Wisconsin Election: Pure Madness

Wisconsin’s presidential primary election has long been scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.  Then the world was turned upside down by the virus pandemic.

And in Wisconsin, all hell broke loose as the Democrat Governor, Tony Evers, and the Republican-controlled legislature battled as to whether or not the April 7 election should move forward.

Earlier today (April 6), Evers issued an executive order delaying the primary until June 9.  Republican legislative leaders said they would immediately ask the state supreme court to block his order.

“I cannot in good conscience allow any types of gathering that would further the spread of this disease and to put more lives at risk,”  said the governor.  For a more complete look at this situation, go here.

This is insanity.  Plain and simple.  When every public health official in the country is shouting from the rooftops for people to stay isolated, how do you try to engineer something that does just the opposite?

It would be just as insane were the governor a Republican and the legislature controlled by Democrats.

More than ever before in my 77 years, we should truly heed the admonition to be “my brother’s keeper.”  That includes Republicans, Democrats, Whigs, Tories and everyone in between.

Stolen From Facebook

Social media is full of tributes to teachers these days from  parents realizing just how difficult their jobs are.  Here is one that got my attention:

“Dear TEACHERS,,

Next year, I don’t care if you make the school supply list 10 pages long.  I’ll get you whatever you ask for.  You want eight dozen pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils?  They’re yours. You want 27 single subject notebooks with real dragon skin covers?  I got you. Fifty bottles of hand sanitizer?  Seems reasonable.  A baby unicorn?  I’ll make it happen. Whatever you want. Let me know if you have any food restrictions, ’cause I’m hiring you a personal chef. You want a masseuse to rub your shoulders while you grade papers?  I can make that happen for you, my Queen.

Y’all, these kids are rotten.  Mine.  Yours.  Karen’s.  All of them, nerve wracking little monsters, and these sweet Angels that God saw fit to send us to educate our children are freaking ROCK STARS, and we do NOT give them enough credit.  Or money. These teachers should all be driving Bentleys. Or better yet, a Rolls Royce with a personal driver. They should all be living in 5000 square foot mansions with in- ground heated pools.

So teachers, thank you.  Also, I know that I gave birth to them, but I’m gonna need you to come and get your kids before I lose my ever- loving mind.

Sincerely,

A Mama Who Has Had Enough of Coronacation and Trying To Homeschool these Heathens”

When Words Escape Me

NEVER in my 77 years has the United States faced a time as daunting as the one we now face.  Unbelievably it was just a month ago today (March 3, 2020) when Alabama went to the polls for our presidential primary.  That was the day voters slam dunked the attempt by the legislature to take control of public education by defeating Amendment One 75 percent to 25 percent.

Little did we know that we were within mere hours of having our world jerked out from under us and whatever “normal” may have been replaced by fear and uncertainty.

Since I started this blog five years ago, probably at least 90 percent of what I’ve written about has dealt with public education.  But to be honest, education is now about the farthest thing from my mind.  Which does not mean that I am not in awe of the efforts educators and volunteers are making on behalf of our students.  I am indeed.

But in my mind, until we somehow get our arms around this tremendous health issue, little else matters.

I am scared.  For my son and daughter, for friends scattered from coast to coast, for every one who claims this country as their home.

We’ve all been inspired by stories of common folks doing uncommon things during this time.  I saw an interview with a 4th grade girl in Boston who loved to sew and had already made more than 800 face masks for local policemen.   God bless her.

BUT I am still appalled at those who see this pandemic through political eyes.  The fact that for the most part Democratic governors have responded differently than Republican governors is beyond comprehension.

Were we ready for this pandemic?  NO.  Of course not.  Was New Orleans ready for Katrina’s flooding?  Was Tuscaloosa ready for the horrific tornado that hit in 2011?

Whose fault was this?  Who cares?  All that matters is what we do from this day forward, not what should have been done three months ago.  And for the Democrats to announce that they want to investigate who may have been at fault is ridiculous.

This country has never been so divided against itself.  Where is the tolerance?  I see friends of many, many years posting crap on Facebook that is often untrue, but is of no value if it were.  Recently one posted that a number of prominent Democrats go by a different name than they had as children.  Most of it was total B.S.  But Sweet Jesus, people are dying and this is what we’re thinking about?

In my opinion, the Crown Prince of division is Sean Hannity.  How does the poison he spews each night make the United States a better place?  It doesn’t.

The best scientists in the world are working feverishly to find answers to what confronts us.  The hospitals of New York City are filled with countless heroes.

Do what you can.  Give blood.  Make masks.  Remember your neighbors and your friends.  Listen to the scientists,  Be part of the solution.  Not part of the problem like Sean Hannity.

Mean While, Back In Washington County

The South Oak Grove Baptist church has been a fixture in southwest Washington County since 1880.  It doubled as a school for nearly 60 years, until a school was built in nearby Fruitdale.

Today it is a staging site for volunteers working to provide meals for local students prevented from attending school by the virus pandemic.  The fellowship hall is filled with can goods, bags of chips and goodies and drinks.  Five local churches, along with local citizens, have provided $2,000 for food.  The local route man for a bread company donated loaves of bread.  The Bay Area Food Bank helped.

The effort is coordinated by Marty Coaker, who has driven a school bus for Fruitdale school for 32 years.  Food is provided for 109 students, all but eight of whom have meals delivered to their homes.  Ten volunteers, including one great-grandmother, make deliveries.  The deliveries are necessary because the area is so sparsely populated and both distance and lack of transportation hamper students and their families from getting to the church.

It is an amazing effort, one being repeated today in hundreds of communities around the state.  For instance, the same day I visited South Oak Grove I also stopped by the McIntosh Community Center on the other side of the county.  Volunteer Wesley Barnes, assisted by McIntosh High School principal Jamelle Sauls, ran this site distributing more than 100 “grab and go” lunches.

While thousands of volunteers and educators in Alabama are scrambling to meet the challenges of this momment, the Washington County school system is unique since it is the only rural system in the state also threatened financially by the prospect of a charter school opening there and cutting $2 million in funding from the existing system.

This charade has now gone on for nearly two years.  The state charter commission approved the Woodland Prep charter application on May 14, 2018.  The application was reviewed by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers who recommended that it be  denied.  They also recommended the same for LEAD Academy in Montgomery.

But Soner Tarim of Houston, who had management contracts for both Woodland Prep and LEAD, convinced the charter commission that NACSA did not know what they were doing, so both schools were approved.

LEAD Academy opened last August and has had anything but a smooth start.  Tarim is no longer working for them and according to the Montgomery Advertiser, LEAD owes him $76,000.  The Woodland Prep board has indicted they are now looking for someone else to manage their school.

A letter was sent on Feb. 18, 2020 from charter commission chair, Henry Nelson, to the attorney for Woodland Prep stating that there would be a hearing on March 24, 2020 to consider revoking their charter.

However, this was postponed to April 20, 2020.  I can not find out who authorized this.  It was NOT an action by the charter commission.  I have twice asked by email both Nelson and Logan Searcy, state department staff person for the charter commission, who OK’ed this.  Neither responded.

So here we are nearly two years later and this mess drags on.  In addition to struggling to meet the hardships of the virus crisis we now face, in October Washington County schools will lose $700,000 in annual revenue when Power South closes a generating plant in Leroy.

And the chaos and confusion caused by an effort to open a charter school that has scant community support and is not needed still dangles over the head of this rural community.

(I have attended at least three meetings the charter commission has had with Woodland Prep.  I NEVER recall a single parent from Washington County showing up to speak for Woodland Prep.  Instead, it has either been Soner Tarim or attorney Nash Campbell pleading their case.  Since both have a financial interest in Woodland Prep, do they really want a school–or a paycheck?)

Even without the virus crisis, it is high time for the state charter commission to do what is right and put an end to this travesty.  And this crisis makes it even more so.

 

 

 

 

 

Washington County Schools Need Help

Share the following note from John Dickey, Washington County school superintendent:

Washington County School system is in dire need of latex gloves, hand sanitizer, and Lysol spray – Does anyone know of suppliers with inventory available? I will pick up if necessary.

John Dickey, Superintendent

If you have any suggestions, please contact the following:

John Dickey     john.dickey@wcbek12.org

Betty Brackin     brackinbetty@gmail.com

Larry Lee       larrylee133@gmail.com

Thanks so much.