Monday, February 14, 2005

Tomorrow Is Monday, A New Battle Day

I can remember the time I looked forward to going to school. I was 10-years-old and the teacher's union still cared about students and teachers. Now the emphasis has shifted to money and politics. The more money an organization has, more power it believes it controls. More power only comes from playing the political games. Welcome to the arena of public education. The majority of special education funding comes from the federal government. The same as regular education funds. Of course, the federal government and the Department of Education educates no child. The bureaucrats probably believe they educate, but all they do is distribute funds and try to control state governments, school boards, and finally the students.

"Hey dude, is that funny little activity guy comin' today?"
"You know, the guy that plays games with us."
"Oh, no, he won't be coming anymore."
"Why not?"
"The department had to cut spending and his program was the first."
"That sucks, man."
"I know."

I've thought about that exchange over the past two weeks. Each time it is brought to mind when the fifth, different "liaison" comes through my door with their pasted on smiles. Not yet has one came in to discuss the welfare or education of a student. Always the dilemma revolves around some new paperwork that the central office can't function without.

The question that I silently pose to myself is, "How many liaisons do you hire before the department topples from the top down?" Monday morning I'll pass out Ramen Noodles to the SPED students. None of them have a two parent home and none have a parent that prepares them a breakfast. Most of the parents or guardians are gone to meager jobs before the kids get up. The rest don't even hear the kids leave. It's amazing so many kids continue to attend school on a regular basis. I've thought it is due to the notion they have no other stable force in their lives then their teacher. Besides, it is hard enough to learn on a full stomach and almost impossible to learn on an empty belly. School lunch programs continue to lose funds while the school makes money from fast food restaurants that have taken over every vacant room surrounding the cafeteria. Generally, the poorest students are special education students. The very ones that can't afford fast food on a daily basis. It's not the only reason the majority of them will not be going to college, but it is a pebble on their rocky life path.

Yes, tomorrow is Monday, a new battle day, but the same old war.