How many at Beck’s rally? Just listen . . .

August 31, 2010

All the professional crowd estimators put the number of people attending Glenn Beck’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial at over 50,000 people, but under 100,000 — most came out in the 85,000 to 90,000 range.

But — don’t you love the brevity of Twitter?


  • Michele Bachmann claims 1.6 million at Beck rally. That’s about right if you count the voices in her head. 18 minutes ago via TweetDeck

  • Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote on the Constitution

    August 30, 2010

    You have a right to fail, as Wile E. Coyote demonstrates — another one-minute Public Service Announcement from Warner Bros., circa 1986.

    Also see Porky Pig and Petunia about women running for office, here.

    18 mushroom hunters dead — don’t jump to conclusions

    August 30, 2010

    What would kill 18 mushroom hunters in Europe?

    Reuters gives the scary headline:

    Mushroom hunter “massacre” claims 18 lives in Italy

    MILAN | Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:52pm EDT

    MILAN (Reuters) – At least 18 mushroom-lovers have been killed in accidents while hunting for their favorite fungi in the mountains and forests of northern Italy.

    Mountain rescuers say eager mushroom seekers are abandoning safety procedures as they don camouflage and hunt in darkness to protect coveted troves, la Repubblica newspaper reported on Sunday.

    “There is too much carelessness. Too many people don’t give a darn about the right rules and unfortunately this is the result,” Gino Comelli, head of the Alpine rescue service in northwest Italy’s Valle di Fassa, told the newspaper.

    You may be a fan of the fungus yourself, or mycologically or botanically or culinarily inclined, and right now you’re thinking, “If these guys don’t know what the safe mushrooms look like, they shouldn’t be out in the woods.”  You’ve heard the stories of the mushroom experts who ate something they swore was safe, and of the lovely eulogies delivered a few days later.

    But you’re leaping to conclusions.  Not so fast, Bunky.  Pay attention.

    Yes, the death toll is astounding.  But it’s not mycological poisoning.

    Seventeen people have died in nine days — six in 48 hours alone — mostly from sliding off steep, damp slopes in the northern mountains, la Repubblica said in a story headlined “the massacre of the mushroom hunters.”

    Another person has been missing for more than a week, it said.

    Ansa news agency said a man who had been hunting mushrooms was found dead on Sunday in the Alpine region of Valtellina.

    A combination of August thunderstorms and hot weather has led to a bumper mushroom crop that has drawn the first hunters of what is expected to be a boom season.

    (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

    An Oklahoma or Pennsylvania deer hunt would be more analogous — it ain’t mushrooms that killed the mushroom hunters.  It’s just plain old being-careless-in-the-woods.


    Edisonian lightism, or the Bible: Teach the controversy!

    August 30, 2010

    Sensuous Curmudgeon sets the agenda for the Utah and Louisiana legislatures with the discovery that Edison’s “theory of lightism” threatens religious instruction.

    Lightism is just a theory — an atheistic belief based on arbitrary presuppositions. No one has ever seen a so-called “electron,” and no one really knows what causes light bulbs to function as they do.

    In an incredible, Sisyphean effort, he pushes it uphill from there.  Seriously.  Go read.

    Powers of Ten day coming: 10/10/10

    August 30, 2010

    Press release from the office of the group that manages the estate and work of Charles and Ray Eames:


    Santa Monica, California, August 27, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Eames Office announces with pleasure the Tenth Annual International Powers of Ten Day on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10). Powers of Ten Day promotes and encourages Powers of Ten Thinking, a form of rich, cross-disciplinary thought that approaches ideas from multiple interrelated perspectives, ranging from the infinitesimal to the cosmic—and the orders of magnitude in between.

    Milky Way, by Charles and Ray Eames, from

    The Milky Way Galaxy from the film, Powers of Ten, by Charles and Ray Eames. For use only in conjunction with press about Powers of Ten Day 2010. © 1977 Eames Office, LLC ( (caption provided)

    Powers of Ten Day is inspired by the classic film Powers of Ten by designers Charles and Ray Eames. The film, a nine-minute visual journey of scale, takes the viewer from a picnic out to the edge of space and then back to a carbon atom in the hand of the man sleeping at the picnic. Every 10 seconds the view is from 10 times further away. In all, more than 40 Powers of Ten are visualized seamlessly. One of the most widely seen short films of all time—at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for decades and still widely used in schools around the world—Powers of Ten has influenced pop culture from The Simpsons to the rock band Coldplay, from Hummer commercials to the movie Men in Black. But Powers of Ten received perhaps the ultimate accolade in 1998 when the Library of Congress selected it, along with Easy Rider, Bride of Frankenstein, and Tootsie, for the National Film Registry—one of the 25 films of great cultural value chosen each year.

    And the film’s importance only grows. Scale is not precisely just size, it is the relative size of things. As Eames Demetrios, director of the Eames Office, has said: “Scale is the new geography. So many of our challenges today are ultimately matters of scale. To be a good citizen of the world and have a chance to make it a better place, a person must have a real understanding of scale.”

    Powers of Ten Day is for teachers, librarians, architects, designers, store owners, webmasters, business people, scientists, filmmakers, meditation gurus, parents, kids, and anyone wanting to extend the boundaries of their thinking. Participating can be as simple as watching the video (showing online throughout October [the tenth month] at, or putting together a screening of the film for friends or co-workers—at home, in a school, or at a library. Our goal is for as many people as possible to watch or share the film on that day. Some will be seeing it for the first time. Some will be revisiting a favorite classic. Everyone can be part of the conversation.

    Powers of Ten Day can also be a lot more. Activities are happening worldwide throughout October. With the help of the DVD Scale is the New Geography as well as a Powers of Ten Box Kit, individuals (teachers in the broadest sense) can lead engaging workshops for kids and/or adults that let participants create their own scale journeys. Although those materials may be purchased at, as Eames Office Education Director Carla Hartman notes, “We’ve set aside some sets to be available at no charge for inquiring schools and teachers.” Those supplies are limited—and some are already being put to use. To inquire about availability of Powers of Ten supplies at no charge, email

    The Eames Office also encourages you to create and share your contributions. Over the years art has been created, music shared, global pilgrimages performed, and more. But most of all there has been hands-on learning. Events can be registered, and photographs, drawings, and writings uploaded. Sorted by power and by event, these will serve as inspiration and fodder for other events around the world—more than 1,000, possibly 10,000.

    Anyone living in or visiting Southern California is welcome to visit the Powers of Ten Exhibition at the Eames Office in Santa Monica from now until the end of the year. There will be an event each day the exhibition is open during the month of October. Many more fun and thought-provoking activities will be available at by the end of the summer. The exhibit includes such things as a box that can hold 1 million pennies; as of mid-August, there were already 250,000! All the pennies collected will be given to TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit that unites the power of trees, people and technology to grow a sustainable future for Los Angeles.

    Powers of Ten Thinking extends beyond this unique date of 10/10/10. As Demetrios says, “There is a little bit of the numerologist in all of us, so we love celebrating this date, but empowering people to explore and make connections between scales is a year-round goal of ours.” The Eames Office looks forward to tracking and inspiring another decade’s worth of Powers of Ten events. Towards that end, a map of the Earth on the website (and at the Office) will track events around our world.

    The Eames Office is dedicated to communicating, preserving, and extending the work of Charles and Ray Eames. Additional information is available online at, as well as at and

    The Powers of Ten Exhibition is open from 11 to 6, Wednesday through Saturday at the Eames Office, 850 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405; 310/396-5991.

    Powers of Ten Day is generously sponsored by IBM Corporation with additional support from Herman Miller Inc., Vitra, and Penfolds.

    Your school should have one of the Eames versions of the film in the school library (they did more than one).  This is truly a classic, and it should be a good discussion starter for several different topics — map reading, map scaling, environmentalism, existentialism, transcendentalism, and more.

    So what will you do for Powers of Ten Day?

    Update:  A YouTube edition of the film, “Powers of Ten,” is now available. MFB post about the film, with embedded version and links, here.

    Bugs Bunny on the Constitution

    August 30, 2010

    Was this from 1989, the Constitution’s Bicentennial?  I dimly remember these PSAs.

    This one isn’t brilliant — n.b., the Constitution can be amended — but it is Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

    I just stumbled into it on YouTube.  Is there a good collection somewhere?  Are the others better?

    “Rivers of blood,” Beck says — then denies he said it

    August 30, 2010

    In 1954, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told Douglas Stringfellow that, for the sake of honesty, he had to end his run for Congress.

    Is there any sense still in Salt Lake City?  Have they been listening to Glenn Beck, lately?

    Tip of the old scrub brush to MediaMatters and Crooks and Liars.

    Blogging longhand

    August 29, 2010

    From the Department of Education where my group was in charge of dragging the rest of the research branch into the computer age — putting computers on desks of contract managers for the first time, in most cases — I moved to American Airlines.  Though American boasted the best computer reservations system in the world, at headquarters my cubicle came with no computer, not even a typewriter.

    I requested a typewriter to draft documents.  “That’s what we have secretaries for,” I was told.  “You draft longhand, let the secretaries turn them into print.”

    That quickly changed, thank the business gods, but I feel like I’ve been thrust back to 1987 in many ways since my laptop crashed last week.

    The good people at Fry’s noted the fan wasn’t working, but feared it might be damage beyond that.  I’m informed now that it’s been sent to its birthplace with HP/Compaq in California for a more serious assessment and, I hope, quick repair.  Alas, when we bought the extended warranty (the first time such a purchase seems to have not been a really stupid idea) we did not purchase the “automatic loaner” rider.

    Oh, I’ve got the data backed up.  What I don’t have is an easy access to one computer I can use regularly  or transport with me to get that information into the formats I need.  Lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and tests are essentially on hold.

    A somewhat better prepared group of juniors this year.  They have heard of Columbus.  They know basic map stuff, like in which direction we say the sun rises.  Prehistory remains mysterious to them, human migrations prior to 1750 are fuzzy to them, and the Age of Exploration seems to be complete news.  All that stuff I put together last year in case this happened?   It’s on the backup drive, the drive that I don’t have enough USB ports to tap into while doing much of anything else.

    My classroom for a good book!  Of course, I’d have to reinvent the book check out process, and find some way to transport a half-ton of books from the book room to the classroom, and check them out.

    We had a meeting Friday on what we’re doing to differentiate classroom lessons for differently-abled learners.  Unable to get lessons to any learners, I found it a waste of time at the moment.  How much other work teachers do is frustrated by the assumptions that all systems are go for teachers, when few systems are.

    A reader, nyceducator,  noted he’s never had a working computer in his classroom in 25 years.  He’s better prepared than I am as a result, and I envy him at the moment.  Should I retrench and prepare for a paper future?

    Teaching in America is, too often, a constant reinvention of the wheel.

    The laptop I’m typing this on is 9 years old, old enough that it can connect to the home WiFi only with an expensive modem.  That takes up the one USB port.  I think I donated the last wired mouse I had, and the touchpad on the computer is failing (which is a big reason I bought the now-ailing computer back in 2009).  The battery has been failing for a long time, but that model is no longer manufactured.  Used batteries are tough to find on eBay, even.

    I can write it out longhand, and fax it to a secretarial service who will convert it to electronic files for me.

    How is your 1987 going?

    Compare and Contrast assignment: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Glenn Beck

    August 29, 2010

    From The Other 98%:

    MLK's and Glenn Beck's achievements compared - from The Other 98%

    Which one would you choose to follow? Which one would you choose to emulate?

    Teachers, don’t you wish a student would turn in something like this from time to time?

    Tip of the old scrub brush to Earthaid3.

    Religion-free zone in New York?

    August 28, 2010

    Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an, published in 1764. (courtesy of the Library of Congress). Image via 15-Minute History at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an, published in 1764. (courtesy of the Library of Congress). Image via 15-Minute History at the University of Texas at Austin.

    The Center for Inquiry (CFI) joined in the calls to end plans for any worship center for Islam near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.  But they added a twist.

    CFI called for the entire area to be free from religious institutions, since, they say, it was religiously-inspired violence that caused the trouble.  Greg Laden has pithy comments at his blog, as does DuWayne Brayton from the opposite tack (Laden agrees with CFI, sorta, while Brayton thinks they’ve jumped somebody’s shark).

    How about it, Joe, how about it Morgan?  Doesn’t this plan meet yours and Sarah Palin’s objections to Cordoba House?

    And Glenn Beck in ignorance leads us farther and further from the intentions of the “founders”:

    Also at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:


    A real live preacher on empathizing with Imam Rauf

    August 26, 2010

    Gordon Atkinson, who often blogs as Real Live Preacher (whose drawings I really like), has already walked a mile in the shoes of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.  Perhaps we could learn from his journey:

    I would be interested in comments from you about something else, though. Having been a clergyman for many years, I can’t help but watch the drama of Park 51 unfold with a different perspective. Because I know what it’s like to carry someone else’s reputation.


    When I was a Baptist minister, I could never get comfortable with the fact that Fred Phelps was a colleague. Whenever the people from Westboro Baptist Church were on the news with their hateful signs, I knew that some of Fred’s reputation was going to rub off on me.

    Whether it’s fair or not, clergy share their reputations. Many people in our culture have never met, much less befriended a preacher. What little experience they have with ministers comes from television and the occasional wedding or funeral. When someone meets a Baptist preacher for the first time, they often have some preconceived notions.

    That’s just the way it is.

    Ah, shades of Bruce Hornsby.  More at the link above.

    Annals of DDT: 880,000 died from malaria in 2008

    August 26, 2010

    Once upon a time I easily found a chart from the World Health Organization (WHO) which provided a year-by-year tally of malaria deaths, worldwide, from the 1940s to the present.

    Of course, now that I need that chart to note that malaria deaths are much lower today than they were when DDT was overused generally and sometimes misused in the fight against malaria, I can’t find it.  So, we’ll take the figures where we can find them.

    In 2008, worldwide there were over 880,000 deaths from malaria.  This is significantly lower than the usual claim of “millions of deaths each year.”  We can find this figure in a document from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the organization that organizes the work of 182 nations to work for solutions to environmental problems, including fighting malaria, in a report on the 2009 meeting of the Stockholm Convention focused on fighting malaria,  “Countries move toward more sustainable ways to roll back malaria.”

    However concern over DDT is matched by concern over the global malaria burden in which close to 250 million cases a year result in over 880 000 deaths. Thus any reduction in the use of DDT or other residual pesticides must ensure the level of transmission interruption is, at least, maintained.

    Numbers here may be estimates not updated from current-year records.  The figure “over 880,000 deaths” looks and sounds awfully close to numbers reported in 2006, as you can see in this report from the Kaiser Family Foundation on U.S. global health policies:

    Number of Annual Malaria Cases Worldwide Decreases, Disease Still Remains a Challenge, WHO’s World Malaria Report 2008 Says

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    There were about 247 million malaria cases worldwide in 2006, according to the World Malaria Report 2008, which was released by the World Health Organization on Thursday, Reuters reports (MacInnis, Reuters, 9/18). According to the report, 3.3 billion people worldwide were at risk for malaria in 2006, and the disease remains a major burden among children younger than age five and in many African countries (AFP/, 9/18).

    The report included reduced estimates of the global malaria burden that were calculated with new surveillance measures for non-African countries. The estimate of 247 million malaria cases is lower than the estimated 350 million to 500 million annual malaria cases reported in WHO’s World Malaria Report 2005. The new report estimated there were 881,000 malaria deaths in 2006, down from the previous estimate of one million deaths. The reduced figures are the result of new calculation methods, and it is unknown whether malaria cases and deaths actually declined from 2004 to 2006, WHO said (Reuters, 9/18). Although malaria control efforts have helped reduce the global malaria burden, most malaria-endemic countries are not meeting WHO targets for malaria control, the report said, noting that there is “no evidence yet to show that malaria elimination can be achieved and maintained in areas that currently have high transmission” (Bennett/Doherty, Bloomberg, 9/18).

    WHO attributed the revised malaria estimates to new assessment measures in Asia, where data used for the 2005 report had not been updated for 40 years. According to Mac Otten — coordinator of surveillance, monitoring and evaluation at WHO’s Global Malaria Program — factors such as deforestation, urbanization and malaria control efforts have affected malaria estimates in Asia (Blue, Time, 9/17). Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam all reported a decline in malaria deaths in 2006 (Bloomberg, 9/18).

    WHO’s surveillance methods in Africa, which estimate malaria prevalence by using climate data and sample surveys, have remained the same since the 2005 report, the report said (Reuters, 9/18). According to the report, 45 of the 109 malaria-endemic countries worldwide are in Africa, and more than half of the continent’s malaria cases in 2006 occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania (AFP/, 9/18). The report noted that malaria interventions have helped reduce malaria cases and deaths by more than 50% in Eritrea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar (Time, 9/17).The report found that about 40% of people at risk for malaria in Africa had access to insecticide-treated nets last year, compared with 3% in 2001 (Bloomberg, 9/18). The report also found that the number of ITNs distributed to national malaria control programs was enough to cover 26% of people in 37 African countries but that most African countries did not meet WHO’s target of 80% coverage for the four main malaria treatments: ITNs, artemisinin-based combination therapies, indoor-insecticide spraying programs and treatment for pregnant women (AFP/, 9/18).

    Note also that this total of 880,000 is more than the previously reported 863,000.  Hmmm.

    Want to teach evolution? Then be ready for THIS!

    August 25, 2010

    Threat to Bug Girl, Child of Satin

    What would the police make of such a threat?

    Bug Girl lifts the tent flap to show us just a little of what it’s like to be a teacher of evolution, including mysterious threats made on notes left under windshield wipers.

    At least, I think it’s a threat.  (“If you teach evolution, I’ll make you giggle till you choke!”)

    I figure that note came from the sort of person who would pray for this to happen to a good professor of biology.

    (Do you think the note writer was trying to say something about the sheets upon which Bug Girl’s parents frolicked?)

    Inspiration for the first day of school, part 2 – Taylor Mali, and “What do you make?”

    August 23, 2010

    It ain’t easy being a teacher.  Newsweek puts you on the cover, saying you need to be fired.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry says you don’t need job security, as if getting additional money for teacher salaries would make teachers secure in places like Dallas, where mid-year RIFs are a too-recent, bitter memory.  Heck, just looking at the curriculum in Texas can depress a teacher.  Parents think you don’t call them enough, or too much — but never the Goldilocks optimum.  Students?  Even the best student is surly in the last period of the first day back at school.

    Taylor Mali knows all about that.  He taught for several years — but he struck out as a professional slam poet.  His work there remains among the best tributes to teaching of the past 50 years, at least.  You probably heard this poem, or somebody sent it to you in an e-mail (especially if you’re a teacher) — but attributed to “Anonymous.”

    Well, here is Anonymous, the Unknown Teacher — whose name is Taylor Mali.  Watch for him and his work.

    This is an encore post from 2007.  (Mild profanity.)


    Killer lesson plans:  Teachers as superheroes

    Reader Bernarda noted this site in comments, and it’s good enough to promote more formally: Teachers as the alter egos of superheroes.

    Teachers ARE superheroes, a lot of them. More than in other professions, certainly.

    Which reminds me of this video. Teachers, you need to watch this sometime here in the first month of school. What do you say when someone rudely asks, “What do you make?” Wholly apart from the Ann Landers-style answer, “Whatever would possess anyone to ask such a personal question?” there is an answer to give, as explained by slam poet Taylor Mali; surely you’ve seen this before, but watch it again — to remember what teachers should be doing, as well as how to talk about it. See below.

    [Update August 2010:  Hmmmmm.  Well, that video is out of commission at the moment — Mali and copyright?

    Mali has a version at his website, for sale.  Buy it, you have it in high fidelity audio, video and emotion.

    Here’s a shorter version of the tape not available above:

    It remains the single best piece about teaching and why teachers do it when they don’t get paid the big bucks, when administrators make it so hard, and when society at large wants to fire them all — they do it for the kids.  What do they make?]

    You can support Mr. Mali. Just purchase a pen that includes that little poem.

    You can support Mr. Mali and his campaign for good teachers in another way, too. Make sure that whenever you talk about this poem of his, you credit it to him. I think we as teachers owe that to artists, and other teachers, as part of our continuing struggles against plagiarism.

    But we also owe it to ourselves to get credit to Mr. Mali. Odds are he has some other good things to say. When you properly attribute his work, you increase the chances that someone else will find the rest of his work. You increase the chances that some superintendent will hire Mr. Mali to speak to the teachers in his district. You increase the chances that someone will understand that Mr. Mali is a real human being who loves teaching — he is, in short, one of those superheroes we call “teachers,” even without a cape.

    Uncaped crusaders need compliments, too.

    Inspiration for the first day of school, part 1 – Dalton Sherman

    August 23, 2010

    An encore post from two years ago.  50,000 educators from Dallas ISD gathered at the American Airlines Center, and then-5th grader Dalton Sherman gave the performance of his young life.

    That was 2008.  Later that school year a $64 million shortfall showed up in the Dallas ISD budget, and many of those teachers were laid off mid-year.  In 2010, Dallas ISD provided a short video of encouragement from Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, rather than a mass gathering and pep rally.

    Below is the post from 2008.


    “Do you believe in me?”  5th grader Dalton Sherman inspires Dallas teachers

    Taylor Mali is one of my usual suspects for inspiring teachers. He does a great job, with just a tinge of profanity (appropriately placed, many teachers argue – if they ask for it, you have to give it to them).

    This year’s inspiration for Dallas teachers comes from Dalton Sherman, a fifth grader at Charles Rice Learning Center. Here’s a YouTube video of the presentation about 20,000 of us watched last Wednesday, a small point that redeemed the annual “convocation” exercise, for 2008:

    Sherman’s presentation rescued what had been shaping up as another day of rah-rah imprecations to teachers who badly wanted, and in my case needed, to be spending time putting classrooms together.

    (By the way, at the start of his presentation, you can see several people leap to their feet in the first row — Mom, Dad, and older brother. Nice built-in cheering section.)

    Staff at DISD headquarters put the speech together for Dalton to memorize, and he worked over the summer to get it down. This background is wonderfully encouraging.

    First, it makes a statement that DISD officials learn from mistakes. Last year the keynote was given by a speaker out of central casting’s “classic motivational speaker” reserves. As one teacher described it to me before the fete last Wednesday, “It was a real beating.”

    Second, DISD’s planning ahead to pull this off suggests someone is looking a little bit down the road. This was a four or five month exercise for a less-than-10 minute presentation. It’s nice to know someone’s looking ahead at all.

    Third, the cynical teachers gave Dalton Sherman a warm standing ovation. That it was delivered by a 10-year-old kids from DISD made a strong symbol. But the content was what hooked the teachers. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa provided a death-by-PowerPoint presentation leading up to the speech, one that was probably not designed solely as contrasting lead in. In other words, Dalton Sherman’s speech demonstrated as nothing else the district has done lately that someone downtown understands that the teachers count, the foot soldiers in our war on ignorance and jihad for progress.

    The kids came back Monday, bless ’em. School’s in session, to anyone paying attention.


    Full text of Dalton Sherman’s speech to Dallas Independent School District teachers, August 20, 2008:

    I believe in me. Do you believe in me?

    Do you believe I can stand up here, fearless, and talk to all 20,000 of you?

    Hey, Charles Rice Learning Center – do you believe in me?

    That’s right – they do.

    Because here’s the deal: I can do anything, be anything, create anything, dream anything, become anything – because you believe in me. And it rubs off on me.

    Let me ask you a question, Dallas ISD.

    Do you believe in my classmates?

    Do you believe that every single one of us can graduate ready for college or the workplace?

    You better. Because next week, we’re all showing up in your schools – all 157,000 of us – and what we need from you is to believe that we can reach our highest potential.

    No matter where we come from, whether it’s sunny South Dallas, whether its Pleasant Grove, whether its Oak Cliff or North Dallas or West Dallas or wherever, you better not give up on us. No, you better not.

    Because, as you know, in some cases, you’re all we’ve got. You’re the ones who feed us, who wipe our tears, who hold our hands or hug us when we need it. You’re the ones who love us when sometimes it feels like no else does – and when we need it the most.

    Don’t give up on my classmates.

    Do you believe in your colleagues?

    I hope so. They came to your school because they wanted to make a difference, too. Believe in them, trust them and lean on them when times get tough – and we all know, we kids can sometimes make it tough.

    Am I right?

    Can I get an Amen?

    So, whether you’re a counselor or a librarian, a teacher assistant or work in the front office, whether you serve up meals in the cafeteria or keep the halls clean, or whether you’re a teacher or a principal, we need you!

    Please, believe in your colleagues, and they’ll believe in you.

    Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that what you’re doing is shaping not just my generation, but that of my children – and my children’s children?

    There’s probably easier ways to make a living, but I want to tell you, on behalf of all of the students in Dallas, we need you. We need you now more than ever.

    Believe in yourself.

    Finally, do you believe that every child in Dallas needs to be ready for college or the workplace? Do you believe that Dallas students can achieve?

    We need you, ladies and gentlemen. We need you to know that what you are doing is the most important job in the city today. We need you to believe in us, in your colleagues, in yourselves and in our goals.

    If you don’t believe – well, I’m not going there.

    I want to thank you for what you do – for me and for so many others.

    Do you believe in me? Because I believe in me. And you helped me get to where I am today.

    Thank you.

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