Sunday, January 18, 2009

Update, Update-written on Monday posted on Sunday

Well today was a different day at my house. Instead of having the morning to visit Dad and get things done, I spent the morning with children in the dentist's office and then in the doctor's office. N had a filling and a wiggly tooth extracted. Turns out that n is suffering from walking pneumonia! To think I almost sent her to school today! I'll be home with her again tomorrow. Doctors orders until she has been on meds for 24 hours. Oh boy! End of the week update: After 24 hours of antibiotics and 4 inhaler treatments miss n was feeling much better although I wish her cough and sniffles would go away completely. She has another week before we go back to the pediatrician for her follow up appt. I'm hoping that all will be well at that point.

On another note I've been busy with Stand for Children work. (three night time meetings this week kept me from spending much time posting or visiting blogs! I'll be back on the right track this week) Tonight was the MLN meeting for January. In order to attend I have travel to a town that is about an hour and ten minutes away. It makes for a long night as the meetings don't end until 9pm. This meeting gathers together representatives from around the state of MA from various communities from inner city to suburbia. Usually the meetings are quite congenial and move along smoothly. Not so last night. We are working on our three year policy plan. Actually we have dedicated representatives that worked tirelessly with our policy director to devise a three year plan with underlying objectives for the 09 spring budget cycle. One of the priorities that we are looking at is the ever present achievement gap between socio economic groups as well as racial groups. One of the members of our MLN group feels strongly about the part that poverty and race play in this educational achievement gap. In our last meeting this topic was discussed and it was further discussed as we worked to vote on our policy for the next three years. While I understand that both poverty and race play an integral role in how children progress in school and in life I believe that attacking both of those issues is way out of the scope of what Stand for Children is capable of achieving. So to make a long story short the meeting ran long and for me became quite frustrating.

Monday night I had my regular Strategy Team meeting in Plymouth for Stand. It was a good meeting. We have a general idea of what will be expected over the next several months as Massachusetts goes through it's budget cycle. We will have many varied opportunities to lobby our legislators both in at the state house and in district. The idea seems to be to have a constant presence in the state house so that we can prevent cuts to our Chapter 70 and hopefully local aid budgets. It will be a very tight budget cycle with an ever changing landscape as the economy ebbs and flows. Hopefully things will improve but presently we are expecting a huge fight to protect funding for our schools and town. Recently I heard on a local radio station that the Barnstable Public Schools will be closing two elementary schools due to budgetary constraints.
Times are so difficult.

On a brighter note I was able to be a part of an inspirational meeting representing Stand for Children, on Wednesday with the Superintendent of our schools, President of the local United Way, representatives from the No Place for Hate campaign, the Youth Collaborative Group and the director of Pupil Personnel. All of the individuals gathered together to brainstorm how we can work together to accomplish our goals. It was an interesting meeting. Each of the groups seem to target kids at risk and families at risk. We identified some key difficulties that each group has run into including engaging parents. Transportation and infrastructure was also identified as a problem. There are programs available to kids but without transportation how can kids access these programs. It is a problem. So the meeting was a great opportunity to build relationships and begin to work together. I will be interested in seeing where it goes from here.

One last note from Stand for Children. We are having our 5th annual Summit on January 24 at the high school in Reading, MA. It will be inspirational for sure. Our key note speaker is Jonah Edelmen, who is the National director and founder of Stand for Children. I have not heard him speak and he does not often make it out to MA from Seattle. I am really looking forward to hearing him speak. We will also hear from the director of MA 2020 and MA's Secretary of Education . If your interested at all in preserving the quality of education in MA and throughout the US please visit Stand's web site.


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