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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

2010 will not live on in my memory as a particularly good year. We struggled to get out of the recession, and voters rewarded the party whose economic policies brought on the recession.

Education "reform" took on the theme, "We need to fire bad teachers." But no one said much about the fact that poverty is the number one indicator of a child's success or failure in school. High stakes testing became more and more important, and our students have been tested nearly to death.

Still there were some rays of hope here and there. "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" is dead, for good. We signed a new treaty with Russia that will reduce our nuclear stockpile. With the Cold War hopefully behind us, my prayer is that we will realize the strategic irrelevancy of our nuclear stockpiles as well as the danger they pose for us should they get into the hands of terrorists and/or rogue nations. People seem at last to be paying attention to the warning signs that the planet is sending us, also.

I am also optimistic when I look at the generation following us. They seem, as a whole, to be more tolerant, more socially involved, more committed to developing sustainable lifestyles than we have been. We talked the talk during the 60s but failed to walk the walk during the subsequent decades, particularly the 80s. I hope their present enthusiasm for a more just and sustainable world remains with them as they come to make their life choices.

I have some resolutions for the coming year:
1. To become the teacher I know I am capable of being.
2. To finish my National Board for Teacher Certification work successfully.
3. To continue working for a just and sustainable year.
4. To learn a new language, probably Spanish.
5. To live more healthy, get more exercise, and develop better dietary habits.
I hope you have the best New Year.

I wish you wealth.
I wish you health,
And happiness galore.
I wish you heaven when you die.
How can I wish you more?
May your joys be as deep as the ocean.
Your troubles as light as its foam.
And may you find sweet peace of mind
Wherever you may roam.
--Irish Blessing

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