Day 38 Monday, May 24, 2010 Word Game


Today is Monday, May 24, 2010 and Day 38 of my time left at the Mont. We just were told that our conversation with Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, was over, some fifteen minutes ago. We were given about 30 minutes. No, that is not true.


In the 30 minutes (which had been reduced from an hour), approximately half our number had a brief opportunity to speak. But we were operating with different definitions, playing a word game, as it were. Unfortunately, we came with statements and solutions. They wanted us to come with questions. The presupposes that they had answers to deliver.  To me, it felt like so many faculty meetings when I want to bring up questions like, “What about the audit? When are we going to hear about where the money went?”


I was asked to record my impressions. There are many colorful words I would use from a variety of languages. I’ll try to keep it clean—which will like as not make me explode all over Das Bean (Coffee Bean, Claremont, for the rest of ye).


Lousy sound quality, as we strained to hear. I’m trying not to steal any metaphors (tempting, eh?), and please let me know if I did, but it sure didn’t feel like anyone was listening. Didn’t seem like there were any real teachers in the room, except us. Nah, folks who may have sat in classrooms and observed what’s wrong with us, but never in their lives ever had to deliver a series of scaffolding lessons to 42 (my typical number, not just the answer in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) sophomore, half of whom might be 9Rs. So I’m less forgiving than some. We spoke. Seemed like they spoke more. “Everybody’s talkin’ at me, can’t hear a word they’re sayin’…”


But here’s what we did accomplish:


Marsha Ratzel, and Heather Wolpert-Gawron, addressed the issue of “College and Career Readiness.”


Mary Tedrow,

Who also spoke for Renee Moore,

spoke to the topic of “Great Teachers and Leaders.”


Sandee Palmquist and Elena Aguilar, spoke of “Diverse Learners.”


Which is as far as we got. Anthony Cody, and I were to address “Safe and SuccessfulSchools,” but were informed the conversation was over as I was about to speak.


Bob Williams, Rian Fike,,

Nancy Flanagan, were to speak about “A Complete Education and Fostering Innovation.”


I have included their blogsites because we intend for our message to get out. Please check them. These folks are good. I am proud that they want me in their company, proud to have represented the over 2000 teachers on “Teachers’ Letters to Obama” on Facebook, and even though I now have something else that eats into my time, I’m glad Anthony Cody suckered me into this. I think this is what I want to do. Before, I was limited to annoying administrators at just one school. Now, through the use of technology, I can irritate people I’ve never even met. Some people make lemonade out of lemons. I throw the lemons.


Even if we are invited back for another round of sitting on our thumbs or, to pull out my venerable “Star Trek”, “Captain, you remind me of the man who demanded of the philosopher to be taught all of the world’s wisdom while standing on one foot.” “Dagger of the Mind,” if I’m not mistaken.


It ain’t over until we say it is.


We ain’t said yet.


May 24, 2010: “Talking Into A Tin Can On A String 3000 Miles Long: Our Talk With Duncan”—Anthony Cody at Teacher Monthly

It was also reposted by Susan Ohanian at:


This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.

Leave a Reply.


    Chuck Olynyk is a Social Studies teacher who saw the effects of reconstitution upon John C. Fremont High in Los Angeles. These are reposting of his original blogs from the Save Fremont website.


    August 2010



    RSS Feed