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posted Apr 17, 2012, 7:52 AM by Gary Jones
This column was written by the San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools. It is timely and worth the time you will spend reading it. (I am thankful to Dr. "Mick" Founts for sharing this with us.)

"I write best when I am tired. I am really tired tonight. This should have been a heck of a good column…but it isn’t. I don’t have much to write about. I am tired beyond creativity. Do you ever get that way? Tonight I am at that tiredness that pulls your heart into your stomach and makes you sick to your soul. I am so tired of what is happening to our children…and to our teachers…and to our schools…

My friends who work in schools…at any level…in any job…work to “keep that stiff upper lip” in a time where those with power say that they value school, but continue to slowly erode what should be the cornerstone, or pillar, or foundation, or…Heck, you know the rest. Educators are optimists by design…they are generally “made” to keep a positive outlook. That is who they are…they are optimists inside and out. They have to be. Their kids depend on that human star that guides them through a difficult lesson, later to learn that it was not about the “lesson at hand,” but rather was about a life lesson…far beyond that classroom problem, far beyond that high school or elementary school quiz. Our young people count on us educators to give them the academic, social, and emotional tools that will prepare them for…as cliché as this might seem…life.

I remember that poem, that chemistry experiment, that art project…because their lessons helped me reach for answers that would come to life years later in settings that had relevancy that were born in classrooms, designed by teachers who knew the future power of foundational work that had begun in classrooms, but would have true meaning in a real life, in a real time which transcended those hour-long classroom lessons.

What a week. A text message from a teacher who was really tired from trying to reach her 38 students…and not being able to. Listening to a counselor who has 1,000 students to care for…and not being able to. Hearing a principal who struggles, alone, to give his teachers, his support staff, his kids the help that they need…and not being able to. Talking with a group of parents who want to believe that their kids will have that complete educational experience…and not being able to. Trying to believe our elected leaders, and candidates, when they say that “education is the most important part of our future”…and not being able to.

Our schools are doing so much, with so little. What could we do if we were given just the funding that the law says that we should have? What would our children look like? What would our future, as a society…as a State…look like?

I am tired, and truly write the best when I am tired…but not tonight. I guess I could have written a story…you know I like doing that…but not tonight. I am tired, but am actually looking forward to the coming days. You see, I am tired of giving away our future, and believe that it is truly time to say…not tonight, not tomorrow, not ever.

An election is coming. Don’t accept the rhetoric. Ask the questions. What have you done to support our children in our schools; what will you do? Our kids deserve it."