The news of my retirement has been greatly exaggerated! (My apology to Mark Twain for twisting his words.). Several weeks again my Facebook was flooded, based on a post from my longtime friend, Debby M, who wrote a moving piece about my 20-year, service on a suburban governing board. Lots os folk responded with emojis and comments offering congratulations about my retirement. While I was most grateful for their commentary, I’m not crawling off into a quarantine cocoon. As long as I have an ounce of sense, I will continue to advocate for public education and for children.
Certainly, public education has been turned upside since March when school buildings across the country were ordered closed, and teachers could no longer deliver in-person instruction. Though I’m far from being a Pollyanna, in many ways public education has been forced into the 21st Century in new and exciting ways. Hybrid models allow for a myriad of new innovation and project-driven instruction.
Yet, many of our children have suffered from lack of supervision, technological devices, and self-motivation. Further, humans are people people. They are deprived of birthday parties, play ground games, hanging out at a fast food restaurant, school activities, and even graduation ceremonies. The divide between the haves and have nots has widened. Pre-K through third graders are severely at risk since they need an excellent teacher’s assistance and guidance to learn to read, write, and cipher.
So what can I do? I can’t just walk away from my 50-year, professional career. I will vote for school issues. I will lobby the legislature for increased services to bring the “left behind” to grade level. If the pandemic can be controlled by summer, FREE, universal summer school should be instituted. And yes, I will put my money where my mouth is.
Finally, when this COVID mess is over, my dream is to institute a mentorship program for middle-hi students in my ‘hood. Thank-you all for the accolades, but news of my retirement has, indeed, been greatly exaggerated.