Saturday, February 19, 2011

Waiting for Superman

I watched the documentary movie, “Waiting for Superman,” last night. It's an excellent treatment of what’s wrong with public education and some of the solutions that are emerging. The United States used to be a leader in public education but we have fallen behind numerous developed countries. One particular fact mentioned struck me. When kids drop out of school they are more likely to commit crimes and go to prison. The cost of incarcerating someone in prison for four years is more that the cost of twelve years of private school education. Another comment in the film was that kids in the middle get hurt more. I’ve seen this. The top students have gifted, advanced placement and International Baccalaureate programs, and the bottom students often have remedial or special education types of programs, but the kids in the middle often get left behind. The main theme of the documentary is that the problem is the adults—too much fighting over turf and pet programs rather than doing what’s right for the kids. Some of the successful charter programs in the country provide excellent teachers, forward thinking leadership and longer school time (more hours during the day and more days of education during the year). I recommend watching this documentary.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


We’re still dealing with chaos in our house after a fire. We’re living in half of the downstairs with no kitchen or family room. Things are slowly being repaired and new cabinets will be installed in the kitchen next week. I’ve become used to cooking with a microwave in the dining room, getting food out of the refrigerator in the entry way and going upstairs to wash dishes. In all this chaos I have been trying to get some writing done. Right now I’m rewriting a cozy mystery I started over a year ago. Some days I get in no writing, and others I’m able to break away for several hours to work. I don’t have to worry about writers block. I have home repair block.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How We Cope

As we are getting our house back together after a fire, I have discovered I cope with the situation erratically. Sometimes, I’m resigned to how long it takes to get repairs completed and sometimes I get frustrated at the seemingly slow process. I was dealing pretty well with things until last night when, while fixing dinner on the microwave, the power went out. It took several phone calls to track down what to do, but finally we got power back on. I had visions of being in the dark with our furnace out on a cold winter night. Our cat has her way of coping. Whenever anyone besides my wife or me enters the house, she hides under the bed. I can identify. There I times I want to hide under the bed, but being a “responsible adult,” that’s not in the cards.