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Education Matters: Plenty to be grateful for

November 19, 2010|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

Autumn has arrived, and it is definitely my favorite time of the year. There is a wonderful nip in the air that signals the end of dry months and oppressive heat. It's the beginning of a dormant time for all things to rest for awhile — except humans.

We go on and on. But even we are asked to sit back and take a moment to reflect, to review our labors and celebrate what is completed before spring starts the process all over again. It's a time of thanksgiving.


In that spirit, I've put together a modest list this year with a few provisos attached. I'm usually a glass-half-full kind of guy, but I also believe that gratitude can easily be confused with complacency. And so:

I'm grateful for teachers unions protecting members' rights and fighting for fair wages. The history of our country testifies to the need of workers to organize for their basic rights and protection. When those organizations stray from that purpose, however, and attempt to wield political power, they are no different from the giant corporations that exert unwarranted influence in our political process.

I'm grateful for the teachers in my life who took me aside to explain or listen or praise — teachers who regularly made time for me, just for me, and managed to do the same for all of their students. They were my favorite teachers when I was young, my most respected colleagues when I was older, and, addressing the present preoccupation with good/bad teaching, solid-gold additions to any faculty.

I'm grateful that a growing awareness has turned into a growing commitment throughout the world to tend more carefully to the health of our planet. I am mystified that it has become a politically polarizing issue.

I'm grateful that the word "green" is being used more often with an emphasis on clean energy. When the day comes, like 20 or 30 years down the road, that Earth is unable to disgorge any more oil, people will look back and assess what we did in preparation for that inevitable day.

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