Thursday, February 2, 2017

It Was Sad.... Until It Wasn't

My heart sank.  Literally.  I felt a deep hole in the middle of my chest.

"I'm sorry. All lines to Senator Flake are busy at the moment and no one can talk to you right now. Please leave a message.......ooops, that part is chock full up so Good bye!"

That was the gist of the recording I heard as I dialed my junior Senator's office this morning.  He'd replied to my "No on Betsey DeVos" email by telling me that he wasn't on the confirming committee, but that he'd heed my views if her nomination came to the full Senate.  I dialed his office, intending to tell him that it was time to grow a spine, to deny a plagiarist a Cabinet office, to.... my dander was up, my mind was racing, and then I was sad.

It was an absolutely awful feeling.  I can't march, but I can make my voice heard... if only I can get through to a human.  Indivisible, created by current and former legislative aides, encourages phone calls over emails and postcards.  Staff is obligated to answer phone calls; they cannot do other work when the phone is ringing.  Disrupting the process is not a terribly bad idea these days; I was ready to join the fray.

Frustrated.  Angry.  Feeling disenfranchised.  It was not a pretty sight.

"Once more," I said.  "I'll dial it once more and then I'll allow myself a hissy fit."

And, I got through.

I talked and talked and talked and talked, telling the young man about my email exchange, about plagiarism and lack of knowledge and public schools making Americans and charter schools picking and choosing students and Prince Elementary School and when I stopped to take a breath he interjected that he would "be sure to inform the Senator of your concerns."

I spoke truth to power this morning.  It felt great.

I went on to dial the Senator's Phoenix and Tucson offices, which answered quickly. I left the same sort of message with each staffer:  We are making Americans in our public schools - let's do it well.  The whole process took ten minutes, and while the kids answering the phone sounded somewhat less than enthusiastic, they listened because I spoke.  Our Representative Democracy is not easy, but it's ours.  It warmed the cockles of my heart to be a participant.

If you have the time, type YourSenator' in the search box and the phone numbers will appear on the linked web page.  Indivisible suggests targeting one issue per contact, citing specifics if possible, and being friendly to the young person answering the phone.


  1. Two Republican Senators (not yours so far but from Maine and Alaska) have said they cannot support her. I wish though that those who don't like her would understand that charter schools are not in the same bag as private. Out here we'd have no schools in drives of less than 20 miles if it weren't for charter schools picking up the ones the public schools were closing. Charter schools have to teach to the same standards as the public, which private don't have to do. Public schools have sometimes dropped the ball in neighborhoods where charters have picked it up. I know they are not liked by the teacher unions because they don't have to pay to the same level and the tenure guarantees aren't the same with no union behind the teachers. The teachers I know who have turned to those jobs want them and they are good teachers.

    I think she won't be confirmed (using text that someone else wrote won't be why though when she was filling in her beliefs, which might well be what she copied); but we may end up with another just the same because the right has long wanted vouchers, which could go to a private school that taught religion and not science.

    This was why the election mattered but understand that many who voted for the right are furious at a school system they feel has been corrupted by left wing ideology and isn't teaching children even to write in cursive. I was at a private writing group where they were debating one person's book covers. One comment was with young people not learning to write cursive, they can't read it and no cover should have the title in cursive. If that doesn't make someone worried, I don't know what will.

    As things stand, we have great public schools, my grandkids go to ones where I am amazed at the depth of learning they get-- but they aren't all that way and charter schools can be a big help to some communities like mine, but also where the parents feel their children are being left behind by a school system that doesn't care about them and has quit teaching the basics with teachers who cannot be fired no matter how much they fail their students (and yes, my grandkids had one like that-- both got her several years apart before she retired. The school knew she was inadequate, more damaging to my grandson than granddaughter for making him feel stupid, but tenure dontchaknow. He survived it, and eventually went on to do well, thanks to the rest of his teachers being caring and dedicated. Some don't ever rise to their potential after a bad second grade.)

    1. The line between church and state (Ms DeVos sent her kids to parochial schools, and has said that she wished she could have afforded it when she was young) must be maintained... and she won't.

      Charter schools do good work, no doubt about it. But Charter Schools can exclude kids "they can't serve".... and what will that leave in the public schools if funding is pulled away? Just like the ACA, we need everyone invested in it for it to work.

      I got through again today, btw!

      ps. I am a member of the Save Cursive Writing group on FB.

  2. Public schools take any child that comes through the door. Charters and privates do not. I've seen the children in my classroom who were not accepted into charter schools. Troubled children, handicapped children, English as second language kids, children from unstable homes where parents can't participate in the school. These are tossed aside by those charters and privates. The public schools, bless their hearts, take everyone and work hard to educate them. Those who want to make America great again are the ones who want to toss all that out and return to segregated schools of the 1950s.

    1. And then I read THIS.... See my comment above, to Rain, to concur, as always, with you dkzody!

      We are making Americans, for free, one kid at a time. Are changes needed? Always. Is blowing up the system the answer? Hardly.

  3. As teacher unions have gotten higher wages and more benefits, not saying they don't deserve it, schools like out where I live can't keep functioning. So if someone bans charter schools, three schools out here will be gone and the kids will be bused 20 miles to town where the schools are often overpopulated. Oregon already gives the charter schools money for educating the kids, not sure how much; so a lot of this is happening whether public schools like it or not. Public schools actually do push kids out who aren't controllable, etc. I don't see the teacher unions getting rid of charter schools anyway but I would be upset if my tax money went to private schools where they aren't teaching the same requirements. I don't think city people realize what a school means to a community. There are a lot of charter schools in Oregon and pretty much all of them took over what the public school system was shutting down. It takes hard work and dedication from the community to make a charter school work. A person can think this woman is wrong for the department of education without throwing out the charter school with the bathwater.

  4. I have no issue with private or charter schools, but I DO have a problem with people who trash public schools. We have a very good school system in our county and I do recognize that there are school systems which are not meeting the grade. We need to support these other schools systems that are not getting funding. Funding is key. Our county is one of the richest in the nation and thus our school system benefits from that. Education is one of those areas where I will NOT compromise. DeVos has no education experience. The fact that she didn't even know that special-needs children are protected under federal law, really upset me. My son benefits from that law and it's helped him immensely.

    My senators (Kaine and Warner) have said they will not vote for DeVos and I'm relieved--especially with the fact that they have approved the other nominations.

    I'm getting ready to make some calls to make sure they don't support Sessions.

    Thanks for the link too for Indivisible.

    Megan xxx

    1. yeah, I think she's out but it won't surprise me if his next pick has a lot of the same views. It's what a third of the country wants. My senators already would not have support her as they are all dems. Dems pretty much aren't supporting any Trump nominees.

  5. Thank you. We just need one more Republican Senator to oppose DeVos to stop her nomination. My Senators are Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Dems. I have contacted them to thank them. Yesterday my husband and I emailed every Republican senator, asking then to oppose DeVos.


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