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Home » News & Analysis » Commentary » I should be curled up in the Fetal position…

I should be curled up in the Fetal position…

May 9, 2013

I should be curled up in the Fetal position…

Diane Ravitch’s blog is full of comments about me and my family… apparently in an attempt to discredit my integrity. Weird. Apparently, I do not understand the constitution or the concept of federalism and need a civics lesson, too. Ugh. My head is moving quickly toward my feet…

Also, I’m married to a man who teaches at a parochial school (Oh my Lord, save me from the fires of hell!) and my own kids went to said school. It must have needed to be said – the suggestion being that I’m married to a radical and none of us like public education. Push me farther into the abyss of fetal centrism. I never realized how bad I was.

But I’m not curled up, at all. In fact, I’m amused. That Diane Ravitch hosts such people on her blog is a mystery, which I will explore in more detail in my book. In fact, I devote almost a whole chapter to Diane and our numerous communications during the 90s that I’ve cherished.

The blog comments noted above are allegedly related to my statement about the Louisiana Supreme Court decision, and my belief that it can and should be appealed to the US Supreme Court. 10th amendment not withstanding, I have good cause to suggest this, and plan to write a bit about it in the near future (though like any good competitive “team” I wont’ be sharing all my secrets – that would be akin to giving the other guys the playbook!). But before I can spend time doing that, I did find it flattering that so many people want to presuppose so much about my personal life that might explain why I who they apparently like to talk about might actually support a child’s civil right to a great education.

I guess at the heart of these comments is that people think something about me personally is interesting… or worth detesting… so they comment. If you want to know something about me, I suppose you should actually ask rather than pre-suppose, however. And about that husband of mine, and those parochially educated kids… let me just brag for a moment:

That husband of mine, Dr. Kevin Strother, is a recognized musician and music-education teacher who grew up attending the public schools of Edenton, NC, where his parents, both public school teachers, were and remain proud members of the North Carolina Education Association. It gets better. Shelby, his mom, is on the board of East Carolina State U, one of the best teacher ed prep schools in the south. Uncle Ken was the superintendent of a nearby town and other members of the Strother clan were school board presidents. Even in their retirement, they care deeply about public education, and bemoan the lagging conditions that leave kids unprepared. We debate what the causes are, but they never question my dedication to solving it.

Back to that husband of mine, he put himself through college, his masters and his PhD – in music AND education – and took a job at a school that allowed him to create the music program from scratch. He actually teaches not in a parochial school but an independent, catholic boys school, where my kids went for some years. I married the music teacher, in fact, and he married me, a widow, with four kids. Thank God for that private school, which supported and nurtured and cared for my boys during a difficult time the way few public schools could have at the time!

My boys actually learned about the Federalist papers in 10th grade, without an AP class. They learned Latin, English literature, about nature, biology, the Greeks, the Romans, the Europeans and yes, Native Americans. They learned about civil rights, the Constitution and the purpose of American government. They all went to college dramatically more knowledgeable about such subjects than most kids in even better public schools. I know. Their professors told me – constantly – and I’ve seen the data. So yes, my choice was a good one – and while anyone who has read my various tomes know I hardly think them perfect, they are also gentlemen – generous, kind and open-minded, having been schooled classically liberal.

My daughter had a similar experience. Throughout their childhood, my kids have toured public schools with me, charter schools, watched and participated in rallies, conferences and read the news – all the time. So when I share this with them, and the Ravitch blog comments, I know they will say what they always say, unprompted…

Mom, “who are these people?? And why do they care where we went to school?”

Patience, my children. Patience.

by Jeanne Allen


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