Saturday, September 29, 2007

Senator Durbin doesn't know from mommybloggers, my kids are not entitled to appropriate public educations and other notes from Political Playdate Sat

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cross posted on Chicago Moms Blog

I hadn't planned to blog about this morning’s grand opening of the boys’ new school (same school as last year, but in a shiny new building) but then I saw that Senator Dick Durbin was on the list of distinguished speakers and I broke out my camera and notepad, bursting into citizen journalist mode.

Moving into action, I nudged my way into proximity, introduced myself and started talking. Perhaps he could help me and my mommyblogger friends meet his colleague senator Obama? Whah? Senator Durbin has never heard of the mommybloggers! I guess he doesn't know that mommybloggers are the new soccer moms. And unlike the soccer moms on the sideline, mommy bloggers speak out...and people listen.

(Score one for John Edwards and his campaign; they know the power of mommybloggers. In fact, as I type this, I’m waiting for a conference call with Elizabeth Edwards to begin. She’s meeting in person with the SVMBloggers while the DC and Chicago moms patch in by phone.)
Senator Durbin discussed the sad reality that many US teachers are not certified to teach the subjects they are assigned. He talked about the fact that our school systems focus lots of attention and resources on children from poor families, slow learners and those with learning challenges. He recognized the fact that the children we send to this private school were left behind in their public schools. And he noted that no government funds were used to build my boys’ school, but that we need math and science academies like the ones my boys attend in order to help all kids develop and reach their potential and prosper. (Hmmm. My son said the same thing in his fundraising appeal.)

Of course what went unsaid was how the government will step up to this challenge of educating all kids to their potential. Then again, this was not a press conference, just a feel-good Saturday morning out with the people.

I introduced myself to another of the dignitaries, who turned out to be a state senator (though not mine). I don’t recall her name, which is a good thing, because when I asked about what was happening with gifted education, she seemed to think that some small level of funding has been approved (or will be) to return mandated gifted education in Illinois.

“Families like ours need help.” I told her. “It’s such a financial drain to send our kids here.”

Her response stopped short of saying that kids like mine, kids on the far edge of the bell curve just won’t be served by public education. Did I hear that right? Did she say that public education is not really for all children? I’ll never know, while I was busy scraping my jaw off the ground, the admissions directly gently escorted the dignitary off for a tour of the building.

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