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Thursday, February 16, 2012

These Are The Times....

This is a late night post. I just returned home at 10:00 pm from a Board of Education meeting.

I identified some quotes I found particularly inspirational in one of the first Blog entries I published in this series. The words I'm sharing this evening were written by a hero of mine, Thomas Paine. Despite being born in England and not arriving in America until he was an adult, Paine soon understood the plight of colonists seeking freedom from England. He became an activist who motivated people to commit to the revolutionary cause through his essays and pamphlets that tugged on emotions and compelled people to enlist in the fight. The most noteworthy of these pieces was, The Crisis, written on December 23, 1776. General George Washington often commended Paine and compared the powerful effect of his words with the power of cannons.  

I have memorized the first paragraph of The Crisis and recite it daily as a personal mantra, I'm going to offer my explanation of Paine's work by applying the meaning to our current challenges in education.

These are the times that try men's souls (educators presently face an ever tightening economy that has negatively impacted schools in many ways). The summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. ( those who are visible and vocal in times of good fortune may avert taking responsibility for addressing the issues spawned by budget cuts and other threats to instructional programs and educational integrity, but those who stand up for their convictions and advocate for the under-served will be appreciated near and wide) Tyranny, like Hell is not easily conquered yet we have as our consolation that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph (As state aid to education continues to decrease and the needs of learners continues to increase, we are confronted by daunting tasks, but one can relish the reward of overcoming adversity and experiencing success in spite of the obstacles) What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. (Teaching and learning is not easy, nor inexpensive; it is not quick, nor fleeting; life-long learning will improve quality of life and bring value to all in the future)

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