On April 28th, 2005, the leaves were greening, the house was flooded with evening sunshine and an airplane had delivered a loved one safely home. Also, the children did not have headlice.
On April 28th, 2006, the sun has been shining all day in an electric-blue sky, and Anders has been gone for a week to Italy, which meant I had to take the kids with me to choir 2 nights ago. The leaves are totally busting a move and Anders will be home tonight. Also, the children, despite the apparently annual note sent home asking parents to check carefully, do not have headlice again this year. For which I am more than thankful.
The school which my kids attend is going through some major upheavals. The principal was recently dismissed from his job due to being arrested for a crime about which we have not been given any details and the school has a temporary and part-time substitute at the moment. He is also the 5th principal the school has had in 7 years. The school is 20 years old and so are the equipment, furnishings, and materials. Even though there was apparently quite a lot of money left in the budget last year, the school personnel was not informed of the fact and were told that resources and funds were not available; neither is the money going to be given back to the school this year since the policy is apparently "you didn't use it, therefore you don't need it." The school secretary, who worked only 4 days a week last year, has been pulled down to 1 day a week, which means that the teachers end up having to shoulder the burden of the administrative tasks around the school, including helping visitors. This means they have to leave the classroom for what can be lengthy periods of time, leaving the children unsupervised. The school nurse is at the school 1 day every OTHER week, down from 1 day a week last year, which was already down from every day. There are more students (166) than ever and more expected each year as our little village is growing rapidly.
The teachers have written a letter to the county authorities detailing their concerns very specifically about these issues and in response have received denials, avoidances and outright lies about the state of affairs. The parent's group is attempting to rally the rest of the parents to try to do something about it all, but one problem is that that the county politicians have no incentive to put a lot of effort into a small village on the outskirts of the county, especially in an election year when many of them will be moving or leaving their positions.
I plan on calling one of the mothers who is on the parent's committee tomorrow to ask her what I can do to help (with my fingers crossed that a big time commitment won't be necessary since time? is not one of the handy overflow items in my basket right now)...but I'm concerned that my Swedish, while "fluent," may not be up to the level required for getting involved with the educational and political system. I'm also concerned about the fact that I don't KNOW the systems. As an outsider, I have absolutely no idea how they work or how they SHOULD work, and am very wary of assumptions and mis-steps on my part. But what else can I do? I'm beginning to think we may not be doing our children any favors if we keep them in this school despite the other very tangible advantages we gain by living here.
I don't want to be a parent crusader either. I just want the system to work right and I want my children to have a good education. They are only in kindergarten and 2nd grade right now, and they are both obviously learning and thriving, but what about a couple of years from now if things continue the way they seem to be headed? I know that I have a lot of teacher (and former teacher) friends who read this journal. Any advice or input from you and the parents out there (and child-free people with good ideas) would be welcome.
Totally Cool 13-Minute Movie involving Rolling Balls: Pita-gora-swi-tti! (thanks to vember for the link!)