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who spent the past four days involved with the efforts around the Save Our Schools March in DC.

I make no contention that this will be coherent.

I speak for no one except myself.

Yes, I was on the executive committee for the event, and helped kick off the main party of the rally by introducing Linda Darling-Hammond, but I claim no significant role.

And while I was very involved with this, I have simultaneously keeping an eye on the happenings elsewhere in DC with respect to the financial - and political - future of this nation.

And I am tired.

We had thousands who came to the Ellipse in the heat yesterday.

We had inspiring speeches - from big names in education, from those lesser known, from Matt Damon.

We had the enthusiasm and hope and anger of the participants.

Today we had a Congress where we tried to figure out how to go forward.

I met many I had never seen, but with whom I have had electronic relationships.  I had other come up and thank me for my part (although I do not consider my role all that important) in helping bring this all together, people I had never met, some who may read the words I post here or elsewhere, or others who simply noted my role in introducing Darling-Hammond and the fact that my tshirt indicated I was on the Executive Committee.

Those were good things.  

It could give hope.

Then I look at what is happening elsewhere in DC.

I see the social safety net in serious jeopardy.

I see an unwillingness to fight for the principle that those who have wealth and income have a responsibility to contribute to the larger society.

I see an administration that still seems unwilling to draw lines when they should be drawn, to provide leadership when it is critically needed.

I hear from friends on Capitol Hill that they believe they are again being sold out by this administration, that the President might secure his own re-election but he is jeopardizing the political survival of many in his party.

I am aware that this administration finally understands how angry teachers and parents are about its educational policy, yet rather than address the underlying causes seeks to ameliorate the damage, coopt the activism, defuse the the anger so that it does not jeopardize its electoral prospects, but to hell with what the actual policies are doing to this nation.

I have been writing here at Daily Kos about eduction since 2004.  It is more than 7 years.  I have run panels on the subject at Yearly Kos, participated and supported panels at Netroots Nation.  

I blog.  I tweet.  I talk with people on the Hill.

I connect people.

I serve as a union rep in my building.

I continue to teach.

A half dozen weeks ago I had dinner with one of the most prominent people in education.  I told that person that a part of me feels that we have already lost the battle for public education, which to my mind means we have already lost the battle for democracy.   Yet I have to keep going as if we have not, otherwise I could not justify the time and effort I spend teaching young people, and from that time and energy the additional time and energy i devote to writing/lobbying etc on education and related matters.

And then I would have few choices - suicide comes to mind, because I would not want to live in a society that so abandons the principles upon which it SHOULD be based.   Social suicide -withrawal from politics and policy, ceasing to teach - is another.  I could retire at the end of the forthcoming year and between pensions and social security seek out some employment that would not be so emotionally and spiritually and intellectually demanding, for far less money, and have more time to read the books I have never read, catch up with the videotapes and dvds some still in their shrink wrap, perhaps even occasionally go to a current movie or play or concert, or simply take off a weekend and take a drive to the country or walk in the woods.

I am tired.

I am 65 going on 100, although being among my students sometimes makes me feel as if I am not yet 40.  

I should be pleased by what we accomplished this weekend.  We started with a small group of dedicated people.  The executive committee was less than a dozen.  I was the only active classroom K-12 teacher, one other was an academic coach of other teachers.  We had university teachers of teachers, we had parents, we had community activists.  This group of amateurs got support from important voices, raised money, built an organization working through preexisting groups, put on a conference, a march and a congress, all on a budget of perhaps $150,000.  When the administration tried to coopt us we were able to put out cogent statement that not only prevent the co-option, it also set down markers about our seriousness of purpose.

Given how much the media was consumed by the debt crisis - which cost us one unannounced speaker from the Hill, who could not get away - our media coverage was good and in general positive.

Those of us involved in planning and executing the events have received thanks and praise - in blogs, through tweets, in emails, in personal face to face expressions.

We know we have started something.

From that I should be pleased, and being tired should be accompanied by a sense of satisfaction.

Yet for me it is not, because I fear it may be for naught, because it takes place in the larger context of the dysfunction of our federal government, the deliberate subversion of the functioning of state and local governments, the well-funded destruction of the right to collective bargaining for employees both of public organizations and in the private sector.   It comes from the ongoing destruction of hope and future for so many in this society, when companies can advertise that those who have been unemployed for more than a short while need not apply for the job openings they have.

Some of the people with whom I spoke this weekend are long-time activists.  Some openly talked about how far we as a nation have fallen from the activism that in some ways transformed this nation into a place of greater justice, socially, politically, and economically, when we were younger, several decades back.

We heard about resegregation of our schools, by race and economics, but we were blessed with the presence of Phoebe Ferguson, herself a direct descendant of Judge Homer Ferguson of Plessy v Ferguson fame, who has a foundation with a descendant of the other party to that case, who brought with her a group of young people as new freedom riders.

In a day when student rights are continually being restricted, today we were blessed by another presence -  the high point of student rights was probably in the early 70s, with Tinker v DesMoines ruling that students did not leave their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate.  Today Mary Beth Tinker, one of the parties to that case, joined us at the Congress.  She had spoken to my students several years ago, recognized me and came up to me.  I introduced her to people, and now she will also be speaking at a high school near the one at which I teach.  She took a very active part in today's planning and discussions, wanting to pay forward on behalf of the young people of today.

I do not know how much longer I can continue, especially in the face of so much discouragement on the national scale.  

When i wrote something about my discouragement and weariness about a month ago, I got an email from one of my heroes, who insisted I call her.  Then Deborah Meier insisted I had to keep at it.  She reminded me of that several times this weekend, including today shortly before she left.  She is now 80, has been fighting battles on behalf of students for longer than one can imagine.  She refuses to give up.   And her persistence is part of what keeps me going, even at a moment like this when the national news could totally discourage me.

I am tired.  I am discouraged.  And I know I cannot cease.  I know I must keep teaching, writing, lobbying.  I may need to expand my activity to more active forms of protest.  Perhaps we all need to take to the streets as some of us did in the 50s, 60s and even 70s.  Perhaps we need to sit in at government offices to remind officials, elected and appointed, that they work FOR US, that We the People of the United States are the sovereigns - and despite Santa Clara v Southern Pacific and Citizens United that formulation in the Preamble did NOT include corporations among We the People.  

I am tired.  Writing this reminds me how tired I am.  In the past four nights I have had a total of 19.5 hours of sleep, the longest stretch in that time a bit over 3 hours.  My body aches, my mind cannot function at full capacity, and my energy seems non-existent.

Then I think of Deborah Meier.  I listen to the passion of Jonathan Kozol, still in his 70s.  I hear the clear and pointed prose of Diane Ravitch, also in her 70s, who is constantly attacked because her credibility is a threat to those who seek to corporatize our schools and demonize teachers and the unions.   I listen to Pedro Noguera, an adviser to Obama, say pointedly that this year we march, next year we vote.  I hear the powerful words of Superintendent John Kuhn that he wears the red badge of failure to make AYP as a badge of honor - 80% of his students come to his schools with no English, and his task is to serve them, not to meet arbitrary standards on test results for exams to which they are subjected after only one year in this nation, as if the results are an accurate measure of what they are learning.

I look at the retired teachers who came, who are putting themselves out on behalf of all the students for whom they fought in the past - here I think of Janet Grossbach Mayer, who has written passionately about her 33 years of teaching students in the Bronx, in schools sometimes still heated by coal, from economic and family circumstances that shatter your heart as you read about them.  Janet is still out there advocating, writing, speaking, and - yes - fighting for the students, and thereby for the future of this nation.

I am tired.  I am worn down.

And damn it all to hell I will not, I cannot, use that as an excuse.

We came together, and we gain renewed strength and energy from our collective presence.

While we were on the Ellipse there were people bargaining perhaps a few hundred yards away in the White House complex, bargaining away the social safety net, the financial stability of this nation.

Obama's campaign says that the goal is to Win the Future.  WFT?  -  We did more for the positive future of our young people and thus our nation in our gathering on the Ellipse than the politicians bargaining and posturing nearby, on the Hill, on the morning talk shows, etc.

One telling moment from yesterday.   As the march proceeded around the White House, it came in proximity with the second day of unpermitted demonstrations on the Lafayette Park side of the building.  The previous day pro-Assad and anti-Assad groups of Syrians had come to blows, actual fist fights.  The police cleared a path between the two as our thousands marched by.  And something interesting happened - for a few moments, the two groups of Syrians found common cause -  both began to chant about Saving our Schools.

I am tired.  I sit with a cup of herbal tea writing this words.  Soon I will go home, perhaps go offline, and relax with my cats.

I am not beaten down.  I wear my tiredness as a badge of honor.  I am tired because I am still trying to make a difference.

Tonight I will collapse in weary sleep, perhaps even as I soak in a salt bath.

Tomorrow I will get up and begin planning - for the next school year's instruction, for my part (however temporary it may be) in continuing the efforts which resulted in our visible actions this weekend.

I think I have earned the right to rest - but not for too long.

The tasks before us remain daunting.   We may need to do much more to keep our democracy from disappearing before our eyes.

When one does a good effort on behalf of a good cause, the tiredness seems like a badge of honor, doesn't it?

So consider -  what will YOU do, how will you act/speak/write/demonstrate or perhaps just make even small changes in your daily actions, things that will provide you with the same kind of tiredness and the quiet satisfaction that despite the odds you have tried to make a difference, that you refused to give up?

Peace, but not too much, because the stakes are so high.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Teachers Lounge, and Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The paragraph starting "and then I would... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock

    reads like a sharp stick in the eye.  That kind of ideation coming from you shocks me.

    "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

    by peterborocanuck on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:15:19 PM PDT

    •  read the entire piece (3+ / 0-)

      I wrestle with the issue, but somehow I look at people like Deborah and think of my students and find a way to keep going

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:18:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read it. (0+ / 0-)

        I was shocked.   You reveal yourself to be profoundly unhappy and discouraged, "tired", as you repeat several times.  
        You paint a pitiable picture sir, and yet you are in a position to be envied by millions of Americans.  
        I share your impatience to see a better world.
        Perhaps you should make a conscious decision to focus what energy you have on finding a way to be happy, not just finding "a way to carry on."
        Maybe you should visit a burn ward or do meals on wheels or something to shake off the self pity.

        "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

        by peterborocanuck on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:37:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think you read in context (7+ / 0-)

          last weekend I was again in Wise Virginia volunteering in dental triage in a free health/dental fair in a poor part of Appalachia.

          This is the 3rd year I have gone to Wise, the 7th of these events I have done.

          I do not need your 'advise' of what I need to do.

          My expressions are mine, and I take full responsibility for them.

          I express the context from which i operate, despite things that could be totally discouraging, and why I keep going.

          If you don't like it, don't read what I write.

          Have a nice day.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:46:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "advice" (0+ / 0-)

            Are you this quick to hostility with students whom you perceive to be critical?

            Here's one for you: I think your tenure as a popular diarist at Dkos has perniciously formed within you a need to be fawned over.  Your diary has a couple of paragraphs (the oh poor me ones) which aren't congruent with the essay as a whole, and which do nothing to improve it.    

            I'm sure you're more virtuous than I am.  Nolo contendere.

            "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

            by peterborocanuck on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 03:46:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think this is called (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peterborocanuck

              being human.

              It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by Ellinorianne on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 04:33:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  peter, hostility is more evident in your comments (0+ / 0-)

              than you recognize.  Ben Franklin wrote about his own virtue in his autobiography.  

              Franklin concluded: that no matter what virtue he claimed, he was always reminded on the sin of pride. See anything amiss with the following?

              And I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having, for want of some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.
              •  Thanx for the quote. (0+ / 0-)

                I hope teacherken reads it.
                Yes, my reply was tinged with hostility. Never have I received from TK a reply that wasn't a testy rebuff.  If I post something completely uncritical (fawning even) I get nothing back, or at best a terse thank you, as though he were pained to acknowledge a compliment from a nobody like me (whom he has already settled on a dislike of) for some reason.  If I post something that could be construed as mildly critical, as I did here, even though the comment contains a compliment too as you'll see if you parse it again, I get the explicit brush off.

                I'm not someone who claims to have perfect virtue. I'm not sure what the implication is of the quote you post for my edification; whether you see me attempting to assert a superior virtue or ethic ridiculously, or me as an inferior someone who "envies and hates" the superior Teacherken, or what.

                He doesn't strike me as someone who receives even mild, carefully couched criticism gracefully or thoughtfully, I'll tell you that.

                "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

                by peterborocanuck on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 05:11:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Go somewhere else (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina

              This is a man who does more for others than most people I know.  Who says he has not slept longer than 3 hours in a row for 4 days.  I don't sense self-pity, but a deep weariness about what has been happening politically.

              You can't even allow some testiness?

              When shit happens, you get fertilized.

              by ramara on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 06:36:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  hello peter, teacherken is entitled to express (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Polly Syllabic

          being tired.  I'm of the exact same age.

          We wait for a younger generation to focus their energy.  This is not self pity, it is a lament, "a song, a poem, a piece of music expressing grief, regret or mourning".  This is legions distant from the concept of "self pity".

          Peter, I trust you follow your own advise of "community service"?   Peace be with you

    •  If you dont feel this way, you are in denial (5+ / 0-)

      If we all dont feel this way, we are in denial about how bad things are...

      The point is to feel this way, AND TO CHOOSE TO GO ON....

      •  Pardon me? (0+ / 0-)

        If I'm not wracked by angst and filled with self-pity I'm in denial?  Thanks for the input.

        "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

        by peterborocanuck on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:39:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we're not racked by angst/filled with self pity (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellinorianne

          You apparently dont know/understand the paradox at play here...

          •  Who is we? (0+ / 0-)

            You're not presuming to speak for TK, or worse, all progressives or teachers, surely? "The paradox at play here"?  Why not take a stab at explaining it to me, if it's not more trouble than I'm worth.  

            "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

            by peterborocanuck on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 03:30:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm talking about all awake and aware people (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joycemocha, ramara, Justina

              My "we" refers to all awake and aware people, who recognise what is really going on at this point in history/human evolution...

              If you consider yourself awake and aware, but you deny the "normalcy" of feeling the way Ken says he feels, you are living in denial....

              We can do everything possible to try to ameliorate all the really bad conditions affecting people, other life forms, the planet, but the reality is that until we change the paradigm, nothing we do will really change anything - this will all continue, driven by the arrogance of the oligarchy...

              We live in an oligarchy/plutarchy.... there is no democracy....

              Many people are not awake...

              Many of those who are awake feel disempowered and paralysed...

              Some of us who are awake feel impelled to keep doing what we can, in spite of the fact that we know we will not make real change UNLESS THE PARADIGM IS CHANGED.... and we cant see how that will happen with so many people choosing to stay asleep or frozen by their fear....

              Hence the paradox of feeling suicidal AND continuing on, regardless.... we feel inside we must stay around because someone has to WITNESS and to WITHHOLD ACCEPTANCE/REFUSE TO ENABLE, even if it makes no difference at all in the end...

              •  I merely wrote (0+ / 0-)

                that TK might want to recognize that he had put suicide ideation into a political diary (which should be alarming) and implied that he might want to reconsider that.

                You seem to have read an awful lot into my comment, about my political stance.  Cheers.

                "You become what you are. What are you becoming?" -My Dad, circa 1977

                by peterborocanuck on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 05:25:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  ok, but you're an asshole (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick Aucoin

          so maybe you, too, are in denial.

          It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

          by sayitaintso on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 05:23:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What sadly beautiful and inspiring piece. (10+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    I'm still in my thirties and often feel like throwing in the towel.

    This is a crisis I knew had to come, Destroying the balance I'd kept. Doubting, unsettling and turning around, Wondering what will come next.
    --Ian Curtis

    by jethrock on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:16:06 PM PDT

  •  We are part of our 30 year project (5+ / 0-)

    It took a small group of ideologically committed wealthy people with incredible access and corporate influence 30 years of constant attack to bring our country to this point.

    It will take us at least as long to fight back.  

    Meanwhile, we are on the point of eradicating polio and guinea worm.  We did eradicate cow-killing rinderpest.

    Millions of people have access to clean water.  There are strong worldwide campaigns to end open defecation.

    Millions of children have an education.  Cell phones and the internet have brought more openness and access to information than a previous generation could have imagined.

    Conservatives are committed to a return to feudalism because they are terrified of the modern world.  They want to bow and scrape to their lords, in the lame hope that someone else will protect them.  They want some Pastor to tell them what to read, what to wear and what movies to see, so that nothing disturbs their peace of mind.  They want an overgovernment that listens to all their calls, reads all their mails and tracks every penny they spend, in the illusory pursuit of "safety."

    Conservatives live by the watchwords of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

    Right now people who just want to be left alone are losing, moderates and independents are losing, and progressives are losing.

    But, what these negotiations have taught us is that there is no low that is too low for today's Conservatives.  No wage-earner they won't cheat.  No saver they won't steal from.  No lie they won't tell.  if we stop fighting they will pillage and burn the entire economy.

    We must continue to fight.  We have no choice.

    •  You have an excellent point here. (0+ / 0-)

      I started studying this movement thirty years ago, and sadly enough, I'm finding I was sufficiently good as a political scientist to anticipate where it has gone.

      We need our own long-term recovery plan.  We need to lay it out, plan our scripts, keep to our talking points, and prevail against all odds.  

      Change does not happen overnight.  We need to regroup and move on.

  •  Its time to look at the cause, not the symptoms (8+ / 0-)

    Hullo Ken...

    love what you've been doing.... been adding my own energy where I can...

    AND at the same time, have come to realise nothing will change until we change the entire paradigm under which we live...

    because what's happening in education is a symptom, not the cause...

    People say: Its the poverty, stupid.... and they are right...

    But the poverty will never disappear under this economic, political and social system.... the system needs many of us to be in poverty, and the rest of us fearing that we will fall into poverty, for it to continue...

    Its a system that only allows SOME winners, and relies on there being MANY losers...

    There's no room for all of us at the top/on the capstone of this ultimate pyramid-ponzi scheme....

    So, logically, if the system will not change because it needs things to be this way to survive, THEN WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM...

    Which is what I suggest we all work towards while we do the best we can to ameliorate the horrors of "education" being pushed at  our children...

    The reality is we are living in a closed loop; we cannot have infinite growth in a finite system... we are killing ourselves and the planet which supports us...

    We need to move towards a resource-based economy, no political parties, a guiding counsel of elders and direct voting by the citizenry on every issue...

    TIME FOR REVOLUTION....

  •  inspiring, honest prose. thank you. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "At macro and micro levels, reality behaves in strange ways that stretch the popular worldview beyond its limit..." Marcus Borg

    by Wonton Tom on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:35:36 PM PDT

  •  I wrote the same thing in my diary this (8+ / 0-)

    morning.  I'm tired.  I'm worn down.  I think many of us feel that way.  As for education and reading about all the money allocated in the federal budget for charter schools all I can think is it is too late to save it.  They have been pulling it down for years now.  I think the repub dream and everyone else's nightmare is coming true.  I never wanted to live to see this day.

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:47:22 PM PDT

  •  Me, too! (9+ / 0-)

    I have spent the afternoon filling out required electronic forms that are supposed to provide assessment, feedback, reflection, and goals for my past and future teaching.

    It was a grand waste of time.

    Now I have to get to the real work of revising my classes and prepping for the new school year.

    The things I want to do, and the things I need to do vs. the things I don't want to do, yet must do.

    And yet, we carry on.

    Take a well-earned rest. Enjoy a media blackout for a day or two.

    Then, back to the front lines. No victory, no glory, just the knowledge that we are holding the line in our little corner of the fight.

    Someday, one or more of our students will join the struggle.
    We do what we can, while we can. Ultimately, it will be their turn.

    I wish them and you

    Peace

    "Shared pain is pain lessened; shared joy is joy increased."--Spider Robinson

    by Maggie Pax on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 02:53:28 PM PDT

  •  Bless you for this piece, Ken. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm almost 65, also sometimes feel like I'm going on 100, and yet I know there is too much at stake to quit working for the generations to come.  Your words inspire me to keep on.  Please keep writing and teaching.

    We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough? --Wendell Berry

    by deeproots on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 04:05:32 PM PDT

  •  teacherken, first, get some sleep, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter, Justina

    then, take several long walks in the woods.  I hear your urge to start preparing for the coming school year.  I know we're on the doorstep of August, but re-charge your batteries.  Don't confuse the urgent for the important.  Tomorrow is another day, and this coming year is going to be a pistol.  Re-charge brother.  Peace (as you say ;)  )

    We are all faced with a series of great opportunities - brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. John W. Gardner

    by Tony Barr PA09 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 04:06:25 PM PDT

  •  Ken--don't lose hope. (3+ / 0-)

    I have decided that I need to sit down with administration and with my fellow union leaders and aggressively advocate for morale-building amongst all the stakeholders in my building and in our district.

    Our teachers are tired and discouraged.

    Our parents are tired and discouraged.

    Our kids are tired and discouraged.

    We need to change it.  Somehow.  Even if all we can do is some little thing in each building, each day, each week, each month...we need to strive to change it.

    It needs to happen.  For the good of our kids and the good of our nation.

  •  Sleep well. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib, teacherken

    Somehow it makes me want to cry.  I feel that I am watching something die.

    Yet next week I will go to a training session, and the week after to a fair working to help people become citizens.  I have been looking for volunteer work that I felt worth committing my energy to, and citizenship just clicked.  I can't think of many more important things.

    So maybe I still want to believe in my country.

    Right now, though, I simply cannot.

    When shit happens, you get fertilized.

    by ramara on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 06:29:39 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Sahila ChangeBringer

    I have never felt as discouraged about my family's future and the future of the nation as I do this evening. I feel like I dont recognize this society.  We've become small and mean somewhere along the line.

    Even so, I actually think the public education discussion is looking better than it has in a decade. (at least from my POV, as an individual trying to raise these issues with other parents.) People Know education - they know teachers, they have kids in schools, and I've never met a parent who likes No Child Left Behind. Today's activists are raising the curtain, showing that the Great Oz of what passes for education reform is just smoke and mirrors. What you're doing does matter. It may not matter this year, but when public sentiment swings back, the groundwork will have been done.

    Thank you for your work this weekend. Amazing, amazing accomplishment.

  •  Get some rest (0+ / 0-)

    I hope you get a good night's sleep. The exhaustion is speaking.

    This is great:

    One telling moment from yesterday.   As the march proceeded around the White House, it came in proximity with the second day of unpermitted demonstrations on the Lafayette Park side of the building.  The previous day pro-Assad and anti-Assad groups of Syrians had come to blows, actual fist fights.  The police cleared a path between the two as our thousands marched by.  And something interesting happened - for a few moments, the two groups of Syrians found common cause -  both began to chant about Saving our Schools.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 09:00:53 PM PDT

  •  This is you tired?? :) (0+ / 0-)

    Here's to a school year filled with a fair number of students who are ready and willing to learn, the patience and support to help the ones who aren't, and plenty of energy and magical multi-tasking skills to meet all of the needs of every child in between!

    I salute you, Ken.

  •  as a teacher in WI (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood

    I am tired too.  I am tired of The Battle, locally and nationally.  I am not sure how much longer I can continue to fight this Battle, but your persistence and passion continue to inspire me.  You ARE making a difference, it's just that you can't always see it.  You are tired, mentally and physically, and justifiably so.  Rest.  Continue to write, which is something you do exceedingly well.  You are speaking for those of us who are not as eloquent, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  •  teacherken, thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    for all that you do. And especially thank you for introducing Linda Darling-Hammond. Her speech is so important in the debate within the community that wants to save public schools. It's online here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    Abelia commented,

    Today's activists are raising the curtain, showing that the Great Oz of what passes for education reform is just smoke and mirrors.

    So well stated. But Linda Darling-Hammonds words emphasize that reform is imperative. Thank you again for your valiant work.

  •  I think many of us are tired (0+ / 0-)

    more emotionally than physically.  But with the emotional exhaustion, we all know the physical follows.

    Like you Ken, I am 65.  But I did retire though I still sub much of the year.  I retired the year after the death of my only sibling.  That emotional exhaustion, coupled with the emotional exhaustion of dealing with the extreme right targeting our district to "drown public education" in a bathtub in the mode of Grover N, did me in for a while.

    Still I find myself unable to let go and leave the battle.  While I could not make it to DC, I have been walking with workers here (teachers, firefighters, union workers) to show support for the people in WI. I am pinning a lot on those up there being our point of light to start a strong nationwide movement of fighting back.  I have gone with locals here to protest our idiot congress critter, the one who use the term "tar baby" about our president.
    I will sub at least one more year because being with students reminds me why I loved my forty years in public education.

    Hang in there.

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