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Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 04:02 PM PDT

Teacher shortage in Detroit - Duh!

by Mlle L

Today I received an e-mail from Mike Flanagan, the State Superintendent, explaining what they were going to do to address the ongoing teacher shortage in the state's largest school district.  After reading it, I hit delete in anger.  A few minutes later however realized that this backward thinking needed to be made public.

Of course none of the actual useful things like improving pay and benefits, bringing back some kind of tenure, enforced class sizes, access to equipment and supplies, or even maybe some respect are listed in this letter.  

Follow me across the curlycue for the text.

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Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 03:37 PM PDT

I have never been poor and it shows

by Mlle L

Yesterday a student of mine asked if I have ever been poor.  I had to think about it and realized that no, as a fact, I have never been poor.  I have had to watch my money very carefully.  I have had to borrow money in hard times.  And I have had a lot of debt.  But, I have never worried that I would not be able to eat for days on end, or that my utilities would be shut off and I did not know how to come up with funds to turn them back on, or that I might be out on the street and what to do then.  In reality, I have always had resources to draw upon, even if they were from extended family or from credit built up in earlier times.  There was no true poverty in my life.

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I recently discovered The Atlantic magazine online when James Fallows came to town to start his journey called American Futures, subtitled "reinvention and resilience across the nation".  

In this project, James and his wife Deborah decided to look at small town America by flying his plane with his wife, and sometimes guests to different cities in 'flyover country' and determining how we work outside of the coasts.

His basic style is one he calls serial reportage which consists mainly of stream of consciousness reporting at the time and later synthesis.  The reporting is frank, interesting to read with a plethora of down home quirky and fun facts about each of the places he visits.

But the main reason that I continue to follow his current reporting is that he keeps coming back to my hometown and current residence, Holland, Michigan.

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Apparently Blackwater founder Erik Prince is not happy with having his story told by Jeremy Scahill and being labeled a mercenary over and over again.

Now he has decided to give his side of the story by writing a memoir that is due out in November.  He refutes the idea of no-bid contracts and asserts that our soldiers and country are better off having contractors in war zones.

The reactions from local press are less than positive.  It seems that by hiding out in the middle east doesn't seem to be helping him.  And the push back from constituents in West Michigan who have seen the way his family has attempted to buy off the government lately really doesn't help.  

Here's hoping that it ends up in the bargain bin.


Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 02:28 PM PDT

Nuns on the Bus - Grand Rapids

by Mlle L

So not too long ago one of the local diarists mentioned Nuns on the Bus.  I was also intrigued by the interview on the Colbert Report of Simone Campbell the executive director of Network, a social justice lobby.

Since the USCCB has basically declared war on the good nuns doing the work of social justice like feeding the poor and taking care of the sick, I was a might interested in the work of these Nuns on the Bus.

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Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 02:17 PM PDT

Romney wants me to attend his rally

by Mlle L

I just received a phone call from the Romney for president campaign.  They apparently are calling all of the citizens of Holland to come to the rally he is having at Holland State Park next Tuesday.  Either that, or the fact that I am on the mailing list for Huizinga (R- Hoekstra protege) allows this privilege.  I am now torn as to whether to attend and protest or keep away.  Hanging out on the route there is also a possibility.

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Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 06:22 PM PDT

The urban educator- why I quit

by Mlle L

I went into teaching as a second career and have spent the last five years in an Urban School District (USD).  It is a district where all of the buildings have at least 80% free and reduced lunch eligible students.  The students have a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, culture, work ethic, and ability.  

After five years, I had to quit and go to a different school system.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be better off going back into industry instead of teaching.  But I'm stubborn and won't give up that easily.

Today I went to the school board and told them why I had resigned.  All names have been changed and the school district is now designated by the acronym USD.

We have three minutes to speak and my text was four and a half minutes long, so the italics is the written, but unspoken record.  The full text was handed to the recording secretary.

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Apparently Eric Prince of Xe/Blackwater fame has no interest in being investigated and questioned about the practices of his 'former' company and has jumped ship.  According to local media, Prince has decided to forgo his US home to escape to Abu Dhabi, a country with no extradition treaties with the USA.

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Tulip Time 2010 decided to invite Erik Prince (Blackwater) to come to the Governor's luncheon before the first parade of the festival.  Erik of course talked about his hometown values during the speech which originally was requested to be media free.  Somehow Prince doesn't want what he says to be made public.

When Prince was invited, Chaplain Bill Freeman of the Interfaith Congregation invited Jeremy Scahill to come to rebut the obvious information that would be spoken.

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Considering Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland, MI) feels so down trodden, I thought that it would be interesting to see how his life compares to the Iranians.

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Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 05:22 PM PDT

Pete Hoekstra Campaigning for real?

by Mlle L

OK, So I live in West Michigan...A pretty reliable seat for Pete Hoekstra who managed to throw out the last republican during the Gingrich "Contract on destroying America" era.  Pete has never before had real competition and has deep pockets so he has been able to send his money elsewhere.  Tonight I saw something that shocked me.

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Note 1:  I forgot my camera so no pictures of the 100+ excited supporters in Holland, MI  :-(

Note 2:  It's my grandmother's 91st birthday, so I'm only going to be around to check this diary for the next couple of hours.


In the pouring rain, in a county which has never gone Democratic, the field offices of the Democratic Party are hopping with activity.

This morning at the grand opening of the Holland office of the Second Congressional District, there were...

Debbie Stabenow (more later)
Representatives from the Fred Johnson campaign to unseat Pete Hoekstra
A Campaign for Change staffer
Paolo our Ottawa County Obama Campaing staffer
Lots of food
Lots of excited Democrats of all ages
A three piece jazz band


Can West Michigan go Democratic this year?

14%10 votes
12%9 votes
30%21 votes
37%26 votes
5%4 votes

| 70 votes | Vote | Results

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