originally posted July 3, 2019
Dear Public School Supporters on the Eve of Independence Day,
My name is John and I am going into second grade. I am writing to get some advice, and express my support in your fight to get the schools we deserve. I’ve been sharing my mom with you in this work, but the last few days have really been a struggle with her since she’s gone all Phil Berger on me with reforming my room. I realize there are some changes that need to be made in my room, and want to work with my mom to improve its condition, but we have some differences of opinion in which problem areas should be prioritized and how best to reorganize my room. Since the similarities are striking as you all battle against some of the reforms championed by Sen. Phil Berger, Rep. Tim Moore, Supt. Mark Johnson, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, I thought you may be able to offer some advice.
First off, I have a younger sister who likes to come in to play with my toys. I know she’s younger and new around here, but I don’t like when she plays with or takes my stuff, or when she contributes to the mess. Mom says it’s my room, so it’s my mess to clean. Is this what it’s like sharing with less accountable charter schools and voucher programs?
We started by taking everything out of my room and while mom does some deep cleaning, it’s my job to sort through my books and donate the ones that are below my reading level or no longer of interest. I quickly realize that there are few books that remain, so I shuffle some back over from the discard pile so my shelf isn’t so bare. Mom doesn’t get paid in the summer so I know they won’t be replaced quickly, but there’s always the library. Do you hang on to books that aren’t as useful because something is better than nothing? Do you have a textbook library?
We pulled back my bed to clean under it. We deep clean in the summer when mom is home to catch up. Suffice it to say, I think I’ll be sneezing a lot less when it’s done. It would be great to vacuum under the furniture more often, but thorough cleaning time is rare during the school year. With major cuts in custodial services, is this what your schools look like by the end of the year?
I have a twin bed and I’m tall for my age and growing fast. Between Dad’s height and my pace of growth, I’ll need a bigger bed in a few years. I hope I don’t have to fight tooth and nail for one like you all have to in order to get a state school construction bond. How will I get a sound, basic night’s sleep if I’m so scrunched up?
Legos are my favorite! I love building and using my imagination. Mom likes what I build, but doesn’t like buying so many of them, stepping on them, or nagging me to clean them up. The other week she went to California to catch up with a friend who works for Apple. Her friend sold her on the idea of buying an iPad for me so I could play Minecraft instead. She thinks she’ll save money on new Legos and my room will be less of a mine field if I just play Minecraft. I tell her I like Legos better and they’re better for my brain development, but she insists I’ll learn to like the new setup once I have more training on how to use it. HELP!!!
My baseball piggy bank brings me joy and helps me to save money. While helping Grandpa prepare for his move, she brought back Uncle Greg’s big blue crayon bank for me. I told her I don’t need a bigger bank since my money fits just fine in my baseball pig. Mom countered that Uncle Greg is in finance and does well for himself, so if it worked for him, I will learn to like the big blue crayon bank. Despite the adequacy of my current bank, and failure to convince Mom that a bigger bank doesn’t mean more money in the bank, I’m now forced to find space in my room for this big blue crayon because my finance industry uncle owned it so mom thinks it’s a good idea. I try appealing to Dad to see things my way and help my case with Mom, but he already drove it across the country and doesn’t want to tell Mom he changed his mind, no matter how much sense I make. Have your allies done this to you?
Mom is now in my room with the door closed, reforming it as she sees fit. She said my complaining is unwarranted and that I’ll like my room much better once she’s done. She fails to realize that I’ll be the one living in it, not her. I respect that she’s my mom and as her son I have limited sway by design. I wish she would catch the spirit of the upcoming Independence Day, and offer to me more autonomy over my room. How do you all deal with being stonewalled in a democracy whose power is sourced in you – the people?
I look forward to your suggestions and watching you model them as an example.