an we talk? I have been living a lie. I do not like the 4th of July. It ranks in my bottom 5 of holidays. Oh, I like the Declaration of Independence, freedom, and the Star-Spangled Banner. I don’t like fireworks, I don’t look good in a tank top, I like to personally be at room temperature to drink a cold beer and I prefer my hamburgers and hot dogs to be prepared by some back room cook and not some drunken uncle that has a “special recipe.”
Glad I could get that off my conscience. Please, do not think less of me.
My friends used to have bottle rocket fights; I am sure it is still a thing with some. Shooting lit, exploding projectiles at each other. That seems dumb, doesn’t it? I knew an older kid that got hit in the eye with one. He had a glass eye after that. While having a glass eye is a cool conversation starter, I was fond of my eyes and chose not to participate in bottle rocket fights.
I am probably a “wussy,” but I’m a “wussy” with two human eyeballs, so pick your poison. I am not sure how buying a bunch of Chinese fireworks became an American tradition, but it has. Maybe tearing down our statues will replace it as our go-to celebration methodology. We can run around for the weeks before and after the 4th of July and tear down statues, drink beer and eat Uncle Jack’s secret recipe hot dogs.
My wife and I sat in a socially distanced Nick and Jake’s and had a beer last week. It was glorious.
There is significant rumbling in school circles that is interesting to note. Individual districts are complaining that the state of Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is not providing much direction to districts on the plans for this fall. While the entire nation is in a state of indecision, some districts are pointing out that many state departments have moved aggressively forward with plans for the 2021-22 school year and the implementation of a restart to school.
The Missouri School Boards Association has published a compilation of ideas and strategies for reopening but many claim DESE has been bureaucratic and slow to help.
They did form a Summer School Task Force, which is always a good sign that government has no idea what they want to do. Here is what they came up with. 1. Provide maximum flexibility to schools 2. Provide clear expectations for summer learning 3. Provide clear expectations for virtual summer school.
Ok then. You could have been help, but instead they were that.
They sent that out in a memo, so it looked pretty official. But if I am a superintendent of schools, I am not sure that those three things would help me much. For the record, I am not a superintendent of schools.
But, superintendents of schools get paid a boatload of money and this is when they really need to earn it. Decisions have to be made and it is not the time to wait on state agencies. The districts with the strongest leaders will succeed in this environment and those with the weakest leaders will be telling parents to be flexible and kids to wash their hands and mostly making sure their direct deposit payroll gets made. Just like small businesspeople have had to earn their keep in a grudgingly hard path during these times, school officials are not immune. They must work harder and with more precision than before. They must present parents of their respective community with simple and effective plans for getting students back in the buildings we paid for.
If they do not, we may figure out that all that money we have invested/given to educate was not really needed.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or eschewing bottle rocket fights)