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They say its your birthday

March 25, 2010

My boy is nine. He woke up with a big smile on his face, even though he knows we’re not going to be able to do much celebrating today. He already got his present from us (although he’ll get a couple of small things) and we are going to be racing around to get ready for vacation. But we’ll take him out to dinner — he’s requested a local pizza place which is full of taxidermy and gives you peanuts and lets you toss the shells on the floor. And we’ll do his ceremonial measuring on his growth chart to see how much taller he’s grown since last year. We tried to call my dad this morning, whose birthday is today too (Happy Birthday, Dad!), but we were too late. He had already left. We’ll try again this evening. And we’ll celebrate with him in person in a few days.

If you haven’t read the stories about being nine, which people left in the comments on yesterdays post, please go check them out. They are wonderful.

On the home front, I have been working like a dog for the last two weeks and I stil haven’t finished anything, although I have made progress on all fronts. The school fight has taken an interesting turn. I was having a casual conversation with a friend and colleague on the school board community panel about charter schools and she took it and ran with it. Within 24 hours, she’d come up with a mission and time tables and we divvied up some research reading to do over break. I sent out a quick message to my parent list and had a bunch of volunteers within minutes, including one of our school board members who wasn’t even on my mailing list. That last one was a big surprise. There are a number of things that make this possibility look interesting. Our parent group is extremely educated and experienced — there are many former teachers as well as people with extensive finance and business organization experience and one who used to work in politics. We’re still looking for lawyers, but I bet we’ll find some. There are a lot of out of work teachers in our area. There is a huge public outcry for alternatives. Private schools are far away and too expensive for most. There are no other charter schools in our county, which means we might be able to draw from other communities as well. And
one of the best ones in the state is in the next county, certainly close enough for us to look at it and see how they make it work. I’m not sure if it will work, but it will at least offer some leverage on the school board — the potential of losing funds and some of their best volunteers to a charter might help them reconsider some of the things they’ve put into play. And if nothing else, the project has restored my faith that things can get better here. Because at the moment, our district is just above rock bottom on the list of the financial health of school districts in the state that’s worse off in education finance than any other, including California (on a per capita basis, anyway). There’s nowhere to go but up.

I plant to take a blog break this week as I attempt to take a vacation and catch up on my work. Of course, past history suggests that I may blog anyway, but I make no promises. Regularly scheduled programming will return April 5.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    March 25, 2010 12:33 pm

    Happy Birthday to AJ! Have a great – and RESTFUL – vacation!

  2. March 25, 2010 1:51 pm

    happy birthday, and have a lovely vacation!

  3. March 25, 2010 6:40 pm

    ack! Forgot to measure Bug on our growth wall and his b’day was early February! Tomorrow.

    I’m glad to see that you’re leaving on your vacation with an optimistic outlook on the school thing. You can laze around in NM dreaming of ways a charter school might be perfect. Enjoy.

  4. eleanorio permalink
    March 25, 2010 11:06 pm

    Enjoy!

  5. March 27, 2010 9:29 pm

    Happy Birthday 🙂 New here, and liking it.

  6. March 30, 2010 8:43 pm

    Good luck with the charter school — very exciting. Paul and I, with other parents, started a new school after Katrina… it was a lot of work. Charters are everywhere now in New Orleans. The competition has improved overall school performance tremendously, though considering where our schools started, there is still one heck of a long way to go. Can’t wait to hear more about your school!

  7. March 30, 2010 8:44 pm

    Good luck with the charter school — very exciting. Paul and I, with other parents, started a new school after Katrina… it was a lot of work. Charters are everywhere now in New Orleans. The competition has improved overall school performance tremendously, though considering where our schools started, there is still one heck of a long way to go. Can’t wait to hear more!

  8. Blighty permalink
    March 31, 2010 1:19 pm

    Hi there. I drop in and out of your diary, which resonates greatly as I have a child already 10, one nearly 8 (please stay 7) and a thing who is 13 and used to be a boy I knew. And I live in England, having moved from the midwest. But really the reason I am writing is that I too went to brownie camp when I was nine, and back then also knew all the words to “They built the ship Titanic” only NOW I can only remember the first two lines and after singing those lines 100 times and getting no further, I beseech you to send me the rest of the words. I have a blog (not nearly as interesting as yours) on diaryland. Happy belated birthday to your 9 year old….

  9. April 6, 2010 11:18 am

    Thanks for all the nice comments. It was a lovely vacation. Holly, I may be bugging you for more information. In particular, I’m looking for schools to research that are doing an especially good job. If you have any to recommend, I’d love to hear about them. Blighty, I can get you through the first verse, although my online research suggests that there are several versions of this song. This is the way I learned it:

    Oh, they built the ship Titanic
    To sail the ocean blue
    And they thought they’d built a ship
    That water wouldn’t go through
    It was on a rainy morning
    That an iceberg hit the ship.
    It was sad when the great ship went down.

    Oh, Lordy, it was sad (too sad)
    It was sad (to sad)
    It was sad when the great ship went down
    To the bottom of the [Sea*]
    Husbands and wives
    Little children lost their lives
    It was sad when the great ship went down.

    [*Sea is sung by half the group while the other half sings “Husbands and wives little children lost their lives”].

    A friend of mine tells me that when she was at summer camp, the line was not “husbands and wives” but “Uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants.” I’m pretty sure I know which version AJ would choose to sing.

    I know we sang more verses — in particular, I remember the line “and the band began to play ‘Nearer my God to Thee” — but the ones that appear on various listings of the lyrics to this song on the Internet don’t jive with my memory. I think our camp had their own way of doing things.

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