Sunday, February 26, 2017

Yes, Betsy, There Is a Free Lunch

I’m Betsy DeVos. You may have heard some of the ‘wonderful’ things the mainstream media has called me lately,” she said. “I, however, pride myself on being called a mother, a grandmother, a life partner, and perhaps the first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
                        (Address to the CPAC conference, February 2017)

Dear Betsy,

You and your friends are wrong. There is a free lunch, one that is provided every day to many thousands of schoolchildren in their public schools. One that even your preferred 'schools of choice' should provide. It is a lunch for kids whose parents cannot or will not pay so that their child may have one nutritious, fulfilling meal a day.

You judge those parents, Betsy. You believe they are morally wanting as if they did not love their children. As if they did not have to work two or three jobs at minimum wage to pay rent, provide clothing, medical care, and sometimes don't have enough for more than cornflakes and ketchup. Have you checked the price of cereal lately?

You say that the problem is one of character education. That fits with your views that our school system should be used to advance YOUR idea of God's kingdom. You might want to check in with God on that one. Because the Bible you claim is the Bible filled with the prophets' cries for social justice and compassion for the poor.

Betsy, all the character education in the world will not satisfy an empty stomach. If you had gone to public school, you would have learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

There is a free lunch. Oh, you are correct in that someone had to pay for it. Food does not magically appear as if there is a crack between multiple universes and nourishing products slip through into ours. But there is a free lunch.

A lunch free to children because we, the taxpayers, have agreed to provide it. Because no one, not even you, Betsy, can walk by a hungry child and not do something. The problem is that you have insulated yourself from the hungry and poor and therefore feel you need do nothing.

Betsy, there are no words left for you except these: FEED MY LAMBS.

You know who said that.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Guns in Schools (Revisited)

It really is a Tale of Two Cities in my domicile, the City of Jacksonville, FL, the "Bold New City of the South."

Two years ago, I wrote about children bringing guns to schools after a day in which two middle school students in my school were arrested for having handguns, one of which was loaded:

Recently, the issue has arisen again due to two news events: one for the public school system, and; one for a private school,

A public system; a private school. There are arrests; there are no arrests. Students are expelled; students are 'dismissed.' School police are automatically called in; Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is not called. Schools for everyone regardless of income; schools for those who can afford it.

Different outcomes.

By all means there should be consequences for children who endanger other children even if 'it was a mistake,' 'these are good boys,' or 'they were afraid.' We hear these excuses every time. Even mistakes carry consequences.

But I can't help noticing how wealth makes a difference. Those who can afford private tuition: their children are excused when a mistake is made. Those who cannot: their children are arrested and go into the criminal justice system. No excuse is allowed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Dear Marco ...

Dear Senator Rubio,

Thank you (not so much) for your canned response to my very serious concerns. This is not the first time you have sent me an "interim response" with no final response coming ever.

Thank you for patronizing me without an attempt to hear my concerns and respond as one human being to another. While I recognize that you cannot personally respond to every communication you receive nor can you hire enough staff to do the same, you could sort your contacts by topic and have meaningful responses rather than the blather you send.

You might even go opposite to every politician's instinct and put into your responses what you will do without worrying about losing a vote.

I would respect that.

This, not so much: "Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Your correspondence has been received and I welcome the opportunity to address your concerns. Hearing directly from constituents such as yourself is truly an honor, and your input is much appreciated."

You are notorious for not showing up to work and these days, with your family's immigrant background, you must want to hide more than ever. While your party demands compliance at all levels with a xenophobic president, you must disagree.

Floridians want something better: a courageous Senator who will work to see the right thing done regardless of personal benefit or cost. Could you find it within yourself to oppose the executive order banning entry into this country by persons holding green cards or visas? Could you decide to buck your leadership to oppose the worst Cabinet nomination in over a century? Will you vote against Betsy Devos?

Life is not a presidential run, dear Marco. Life is about making the right choices in whatever circumstances in which you find yourself. If you are indeed destined to lead a great nation, then like Winston Churchill, you will find the 'wings of fate' beating above your head. Churchill was a used-up, washed-up backbencher warning against Hitler. Everyone thought him 'past it,' as the Brits would say. Then he turned out to be right and the only man available when the crisis came.

He wound up being the only commoner in 1000 years of English history to have his profile on England's coins.

He spoke out in favor of truth without a worry of being Prime Minister or getting anyone's favor. Will you do the same?

Can you do the same? Because a crisis is coming. Surely you see that. (Tweet, tweet.)

Twice now you asked us to send you to the Senate. The second time after you said you were done. What do you go back for? Please say for the people of Florida, not your personal ambitions or whatever carrots your party's professional politicians, elite, and powers dangled before you.

Thus, you are committed to the job, right? Your second term will not be marked by your fellow Senators shouting "Marco" in the pool and hoping to hear your faint return "Polo." You will show up for votes and committee work. And you will stand for what's right and Florida citizens.

Prove it. Oppose the attempts to roll back the New Deal. Support and save Social Security, including Medicare. Stop the privatization of our public schools. Oppose the wall. Support enforcement of existing law.

Promote justice, domestic tranquility, the common welfare, and the blessings of liberty.

Very truly yours,

Gregory Sampson

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fresh Eggs post Groundhog Day

1. Every time people talk to me about "failing schools," I ask them how they know. They don't have an answer.

2. Donald Trump doesn't want to destroy public education; he wants to sell it to the highest bidder. And he found Betsy Devos, who has more money and willingness to do the job than anyone else.

3. Playing silly games on my tablet, I find that they often provide events that 'get people around the world working together to accomplish common goals.' How can we get our political leaders to do that?

4. Do not call Donald Trump a fascist or a Nazi. Even Hitler gave the German people health care.

5. I would like to extend an open invitation to Puxatawney Phil to relocate to Jacksonville. Our winter hasn't started yet.

6. About the nomination of Betsy Devos: as we say in the education biz, she doesn't know that she doesn't know.

7. I think we could say the same of Donald Trump. Hey, that's under the 140 character limit, hee-hee.

8. After 30 years of educational reform, the golden age has not arrived. When do people begin to think that it's not working?

9. Opportunity cost is an economic concept that when you decide to do one thing, you lose the opportunity to do something else. Specifically, when you decide to give another test, you lose the opportunity to continue learning in the classroom. Hmm, is there a school district that has lost its way? 'Nough said, I like my job.

10. Anyone else but Donald Trump would have pulled the Devos nomination by now. But the Trumpster always doubles down. We need to stop her, but what will he do in response?

11. Hey, you ask. Why am I so anti-Donald Trump? That would take a long essay, but here's a short answer: He made me vote for Hillary Clinton, something I swore I would never do.

11.5: Unlike a politician or a calculating media type, I will lay it out in the sunshine. This is what I think. I started this blog to let you see inside my hard head, made of stone. Let's crack that stone cranium open and see what's inside.

12. We made it past Groundhog Day. And yet, in an invocation of the famous movie, don't you wish we were caught in a Groundhog Day, in which we kept repeating the day until we got it right?