Sunday, January 30, 2011

Check out Arizona Education Commitment

Check out Arizona Education Commitment

As a former teacher, and now especially as a mom, I believe strongly that our legislature needs to put a much stronger emphasis on saving education.  Funds going towards our public schools have been cut so drastically that they are having a severe detrimental effect on our schools.  The reaction has been to invest more into private schools and/or charter schools, but there are many problems with having this approach.  These types of schools should exist as alternatives to public schools, and I do believe in parental choice in education, but I do not believe that public schools should suffer significantly in the process.

There is an unfortunate movement (that I used to believe was all conspiracy and exaggerated) to undo the public school system entirely.  As someone who used to sub in the charter school system here in Tucson and has seen firsthand what these schools can do and the lack of standards and accountability they face, this frightens me like nothing else.  For example, I subbed in one elementary school in particular that used to have a normal curriculum the first year I subbed there (science, math, reading, writing, social studies, and extra curricular - such as music, art, and P.E.).  When I subbed there the following year, in order to boost their test scores, they had done away ENTIRELY with any science or social studies - at ALL grade levels (K-5).  They taught two classes of reading, writing, and math each day, with one period for extra curricular (P.E. twice per week, and also music one day, art one day, and one other class that I can't recall).  I was shocked and appalled that these kids were learning absolutely NO science or social studies.  None.  The heavy emphasis on reading, writing, and math was also taking its toll, and by the afternoon, they were bored and restless.  I was so appalled, that I refused to sub at this school ever again.  This is perfectly legal in charter schools.  Teachers also do not need to be highly qualified and/or certified in their subject area to teach in charter schools or private schools.  These schools are not required by law to accept all students.  I could list a million reasons why I do not support the idea of charter and private schools becoming the mainstream in education.  Yes, there are great charter and private schools out there, but there are also a lot of really shady ones (at least charter schools).

I believe strongly in the merits of a strong public edication offered to all children in our state.  I believe this only makes us stronger as a state, as a nation, and as a world.

If you wish to show your support for public schools in the state of Arizona, please visit the link I provided above, then click on the "sign on" tab, and take a moment of your time to sign the commitment to go to our state legislature.  We need to let them know that we DO value education in our state, and that their approach to utterly slashing education in our state is unacceptable and they need to find another way to balance our budget.  We need to make our voices heard, and they also need to do their job as outlined in the Arizona Constitution to protect education for our children.

Thank you for allowing me to take a moment to blog about something that is very near and dear to me.  Thank you also for taking your time to read this and especially if you take a moment to sign the commitment in the link I provided.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Two weeks ago, a tragedy occurred in an area that is roughly 20 minutes from my home.  In an area near where I used to teach.  In an area where many of my friends live.  It's hard to convey how close to home something like this hits.  It's hard to convey how it affects a community, even if you do not know any of the victims.  The idea that it could have been you.  That it could have been your friend or your neighbor.  The complete and utter senselessness of this shooting causes you to stop and think, to reflect, to feel grateful for the time you have with those you love.  And to feel grief, sadness, and even anger over the deaths of 6 completely innocent and good people, as well as the horrific injuries to others. 

When things like this happen, and especially in your community, you can't help but stay glued to the news for more information.  To grab your cell phone or log into Facebook and make sure all of your friends are safe.  I know that I spent the weekend glued to the TV, switching to different news stations to see if anyone had different news.  And although over the past two weeks, life has pretty much returned to normalcy, I still find myself thinking of those affected by this tragedy.

Which is why a couple of days ago I found myself calling my husband at work to ask him if he minded taking care of Bella on his own that evening so that I could go down to UMC to see the makeshift memorial that has been growing by the day since the night that this happened.  I felt like I needed to feel a part of the love that this wonderful community has been spreading to help heal the grief and shock felt by so many.

To say that I felt that love while standing in front of UMC would be a tremendous understatement.  I brought my camera with me to try to begin to capture the emotions, the love, the support, and the tremendous community spirit that is Tucson.  I don't know if I could fully capture those emotions that I felt while standing there, looking over a sea of flowers, candles, balloons, signs, photos, cards, stuffed animals, and every other momento left by thousands of visitors.  But I tried.





























Monday, January 17, 2011

Catching Up

I have a lot of pictures that I have taken over the past week or so, and not a lot of blog posts to reflect that.  So, this post is all about catching up.  With Ray back at work, Isabella and I have had a lot of fun days at home, just the two of us. 

Isabella has a love for her easel from her grandpa, particularly all of her letters and numbers.  She loves to put them all up on the easel, and then take them back down.  Move them around to various places in the house.  Put them in her stroller and push them around (I'm not making this up).  =)

So, I totally nailed focus on this one...  On the Apple Jacks box!  That's totally the most interesting and significant part of this image...  ;-)

Bella got really into her mashed potatoes this week...

"Boots on?  Boots on?"  She insisted on wearing her boots all day long. 

She does rock the Minnie Mouse pajamas and boots look though.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Day at the Playground

My daughter loves the playground.  The slide.  The swings.  All of it.  Probably not a terribly uncommon trait in children, I would imagine...  But I'm her mommy.  So, I get to swoon over her great big smile as she comes down the slide for the 20th time.

Ok, so this one is terribly out of focus, but I love this smile!

Once we were able to pry her away from the slide, she had a great time on the swings!


About Me

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I'm a high school English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. The more time I spend home with my daughter, the less I want to go back to teaching (although I love it and miss it). I have a new interest/passion/obsession with photography, and while I know I have a very, very long way to go, I am completely loving my new-found hobby. I am completely Disney obsessed (and a former Disney World Cast Member). For those familiar with the Disney lingo - I worked in Entertainment. Best friends with Mickey Mouse. Is there a better job in existance? I would argue no. Well, ok. Staying home with my sweet girl ranks up there pretty high. Although, when I get to merge my loves (Disneyland + Bella), it's pretty much my idea of heaven.

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