Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher

From Education Week Teacher Update

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher.

What are your thoughts?

Remembering Dr. King, Dad, and life lessons from both.


He sat at the edge of the sofa, glazed eyes fixed on the TV screen, tears streaming down his face. My brother and I watched silently with our father as the body of Martin Luther King was pulled by two mules on a mule cart. Thousands of people marched in tandem. My father wept, not ashamed to cry in front of us. “Why did they kill him?” we asked.

“Come close,” Dad said. “Never judge anyone by the color of their skin. There are good and bad people in every group,” he said. “Look to the person, and not the group they belong to. Consider everyone as an individual – an equal – remember that.”

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This would be one of the many life lessons I learned from my Italian father. Like King, Dad sought fairness for all in a time when it was not a popular thing to do. Similar to Dr. King’s life cut short at the hand of an assassin, Dad’s life was cut short in a car accident. I would only realize the meaningful extent of both of their legacy’s through their deaths.

Today, I can see my father on the sofa and the images of King’s funeral procession as if it was yesterday. I take comfort knowing the lessons I learned from both that year are handed down to each new group of students that enter my classroom.

The significance of today – the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the historical second inauguration of President Obama will be meaningful to some though not all. We have come a long way but the road is long and we still have a way to go.

For the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech illustrated…


“I can’t be president.”

1993 kindergarten classI admit that over the years I have become increasingly enamored of politics and the guiding and misguiding effect it has on us all.  It is no secret then that I woke early today to turn on the news so I wouldn’t miss anything.  Watching a reminiscent clip of past inaugurations – my first kindergarten classroom and one particular student came to mind.  The year was 1993 and I was thrilled to accept a cardboard replica of President Clinton for my classroom.  Of course, I had to take a picture of my students with the president’s replica and share some of the presidential stories I heard.  My favorite story to share with my students that day was the fact that several of President Clinton’s kindergarten friends were serving on his White House staff.

“Look around at your friends,” I enthusiastically said.  “One of you could be president one day and call on some of your kindergarten friends to work with you!”

“I can’t be president,” said Kendrick.

“Why would you say that?”  I naively asked.

He shrugged his shoulders, looked up at me and said, “Black people can’t be president.”

My heart sank and with it the idealistic joy I had for teaching was shadowed by the stark social reality of the time.  I hugged him and said, “You can be anything you want to be if you work hard for it.”

I have thought of Kendrick often over the years, but never as much as I did on the day watching President Obama’s first inauguration with a new generation of students.  I am thinking of Kendrick today – wondering if he remembers that day in 1993 and remaining hopeful that he finds as much joy in this week’s inaugural events as I do.