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"Don't mess with my children!"

     Questions asked by angry parents in the nation's capital may be triggering bottom up school reform despite efforts by some politicians and bureaucrats to block it.
next civil right
     Citing hypocrisy and a double standard common with office holders, and the thousands of bureaucrats serving in government departments, DC parents are asking:
"How come politicians and government workers who come here send their children to private schools instead of to the schools our children have to attend?"
-- "Why do the politicians and government workers who choose private s
chools for their children block efforts to give us the same right to choose what's best for our children?"

     It turns out that what's best for DC parents' children is best for taxpayers, also. "Why," they ask, "should taxpayers be paying $18,000 for each child of parents who have no choice but to send their children to failing DC Public Schools while government workers, from the president down to the lowest level department staffers, send their children to better elementary schools for $8000 or high schools for $12,000?"

Scholarship      "Don't mess with my children" could be the impromptu motto of DC parents and of forces citing school choice as a fundamental Civil Right for parents in campaigns from California and Texas to New York and Massachusetts. In DC, the Opportunity Scholarship Program is offering vouchers for children of low income families to attend private schools.

     In 2009 the program faced a phase out with the 2009 budget proposal cutting all funding for the program and including language to prohibit any new students from receiving scholarships. In 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act to restore funding for the program and again allow new students to participate. The entirety of the SOAR Act was included in the 2011 long-term continuing resolution, the passage of which resulted in a five-year reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

     More information on the Opportunity Scholarship program is available at http://www.dcscholarships.org.

In pursuit of racial justice and peace...

     “Social evils have trapped multitudes of men in a dark and murky corridor where there is a no exit sign and have plunged others into a dark abyss of psychological fatalism. There is so much frustration in the world because we have  genuflectedMLK before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate. We have worshiped the god of pleasure only to discover that thrills play out and sensations are short-lived. We have bowed before the god of money only to learn that there are such things as love and friendship that money cannot buy and that in a world of possible depressions, stock market crashes, and bad business investments, money is a rather uncertain deity. These transitory gods are not able to save us or bring happiness to the human heart.

     “When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a great benign Power in the universe whose name is God, and he is able to make a way out of no way, and to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. This is our hope for becoming better. This is our mandate for seeking to make a better world. Hatred and bitterness paralyze life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.” -- Martin Luther King

The publisher
. . .

     If it were in my power, I would put a copy of Just Shades of Brown (ISBN: 9780910941358) into the hands of every child in every school in America, not just to facilitate greater understanding and friendship among childrenhttp://jgcunited.com of different racial and ethnic and other socioeconomic backgrounds, but to encourage dialog among parents and other adults with whom children share the book on the home front. -- John Gile

The author . . .

     “I saw the need for a book to help people come together. Other literature celebrates our ethnic and cultural differences, but I believe we also need to celebrate what we have in common. I want children and adults to realize that we are more alike than different and that they could be missing out on wonderful friendships. In other words, don't judge a book by its cover." -- Lana Duncan Hartgraves
Gift books

A plea to teachers: "Help your students be human."

     "I am a survivor of a concentration camp", a woman wrote to author-educator Haim Ginott. "My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I'm suspicious of education. My request is: help your students be human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns."

     That holocaust victim's letter echoes pleas I hear from dedicated teachers: "Leave us alone and let us teach." We need standards, yes, but not teacher scripting. We need science, technology, engineering, and math, yes, but we need the foundational skills first -- proficient reading, competent writing, perceptive listening, clear thinking, and effective speaking. Above all we need the humanities which foster wisdom and influence what kind of people we will become, what kind of culture we will create, and whether we will be masters of technology or victims of it. I wish every teacher well in his or her important work. -- John Gile, http://johngile.com

Sponsored by JGC/United Publishing -- www.jgcunited.com

     "Are we praying for peace? Or are we praying for an end to fighting? Peace does not mean performing a frontal lobotomy on the human race. That is not peace -- that's silence. True peace can be noisy and confusing. That's because true peace is not the absence of turmoil and disagreements. Peace is the absence of injustice and bitterness and hate.

     "Prayers for peace may be answered in a strong resolve to oppose evil. And that can involve us in struggle and persecution. The world can take away our comfort. But it is powerless to make us stop loving, to drive out the presence of God, to destroy the peace only God can give. The greatest threat to peace may not be the arms in the world, but the absence of God in our hearts." (Keeping First Things First, ISBN: 9780910941020, p. 78)

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