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October 23, 2008

V.O.T.E. Um, What Does It Spell?

8_2 This is new for us, but we’re having some problems at school. My second-grader is a kid born with a deep-seated love for rules and an innate desire to please. She has always taken pride in her work. Until now. Now homework is a drag, classwork is a chore and the boys around her, once “distracting and annoying,” are suddenly, “a little distracting, but really funny.”  Sure, no parent wants to believe the problem lies with her own brilliant child; but in this case I think it’s true. Class sizes are unacceptably large and totally unwieldy. My daughter shares space with 27 squirmingly energetic 7 year-olds in a room the size of a refrigerator box. According to her, there is plenty to laugh at. It makes me want to cry. 

I am concerned. Concerned enough that I will attend my first PTA meeting this evening, and trust me when I say that I’d rather walk into a den of bears waving an angry shark than go to the PTA.

But this is important, and it’s not just my kids at stake.

I’m kept awake nights by the image of a dismal future in which my girls are uneducated and pregnant and without options even to cross a bridge into the next town to get help because doggone it all the bridges have collapsed and America is plum out of them engineering folks that used to work on stuff like making sure our infrastructure didn’t crumble. In my nightmares it isn’t London Bridge that’s falling down, it’s the George Washington Bridge that’s fallen. And the Mississippi River Bridge. And the New Orleans levees.

Bob Herbert wrote in last Sunday’s New York Times of our fool-hearty commitment to nationally blow-off math class. We are leaving them all behind, even the kids with the potential to one day think big thoughts about economics and architecture and science and medicine and clean fuel and well, you get my point. We’ve become so smitten with the idea of ‘common folks,’ that we are paying the price with our children’s future. When was it decided that elite is shameful and educated is bad?  Who made the call that gosh darnit we don’t want a president who brings new ideas to the table; just one that’s good at bouncing quarters and drinking beer at that table. 

Eight years ago these folksy folks adopted a rallying cry that I just don’t get: “we don’t want a know-it-all for president.”  What? Of course we do. We may not want a know-it-all as a little brother. Maybe not as a husband or as the mother of your kid’s best friend. But hell yeah our president should know it all. Our president should be smarter than us. A whole lot smarter than us.

And one more thing; our children should be smarter than us too. Come on guys, all the other countries are doing it. All the other countries are focusing on their future by educating the heck out of their children. So what do you say? Let’s shake it up a bit and vote for the smart guys. Let’s change the rules and put education first.  Enough with class clowns getting all of the attention, it's time for a know-it-all in office.  Which is why my vote goes to the smart guy. The one who thinks our kids deserve to be smart too.

This is an original post to Rocky Mountain Moms Blog. Daphne is trying to save the world, one canvas bag at a time. She chronicles the challenges of marching her family down the green path at her site, A Greener Biener. She is also a contributing writer for The Mama Bird Diaries.

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