TLCs (Scattered) Thoughts

Location: Gilbert, AZ

I am a writer, a photographer, and a Dork Chop FO-tog. I can be found on FB at and also on Flickr at Mostly I capture what I see from my perspective.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Have I become an old white guy...who likes TEA?!?

Someone needs to send help right away.

It would seem that I am currently agreeing with John McCain, Jon Kyl, and the tea partiers. This truly scares me more than I care to admit. Before you know it, I will be grousing about how big business executives need to take a well deserved high dollar vacation to help settle their frazzled nerves.

There is one little straw that I am grasping at to be THE difference. The way I plan to sleep tonight knowing that my opinions are aligning in such a fashion is this: motivation.

The old guys and most likely the tea drinkers are opposed to taxes because all the 'riff raff' has been cut from the budget. Some probably believe that education is still secretly flush with all kinds of cash-they will settle for the budget cuts that have already served their purpose. They are satisfied that very important things like salaries for senators, legislators, assistants, state owned vehicles, and the remodeling expenses have remained. After all, we DO live in America-the land of the free to redecorate offices and study extremely significant issues such as: the likes and dislikes of various inconsequential studies that will cost millions-and do nothing.

I, on the other hand, am protesting. The politicians in AZ who are FOR the tax, are threatening that should the tax not obtain voter approval, the bulk of the money they will need (60% of it) will come directly from K-12 education. Here is the catch. Knowing that the Obama Administration gave out stimulus money WITH the understanding AND agreement that funding could not be cut below where it was in '05 (I think)- AZ took the money. They have already cut funding to that level. Can they take 60% more? I think they are bluffing. I think that should they try-the federal government would block them. I think (I hope anyway) that the intended purpose of the stimulus money was to do just what it did. The states took the money-like a mouse takes cheese-now if they move from the budget they agreed to-they should be slammed (like the mouse).

I guess even just writing out WHY I agree with the shriveled up old men-makes me feel less like them already. ;)

If anyone sees me tottering down the street mumbling about chamomile...just shoo me back towards home.

(the reference to old people and tea was merely demonstrative of a point...and were in no way meant to offend old people, herbal beverages, or those who may or may not enjoy them.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Advocate's Teeth-

This is the true story about how I came to be a feared advocate for my special needs child, and my opinion regarding 'All Day K', and if it is a program that should be paid for when Early Intervention Programs were THE first thing our noble Governor Jan Brewer saw as expendable.

This past week, I wrote an article about my school district, and their reluctance to jump on the 'we'll pay for all day K' bandwagon. I have been asked if I think 'All Day K' is necessary.

Here is what I think:

I now reside within a state that eliminated it's Early Intervention Program, and cut several other programs that in the past, would have supported children and families with special needs kids.

I benefited from these very programs 12 years ago, when my son missed all his developmental milestones, and was identified as a special needs child. To say that a parent in that moment needs help is an extreme understatement.

Within a week, the Arizona Early Intervention Program had us enrolled in their program, and we were in an Early Head Start program within two weeks. I didn't care what was going on anywhere if it didn't relate directly to helping my child get the help he needed.

Within that Early Head Start Program, I met an extraordinary teacher named Roberta who worked with my son and I, on a daily basis. She did as much for me as she did for my son. She taught me how to see day to day success, and to focus on the things we could do right now. She taught me the value of truly taking everything one day and a time, one goal at a time, and to 'Keep on Keepin' on'.

With Roberta's gentle coaching, I became involved with the regional Early Head Start Council as a parent representative. I was chosen to represent our EHS program at the most amazing conference in Colorado that paired doctors, therapists, and administrators with parents of special needs kids so that this group of people, who were all trying to achieve the same goal, could help one another more effectively.

I met some of the most inspiring people at that conference, and I came home with even sharper advocate skills. I volunteered my services for Early Head Start as a way to pay back the help they had given my son and I, but in reality, there was no way to put a dollar value on what that program had given me.

With great reluctance, when my son 'aged out' of the EHS program, we were moved into the Gilbert Unified School District Amanacer program. I cut my new advocate teeth on anyone who tried to cross me, or who even slightly 'got in the way of progress'. I was highly strung, and I think I made a name for myself at the district office. Did I do the right thing? OH YOU BETCHA!! Was I the most popular parent? OH HELL NO!!

So, when the talk of budget cuts, and cutting the Early Intervention Program comes up, I think of all the people who are not just losing the hours of therapy for their kids, they are losing the opportunity to be lifted up from the absolute bottom, to be shown that the beautiful child they had loved all along, was still right there. They are missing the opportunity to be taught how to become holy terror advocates, ready and willing to maim any unfortunate soul who tries to deny rights to their child. This decision to save a few dollars at the expense of families in extreme need, is going to not only produce children with greater needs from school districts, but also parents who lack the knowledge that they have sharp powerful teeth, and the manual that comes with them.

When talk of spending state funding on additional Kindergarten class time, instead of maintaining programs that are/were so valuable in so many more ways than one, the answer is no.

No I don't.