington, population 42,000; to the west, Bristol, population 61,000; to the north, Farmington, population 25,000; to the east, New Britain, population 71,000; and to the northeast, north of New Britain and east of Farminton lies West Hartford, a suburb of Hartford, with a population of 61,000. In many ways, these cities are exactly that--cities--but those of us living here know better.

These are small towns. These are small towns in Connecticut.

And we were reminded of this fact again on March 8th.

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Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 07:21 AM PDT

Small Town Heroes in Connecticut

by EquationDoc

In this area of central Connecticut, the cities feel like small towns. I live in  Plainville, Connecticut, a city of 17,000 surrounded on all sides by larger cities that still pale in comparison to Connecticut's larger cities: Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury and Danbury. To the south lies Southington, population 42,000; to the west, Bristol, population 61,000; to the north, Farmington, population 25,000; to the east, New Britain, population 71,000; and to the northeast, north of New Britain and east of Farminton lies West Hartford, a suburb of Hartford, with a population of 61,000. In many ways, these cities are exactly that--cities--but those of us living here know better.

These are small towns. These are small towns in Connecticut.

And we were reminded of this fact again on March 8th.

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Several times a week I see a new IGTNT diary on the Recommended Diaries list, and I follow the link to read one, or two, or sometimes many more, heart-wrenching stories of more American soldiers whose lives were cut short in Iraq. But each time, before reading all of the memorials to our latest fallen heroes, I first scan the list quickly to see if today will be the day that my fellow Nutmeggers and I will read the terrible news that Connecticut has lost it's thirtieth son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister or, sometimes, friend.

More below the fold...

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We all remember the "Texas Miracle" that President George W. Bush touted as the future of education in the United States: simply put, testing plus accountability equals drastically decreased dropout rates and drastically improved achievement. We also remember that the pilot program's success was due in large part to Rod Paige's leadership of the Houston Independent School District, which was adapted to school districts all over Texas, and held up as a model for the national No Child Left Behind Act. Everyone was most impressed by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test results demonstrating significant, overnight increases in achievement and reductions in the achievement gaps between whites and students of color. Even more dramatic was the decline in dropout rates, which were quickly reduced to close to zero percent. Surely the real problem in American education was the lack of accountability: hold districts, schools, administrators and teachers responsible, and all our achievement problems will vanish.

It was not necessary to consider this:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

More below the fold...

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