Instead of blue ribbons, though, our schools have been bogged down in UNFUNDED MANDATES from the previous administration's No Child Left Behind debacle. (Download it, and tuck it under your pillow, you'll be asleep in ten seconds for sure!)
On top of that, we have the IDEA program, designed to maintain students in an environment that will best serve their special needs while promoting their learning without creating a label to do it. Careful testing and retesting, datakeeping and monitoring are required here in order to make this program work. In Connecticut, we call it SRBI or "serbie"...Scientific Research-based Intervention.
As an example, Spot? Today...I was off revamping a systematic schoolwide approach to handling student behavior. This in itself would be something our teachers could do on their own, given some good orderly direction and an initiative from our own in-district leadership. Instead, we're forced to employ the services of SERC, the State Education Resource Center, paying an enormous sum for 6 days this year, and then 6 more for the next two years, of inservicing in the area of behavior. Behavior! Substitute teachers=about $4,000, the cost of the inservicing...well, that is unknown to me. But. Every town in the state of CT must go through this process. And, every town in the state must pay for it themselves.
In light of all this, the previous Republican administration that touts the trouble of big-government has actually stuck their very big hand in our pot, and is now raking in the dough, squeezing it right out of our small home-grown school districts. When we go to the voting booth these days? Our citizenry is at each other's throats over the little nitty gritty pieces of class-sizes, gym teachers (Forget childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama...we know you're right, but that makes too much sense!), pencils, paper, paper clips, etc. The townspeople are looking at the schools as the big ugly elephant stuck in the middle of their towns.
But in reality? Our schools really would just love to work toward the positive...that little blue ribbon! Get rid of your programs, and let us get back to the business of working toward a standard that all children can and will achieve. Give us mucho bucks and incentives for winning that big blue sucker! And you know what? We'll rise to the occasion without all these ridiculously expensive initiatives that no one in their right mind would fund even IF they could. Just give the dog a bone, right Spot?! You knew it all along!
Spot: Tell everyone you know! Join us at NHS, 7 PM and wear blue! We're going for the blue in our hometown of Newtown. And...with or without the money, we'll just have to show them all!
What say ye, parents, friends and countrymen/women?