Like the Sound of Salvation

Farrah, Kylee and Ian enjoy Mrs. Wendi's Class

Farrah, Kylee and Ian enjoy Mrs. Wendi’s Class

As our lives spin faster and faster out of control, we cannot help feeling that, perhaps, it is simply too much to cope with. And we are not alone in feeling this. In fact, it is shared by countless others.

Were you aware that suicide is the third leading cause of death for our young people age15-24 years. (1st = accidents, 2nd = homicide).

And I must ask, “Why?”  Why is it a cause of death at all?

Kylee loves bringing Lucky to school

Kylee loves bringing Lucky to school

My friends, let us chart the hidden boundary of our lives. What truly exists is mostly hidden in dimensions unexplored. It is uncharted. And the pathways to our awareness lay on virgin soil.

As Rod McKuen has intoned with such insight and compassion, “And Love, Love is full of flaws. Who knows the cause? Living in a memory, of a Love that never was”.

Professor Lacey and Instructor Wendi Williams delight in watching Farrah, age 3, learn Latin

Professor Lacey and Instructor Wendi Williams delight in watching Farrah, age 3, learn Latin

And that, my friends, is what others have privately shared with me. There simply was, for them, no loving memory. Despite appearances, they felt abandoned and truly all alone. There was no one to share their deepest feelings with. No one cared enough to spend even a few moments to listen, just listen. And in listening, do so without judging.

Kylee enjoyed feeding our Turkeys, Chickens & Guineas

Kylee enjoys feeding our Turkeys, Chickens & Guineas

What our children, of all ages, are needing is to discover that someone, perhaps you, simply cares. You may assume that someone cares for everyone. But, by the millions, it not true.

You may be as shocked as I am to learn that suicide is the fifth leading cause of death for our very young children age 5-14 years. I found this to be unbelievable. After all, we are referring to young kids fourteen years of age and under.

Director, George Rodriguez, discusses William Shakespeare (one play will be selected by students to perform in the Spring)

Director, George Rodriguez, discusses William Shakespeare (one play will be selected by students to perform in the Spring)

And this unfathomable tragedy is compounded knowing that destroying yourself is the second leading cause of death among college students.

I cannot tell you how many times students and strangers and friends shared with me a deeply sincere thank you for caring enough to take a few moments and listen, just listen. Sometimes, after listening, I must wait until I get home to wash with my tears .

And I must confess that today I am happy. As Rod would intone, “The reason is you see, once in while along the way, Love was good to me.”

To begin a journey of hope for someone, anyone, you must open up the heart a little, just a little to begin with. After all, it is a fragile pathway. It is lined with memories of the sorrows and the joy, the happy and the pain and the deep longings, some with unforgettable regret.

Ein love feeding the birds (and himself)

Ian loves feeding the wild birds (and himself)

But holding back the tears, after all the years, will never let them wash away loves wounds unseen. There is  a blessing in knowing that those who hurt you are people you never really knew. And, you discover, they never knew themselves.

I am reminded of the simple but powerful lyrics to the song,
“What a Wonderful World” –
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

Yes, we tell others we love them in the simple things we do – with a warm smile, a happy greeting or a sincere expression of concern.

But it is more than love we convey. It is so much more. In that brief moment of joy, with a sparkle in your eyes, in the heartfelt warmth of your words or in a timeless moment of thoughtful concern, we plant a deep seed of hope for someone living in quiet desperation. And everyone is in need of hope.

To stop in mid-stride of a bustling and busy day to say, “You are in my prayers” or “I pray that God abides with you on this Blessed Day” can change the course of mighty river of despair that flows unimpeded through the seemingly hopeless life of someone in need.

You are, my friend, like an island in the sea. The sea is the silence that pervades the lives of desperation all around you. It is the gulf, and many millions have been lost at sea. Yes, the island is your voice in the void, much like one in the wilderness, much like a beacon in the frightening dark of night, like the sound of salvation.

Our Savior did not give His life for you in vain. His Sacrifice gives us the strength to help one another.

The next person you meet is far more fragile than you can ever know. That beautiful person is truly a reflection of all the love and all the joy that resides deep within you.

If you want to come alive, breathe life into someone else, anyone. The hope you give will spring forth by simply looking deeply into the eyes of a friend, a neighbor or a stranger and igniting a desire to more fully live this life, by knowing that someone, somewhere, simply cares – that they are loved, loved by you.

Love profound is eternal. And your love will live beyond your being. It will dwell within every heart you meet and echo throughout eternity with every lonely person you warmly greet.

We are made in His Image. Can you not already hear the voice of God? The one you spoke to in a loving manner can.

William Shakespeare – Friday

Our plan for this FRIDAY is to continue to REVIEW 5 SHAKESPEARE PLAYS and prepare to vote to select one for performance in the Spring. All students will meet at the school on FRIDAY morning at 9:00 a.m. We will spend the entire day getting introduced to William Shakespeare and five of his plays that we have not previously performed on stage.

PICKUP will be at the school at 3:00 p.m.

William Shakespeare was a highly respected man of dramatic arts who authored plays and acted in some of them in the 16th and early 17th centuries. His reputation as a dramatic genius wasn’t fully recognized until the last century.

Beginning in the early 1800s and continuing through the Victorian period, acclaim for William Shakespeare and his work reached its peak. In the last century new interest in performance has been rediscovered.

His plays today are popular and reverently studied and interpreted in performances with diverse cultures. The genius of Shakespeare presents real human beings in a range of emotions and that transcend their origins in England. He is now recognized as the greatest playwright in western civilization.

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616)

IMPORTANT DATES:
Oct. 14 Columbus Day Holiday
Oct. 18 Ripley’s Believe It or Not & Wax Museum
Oct. 25 Fossilmania in Glenrose (Dr. A is NOT for sale!)
Nov. 25-29 Thanksgiving/Fall Break
Dec. 5-6 Texas Assn. for Gifted & Talented Conf. (No school)
Dec. 20 Last Day of Fall Semester
Dec. 23 – Jan. 7 Winter Break Holidays

YOU are invited to be with us and observe, but PLEASE do NOT interfere with our preparations for in-depth study of these five plays or Dr. A munching down of a delicious pizza (he is not supposed to have this, but please do not tell Mrs. A.).

Dr. Anderson may be reached at 682-777-1908 (EMERGENCY & RUMORS, ALIEN ABDUCTION STORIES (one of his favorite subjects), EXAGGERATIONS (he can relate), ETC.)

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Latin, Shakespeare and Modern Art by Townes

“The gifts that one receives for giving
are so immeasurable that it is almost
an injustice to accept them.”
– Rod McKuen

We are off and running and have experienced our best beginning of a school year ever.

Latin classes begin at age 3

Latin classes begin at age 3 for Farah & Kylee as Professor Lacey delights in teaching them. Also pictured are Kylie and her brother Bailey.

DSC03947

Kylie helps to feed our wild feathered types, but it’s a stretch!

DSC04013

Townes recruits almost ever pencil in school, as he constructs what I call the tower of babbling (he never stopped talking about it).

Our youngest scholars, Farah and Kylee, age 3, begin their second week of instruction in Latin with a favorite teacher, Mr. Lacey, who is a Princeton University graduate and Fellow in Literature at The Walsingham Society of Christian Culture and Western Civilization.

Our plan for FRIDAY, September 20, 2013, is to REVIEW 5 SHAKESPEARE PLAYS and prepare our students to vote and select one for performance in the Spring.

This process allows for a truly wonderful learning experience in the in-depth study of five Shakespeare plays. And it empowers our students, as they assist with feasibility assessments with regard to casting a particular play, costuming needs, set requirements, etc. There are many considerations to be made when selecting a work to perform live on stage. And we want our children involved in all aspects of planning and execution of the production. And, by the way, many of our parents enjoy making period costumes for the play.

All students will meet at the school for the presentation of the nominated plays on FRIDAY morning at 9:00 a.m. We will spend the entire day, together with several more days to come, getting introduced to William Shakespeare and five of his plays that we have not previously performed on stage.

In the Spring of 2013, our school produced, under the direction of George X Rodriguez, Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest.” This followed wonderful reviews of his direction of Othello and Henry V.  Other past Anderson School community theater productions have included: Hamlet, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard III.

Several of our Shakespeare performances may be viewed on our website and you can also see interviews from parents and the cast. Click here to view our past performances.

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called the “Bard of Avon”.

His works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and other verses. His plays have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than any other.”
William Shakespeare In Wikipedia, from http://en.wikipedia.org

PICKUP on Friday will be at the school at 3:00 p.m.

IMPORTANT DATES
Oct. 14       Columbus Day Holiday
Oct. 25       Fossilmania in Glenrose
Nov. 25-29 Thanksgiving/Fall Break
Dec. 5-6     Texas Assn. for the Gifted & Talented Conference (No school)
Dec. 20       Last Day of Fall Semester
Dec. 23 – Jan. 7 Winter Break Holidays

Our Need To Connect

Kevin and Samantha had a delightful visit Dr. and Mrs. Anderson this past week. Our congratulations to Kevin who recently graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and Samantha graduated from the University of North Texas.

Kevin Grubbs and Samantha Herek had a delightful visit Dr. and Mrs. Anderson this past week. Our congratulations to Kevin who recently graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and is pursuing graduate studies and Samantha who graduated from the University of North Texas. Our best wishes and prayers are with both of you. The pride we feel in your accomplishments and in the lives you live cannot be measured or adequately expressed. We love you and admire you!

Matthew Lieberman, psychologist, is undertaking research in social neuroscience and discovering something quite fascinating. His research is opening up new insight into a better understanding of our need to communicate with other humans. In fact, our “need to communicate” with others is more important and basic than our need for food or our need for shelter.

This explains, to a significant degree, our escalating addiction to social media and technology. We have evolved into highly social beings who have the need to connect and be nurtured by others.

With this understanding, we can plan for inclusion of new social technologies tempered with the age old wisdom of Socrates, “Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.”

Perhaps blending what is new with wisdom from the past will allow us to maximize our benefits and survive the radical process of such dynamic change.

Kudos are due

[Comment left on previous post for the Anderson Private School]

Being the mother/advocate of a gifted learner, I applaud you Dr. Anderson, for your willingness to concisely state you assessment of the current educational collapse in our country. I know for a FACT, based on experience with my daughter, that the public school was not willing to educate my daughter. You stated it beautifully, they have the talented educators, they just do not allow them the FREEDOM to teach the INDIVIDUALS as they need to be taught. They have spent the time and money to be sure that the children have been labeled deficient in some way go get what they need to be successful. But they have completely ignored the other end of the spectrum that is just as in need of attention and care. Again, i will go back to the distinction of INDIVIDUALS, children are just that, individuals, not buckets of like kinds. So either way, children need to be treated as individuals and taught as such.

I need to give kudos where kudos are due!

I have been actively searching for the correct educational model for my daughter, Iyan, since she was seven. She started school at the tender age of three and had we known how to identify what we were seeing in her behavior in school, we would have been able to identify her giftedness earlier. Unfortunately, she went through many years of frustration and anguish, as I searched for a way to satisfy her zest for learning. The traditional classroom was not a successful environment for her, University model education was not a fit, homeschooling didn’t work (I am not qualified), public school, in the highest level classes, didn’t work (boring)….help!

My child had grown bitter, angry, troubled, mixing with the wrong people, spent more time in the AP office than in class(he liked her…she was a great conversationalist), none the less she was being referred to the alternative school. I started searching again… The Lord led me to Anderson… I took a leap of faith and moved my family from Houston to Fort Worth for hope to save my daughter from a fate worse than death, having to stay in the public school.

In three short weeks, my daughter has started to smile and laugh again. She is not angry anymore (except when the boys really annoy her… that is normal), she gets in the car everyday and comments that she had a good day and actually talks about what she did that day, with details. Wow! A far cry from the previous, boring I hate school. She gladly irons her pleated navy skirt and wears hose with her navy blue pumps with a little heal, amazing. Before she wore only black, black and black.

My daughter of 12 actually looks like a young lady again. Dr and Mrs. Anderson thank you for responding to the call that the Lord put on your hearts to minister to gifted children. I know that you are blessed to do what you do and I am blessed as a parent to support you in being the educators of children, mine included. The world is a better place because of your daily efforts with the children you teach and the lives you impact. God bless you and your family.

Elizabeth Holloway-Wren
Mother if Iyan Wren, Student of Anderson Private School

www.andersonschool.net

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults

SENG ANNOUNCEMENT: Please share this important online opportunity with parents of gifted children, as well as with educators and health professionals.

Thursday November 20
8:30PM Eastern Time (5:30PM Pacific)

Common Misdiagnoses and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: What Parents, Educators and Psychologists Need to Know

90 Minute Webinar Presentation – Presented by James T. Webb, PhD

SENG Webinar Event

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults

Details:

Date:November 20, 2008

Time:8:30 Eastern Time
(5:30 Pacific Time)

Location: Participate at home or office using your computer.

Because they lack training, mental health professionals are misdiagnosing gifted and talented children and adults as having mental disorders. The characteristics of gifted/talented children and adults – particularly if not understood at school, home, or work – often are mistaken for significant behavioral or emotional problems that can be misdiagnosed as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Conduct Disorder, or Bi-Polar Disorder… Parents and educators, therefore, must become more informed about these issues.

However, for other children and adults, their giftedness is related, but often overlooked, for diagnoses that are accurate such as Existential Depression, Bi-Polar, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Sleep Disorders or Multiple Personality Disorder. That is, these children and adults do indeed have dual diagnoses – giftedness and some disorder. It is important that the aspects related to giftedness not be overlooked or misunderstood by professionals.

This session provides information to help parents, educators, and health care professionals understand how they can differentiate gifted behaviors from behavioral pathology. Dr. Webb will describe commonalities and contrasts between the characteristics of gifted children and adults and the behaviors described in the DSM-IV that are used by mental health professionals to make differential diagnoses. In addition, Dr. Webb will discuss dual diagnoses and how treatment approaches with gifted children and adults often need to be modified. Sign Up Today!

Dr. James T. Webb founded SENG in 1981, and is the lead author of award winning books including Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults, Guiding the Gifted Child, A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, Grandparent’s Guide to Gifted Children, and Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model. He was previously President of the American Association for Gifted Children, on the board of directors for the National Association for Gifted Children, President of the Ohio Psychological Association, and a member of the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Webb was recognized as one of the 25 most influential psychologists in a national survey published in Gifted Child Today. www.giftedbooks.com

For more information, contact office@sengifted.org, phone 845-797-5054.

This Webinar is provided by SENG, www.SENGifted.org.

Special thanks to Applied Gifted Ed and Todd McIntyre, for providing technical guidance for this event.

SENG is committed to sharing complex issues relating to the social and emotional needs of giftedness. Webinars reflect the opinions of their speakers and do not necessarily represent the philosophy of SENG. SENG invites your comments and discussion about this webinar following the session.

www.andersonschool.net

Barbara Saunders

[commenting on previous post https://asgtc.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/the-crisis-today/]

I love this post. My mother, a teacher and the daughter of a teacher who attended segregated public schools in the 1930s and 1940s, chose the private school to which she sent my sisters and I because, she said, “I could not stand the rigid desks and rows in the public schools. When I saw kids sprawled out in the halls, talking and laughing, that was the place I want you kids to go!”

I have a hard time believing that “reformers” don’t notice that the schools for the intellectual and socioeconomic elite are more – not less – free, relaxed and playful.

www.andersonschool.net

The Crisis Today!

In frequent discortations with other private school educators, I found a highly consubstantial love of what we call a relaxed and informal atmosphere, combined with a real commitment to academic freedom. If you are old enough, you may actually recall having teachers who were trusted enough to make decisions and conduct the business of counseling, motivating and teaching children. Oh, these were the good old days! These were the generations of educators that enabled the children of this nation to make the United States the envy of other nations. These teachers empowered us to become the only remaining superpower on earth, to acquire more than half the wealth of the world, while comprising only six percent of its population and to realize that not locating a Starbucks could be a significant life-altering dilemma. How does the saying go, “Only in America”!

We shared an abhorrence of those things that distract children from academic and thoughtful pursuit. Their love of reading meshes beautifully with our first love. We forbid homework and ask our students instead, to spend this precious time establishing a life-time habit and love of reading – with a requirement that each child read or be read to, for at least one hour each evening.

As with the Finns, we believe that overly strict rules do not translate into dedicated scholars. We harbor only three rules: to be kind, to be kind and to be kind. And when you think about it, that covers just about everything.

At the Anderson School visitors are sometimes mildly shocked to find such things as: barefoot boys (and girls) fluttering down the hall (they really do feel more relaxed and at home this way), or a child asleep in bed during the school day (why fight Mother Nature – if you are tired, rest! After a nap, children are energized and ready again to learn and play) and a mild, low-grade level of chaos.

This is normal behavior for the young and can become highly productive. It provides opportunity for the interplay of ideas and hopes and dreams as kids banter back and forth. And there are intangibles that result: the modeling of creative flux, improved self-esteem and self-confidence and the intrinsic motivation generated by the children themselves. Since our bright students are busy teaching and working with each other, the tendency is toward non-stop communication, as they group themselves according to interests, not age. Typically, you find a very young scholar teaching older types and excited to share knowledge.

At our school students keep the same teachers for many years. We actually get to know them and we treat each other like family. Why not? Are we not really related in many ways? We promote self-reliance and autonomous learning, minimize competition, assail perfectionism, promote informality and a relaxed home-like atmosphere, remove the harmful and potentially devastating emphasis upon grades (no grades or report cards are provided – scholars are expected to perform at a mastery level of 90% without time constraints) and, importantly, we eliminate homework. As educators we have had plenty of time during the day to get the job done.

And parents are essentially not qualified to teach at home and do not have the time or patience. They worked hard all day and the boss did not assign them homework. Parents would not tolerate this. They would find another employer. But your children cannot simply find another teacher. They are riveted to a desk, with little hope of finding the time they need to do the real work of kids – they need to play.

We also provide the freedom to do such things as: progress at your own pace, allow children to prepare their own meals and dine whenever they like (some “graze” throughout the day) and play whenever they complete morning or afternoon assignments (a few will work all weekend so they may play at school). This is real academic freedom and allows for the independent use of personal judgment. We want our children to practice making many, many decisions while they are young and under our guidance.

After all, they will be making every decision regarding their own lives, and our own lives, and in a few years. So be very kind to your children, for in the end, they will be all you have left.

And don’t be shocked if your children can’t survive on their own in the near future, if you did every thing for them and made their every decision. They may become so dependent that they NEVER leave home. It happens.

Some schools are largely successful because they truly realize that, “Less is more”. To be less demanding equates to more time at home with mom and more time to play and this always leads to a more psychologically healthy person – someone who really WANTS to go to school the next day (and perhaps more importantly, knows how to play).

Our children are more relaxed, energized and ready to study, rather than being burned out, bored, fatigued and more deeply depressed than they will ever say – which can result in their becoming anxious, obnoxious, angry, rebellious and unwilling to continue what has evolved into drudgery and a loathing of going to school.

And when you think about it, wouldn’t you rebel if you were stressed out, overly assessed, classified, compared, bored, structured, selected and sorted ad nausium. Why, revolutions have occurred for less – revolutions of the mind and of the family. We see many children today who are dropping out mentally, socially, emotionally, physically and in other ways that more frequently become destructive.

I have been asked why the educational systems are imploding? What’s broken and what can we, as parents and educators, do to fix it?

Essentially, our educational systems are imploding because:

1. Our schools are now devoid of essential academic freedom,
2. They are saddled with the ineffective and truly oppressive No Child Left Behind Act and its sinfully negative byproducts and
3. Schools lack the fiery furnace of competition in the free market place.

The solutions are simple but, in our present static state of mind, probably unavailable. However, if ever we do decide to act we know what to do:

We need to provide each student, through their parents, the funds to purchase their schooling wherever they choose to go. The natural and highly beneficial effect of competition for this money would produce results similar to every other commodity in the marketplace. Beautifully crafted, thoughtful and productive products in the form of innovative and dynamic curriculums and remarkable institutions of learning would be engineered by our gifted educators in competition with each other. But importantly, regardless of the outcome, they would serve to please our parents and children.

But we have become imprisoned to the precept that government can extrinsically motivate schools and teachers, utilizing the negative bias of assessment and with such harsh and punitive prerogatives as the loss of employment for teachers and administrators, virtually worthless and shameful labels, accusations, inevitably harmful performance evaluations and even the unthinkable closure of entire schools. Such closures are so severe that one can imagine less damage being inflicted to a school community even in time of war.

This punitive, fear based system shall never produce overall sustainable positive results, especially for those children most in need. This system is far beyond broken. It poses a very real-time danger to our society. This obviatedly biased bent toward negative reinforcement is a conceptualization rejected many years ago in the study of child behavior.

Our boat is now sinking by the bow and no longer in sight of the shore. We seemingly cannot even identify the real problems with our schools. But we act like we do really know who or what is to blame. So we keep felling the trees around us in order to glimpse a sliver of the light of understanding from above and do not even know there is a fragile and endangered forest all around us.

For our underpaid, overworked and unappreciated educators should never have been marked and targeted. They are not to blame! And our children should never have been used as pawns in this unintelligible game.

We now find it virtually impossible to patch our ship of state, in light of the large, gaping holes created by fear, a focus upon self-serving and selfish interests and an inability to locate words such as equitable, fair or open-minded in any dictionary to be found in our capitals of government in Austin or Washington.

What can parents do to help children attain success and be the best they can be?

Well, if your child is truly suffering (and can you believe you are paying for this abuse with your taxes or tuition?) I recommend removing them from any oppressive and harmful environment immediately (that means today!).

Then, you may want to take them for refreshments to a fun place (they may actually remember having fun). There you can apologize for not sheltering them from the storm, for not protecting them or truly being their advocate and being there for them when you were needed. It helps to let a child know you are human and make mistakes.

It will also help if you let them know that you will now and forever more be there for them and not allow anyone else or any other school to make them so unhappy and miserable again. After you wipe the tears from their eyes, take a moment to wipe away yours. And remember, if your child forgives you, it is in the past. It is over. Now you can go forward and forgive all those who transgressed against your beloved children. Just don’t vote for them again. Have mercy on the next generation.

Now, plan the future. Let your child help you. Explore the many other avenues available (and there are many). Remind yourself how thankful we all are that Thomas Edison’s mother removed him from such a school at a very early age. Now that’s what I call – seeing the light! With over 1100 patents to his name, we can all be thankful that she removed him from school, which now enables us to watch a great movie tonight, with sound and the ability to record it. A compassionate decision for one deeply loved child, has led us all out of the dark and into the light. Thank you Mrs. Edison! So just follow her example and start by stopping the pain.

Next, you will need to examine what happened to our schools and to your child. And that is a complex journey fraught with unbelievable intrusions into the coliseums and colloquiums of academia.

Special interests, and not so special lawmakers, intruded into the sacred spaces of our children’s classrooms, their home away from home, assuming they knew more than highly trained and devoutly dedicated educators about what your children needed. When in fact, teachers were well qualified and simply needed to be left alone.

Lawmakers could have helped the wonderful, beautiful, caring and ever-giving teachers by paying them a decent wage and providing more money for materials (many, many teachers have spent their own meager funds on your children and without you ever aware of it). But we, as individuals, elected people who obviously did not know how to educate children, and much more importantly, how fragile they are or how to care for them. Their pride went before our fall.

Simplicity

I fondly remember many years ago my good friend, who was a State Representative, Homer Dear, a wonderful and loving retired school teacher and administrator, calling to ask what should be done, in my opinion, legislatively.

My immediate response was mandate relief. The volumes of dictates from our zealous state agency and the legislature were so voluminous that no one on this planet even knew everything that was required of a school. He then sponsored a bill to provide such relief. Naturally, it was defeated. No one is going to tell the legislature that much of what they did is actually too much and leading toward a dastardly day of self-destruction (this is the impending implosion). But in essence Homer knew what needed to be done. And now you know.

Freedom

Simply stated: remove nearly all of the governmental laws, mandates (typically unfunded-thank you), guidelines and regulations relative to education, substantially realign and reduce the size, scope and budget of the state regulatory agency (eliminating well over a billion dollars that funds this unbelievable megalopoliptic and essentially counter-productive enterprise) and get every one, and I mean every one out of the teacher’s way and out of the teacher’s classroom. On your way out, buy her (or him) a cup of well-earned coffee.

This can significantly contribute to the academic freedom that Dr. Reed Dawson, a beloved Baylor professor of mine, warned in 1973, was perilously close to death. He was right. The infamous and highly destructive Texas Assessment of Basic Skills test, and its destructive off-springs (T.E.A.M.S., T.A.K.S., etc.) was about to be unleashed upon our unsuspecting and naive populace.

Academic freedom, as with all the productive and beneficial benefits that any freedom provides, was about to be targeted and totally destroyed. And it began with this blunt instrument of institutional sin in 1980. Simply stated, this oppressive test now needs to be abolished and accompanied by an apology to all of its victims, and there are many.

Now, after you give back freedom to teachers to teach, come back in one year and you and child will be well on the road to being happy. Trust me, teachers knew what to do all along. How many years did our educators spend in a college or university preparing to take an oath of poverty, so he or she could have the honor of teaching your child?

Yes, the teacher can do the job. Just get everyone out of her (or his) way. Remember, in the successful schools, such as Finland, less is more. And it always has been. Isn’t that even in the Bible? Simplicity must replace the absolute mess that we have today! By the way, Finnish schools, the highest achieving in the entire world, value exactly this – simplicity.

Finance

Finland sets the example for us again, in providing roughly EQUAL per-pupil funding. The gap between the best and worst performing schools in Finland was the smallest tested.

So what happened to our free enterprise system and the competitive market place? You know, the one we preach about from on high in every school in America. The system that created such wealth for us, that we have reached record levels of obesity, consumption and waste. Why is the competitive marketplace of our free enterprise system provided an exemption in the marketplace of knowledge? Do we not yet realize that competition is the primary catalyst for excellence in our economic society, that it is the engine that drives us to unsurpassed prosperity?

Or are we not willing to vote for people of courage and conscience or recruit those rare individuals to run for public office who are willing to sacrifice an innate defensiveness and desire for self-serving interests for the sake of what is most precious in our lives – our children.

To date we have not mustered enough courage or votes to really change anything. And my fear is that we may never do so! This boat full of unwilling and highly dependent people who will soon need to have everyone bailing the waters of indifference, and neglect. The perilous sea has already reached the water line and mighty Casey has struck out. Stay tuned, the game will resume overseas. What’s that gurgling sound?

Can you even imagine educators from other countries observing that our system of public education strives to, “leave no child behind” while we post a drop out rate for Fort Worth I. S. D. of 46 percent, 25 percent nationwide and almost 80 percent along the border? Let’s compare that to 4 [that’s FOUR] percent for Finland.

Ladies and gentlemen, we left half of our children at the starting gate. And we did not just leave them behind, we abandoned them with no hope that they will ever truly flourish and prosper (but, on the bright side, we meagerly raised the minimum wage with them in mind, didn’t we?).

Ultimately, these lost children will never even be able to sustain themselves, much less impact this system that has been so neglectful to so many. And the system we created and perpetuate to this day will, one day soon, not be able to support them or their children. The weight of so much water will cause this listing ship to topple over. (Have you ever tried to live on the minimum wage?)

We left many of our children with little hope that they will ever truly thrive in our highly competitive economy. Our focus upon minimum skills for all has evolved into a minimum wage for many.

Our mediocrity has become merit to us, the mediocre. And our children did not deserve this! They are the victims of our now tired, cowardly, self-centered neglect.

It is a sad commentary that our fear to change what needs to be changed
is now the driving force behind the fall of twenty-first century Rome.

Dr. William C. Anderson, Co-Director
The Anderson Private School for the Gifted, Talented and Creative
817-448-8484
andersonschool.net