Eighteenth Day: The Final 50

The school district and the teachers’ union have come to a tentative agreement, and so it looks like we will be back in school some time next week.

I am grieving. The loss of family, any normalcy, predictability, kids’ progress, their friendships. The rest of this school year. I’m calling this my last 50 words as I’m deeming today, with the tentative agreement, as the last day of the strike. Technically, I’m wrong. But I’m wrong a lot.

Seven months ago my nephew died. He was a public school teacher. I could almost see him out on the picket line these past few weeks, an outspoken, confident, passionate young man. Shortly before his death, he was organizing a coat drive for kids in need.

Teachers shape our communities.

Seventeenth Day

I attended the Public School Funding Discussion last night. The strike is over as of a tentative agreement made overnight, but shit we have troubles going forward. I have many more than 50 words, but this is what I’m adding for yesterday’s 17th day since the strike was called.

Days spin out and everyone is sick.

The strike is ending and we’re still under water. The state is still trying to get out from under the cuts to education made years ago.

What can I do. Vote Republicans out. We’re one of only two states with a split legislature.

Sixteenth Day

I’m hearing the district walked out on negotiations.

I think about three years from now.

I hear about losing ground after typical summer breaks.

I hear “kids are resilient,” but most kids just learn how to acclimate to their problems until later in life when shit blows up. Mental health support will be urgent when we get back.

Fifteenth Day

How many times have you cried today?

The district says there’s a newer, wider gap and that they again have offered their last, best offer. There is a newer, wider gap between my mind and where it used to be.

Why is it hard to fund public education? And live on one full-time job?

Another week disintegrates.

Fourteenth Day

My god.

Days ago, we heard “promising news” regarding the strike.

Now, I hear “budget cuts,” and I know that will mean no more music.

We went to Iowa. We’re back. The house remains. The strike continues.

The past two years are fuzzy, like a misremembered dream.

We need to go back.

Thirteenth Day

We’ll go back tomorrow. I wonder what we’ll know by then. My 50 words:

I realize that just because I’m in a different space it turns out I still have kids I need to care for.

The district says they offered their “last and best” deal. I’ve heard nothing and I cannot speculate. I know we won’t have school on Monday. How about Wednesday?

Twelfth Day

Another weekend.

The second strike Saturday.

At Sam’s lesson in the morning, in Minneapolis, I am struck by how few people even know.

We scramble into the van and drive to my parents’ because it’s not like we have school on Monday. We see my nephew, visiting on Spring Break.

What now.

Eleventh Day

I’m mad today. My kids need to go to school. My kids’ teachers need to feel valued. My 50 words:

I hear a plane fly overhead. I want to get on it.

We’ve been school-free for eleven days.

Alice says she likes weekends but she likes school more.

I feel like an insect in a bug house inside a zoo. Watching other people get to do shit through compound eyes.

Tenth Day

For a few minutes, I thought it was over.

Thomas texts a Tweet. “MPS is happy to announce…” it reads. I can’t finish it because I’m driving.

If the district is happy about something, it’s got to be a deal. It’s over, I think. Will we get to go back tomorrow? Or Monday?

No. I misread; the strike continues.