Falling down. Getting up.

Dandelions


  It’s that time of year again, dandelion season. This is the time of year for those who don’t poison their lawns to kill all vegetation except the one introduced, non-native, invasive species of grass deemed worthy of life, to feel the antipathy of neighbors and passers-by. Among America’s most massed induced social constructs is […]

Talk About the Weather


On May 1st, we had four inches of snow. Yesterday it was 85 degrees.  Everyone likes to complain about the weather.  It’s politically safe and won’t sue you for defamation no matter what you say.  It’s not fake news but something that everyone can see and everyone lives with.  Yet personal interpretations are generally accepted […]

Windy City Memories


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When I recently flew out of Chicago and looked down on the city, it struck me the number of ways in which I am connected to it.  My father was born there and I have childhood memories of visiting relatives and the Brookfield Zoo.  I attended The University of Chicago for a master’s degree from […]

Making a Difference in Chicago


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Headless though he may be in the photo, this is the principal of the day at Ombudsman – Chicago South’s campus.  I recently had the pleasure of touring two of Ombudsman’s alternative schools in the Windy City.  It is still a thrill to feel the goose bumps and moist eyes when students who had given […]

An Ambulance in Africa


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It took over a year to move a decommissioned ambulance from Des Moines to the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.  After sitting in customs for almost two months, we were able to free the vehicle and put it to immediate use transporting critically ill people to the hospitals in Moshi and Arusha, responding to accident victims, […]

We’re In This Together


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I am happy to say that my next book, We’re In This Together: Public-Private Partnerships in Special and At-Risk Education, will be out in June.  Rowman & Littlefield is the publisher.  The book is nonfiction.  It is ethnographic observer-participant research.  Co-author Mark Claypool and I explore how public schools use, or don’t use, private companies […]

Author, Superintendent Talk School Funding


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On March 30, I had the privilege of being part of the “Beyond the Book” program at the Guntersville, Alabama Public Library.  The program invites the public to engage with an author and delve more deeply into a book, in my case, The Last Year of the Season.  I was joined at the event by […]

A Chain of Goodness


This winter the good people of Mercy Hospital in Des Moines decommissioned an ambulance.  A good friend managed to secure that ambulance for the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.  The good people at St. Mary Parish in Sioux Falls donated to ship the ambulance to Dar es Salaam.  It will take a good three months to […]

Graduation


In mid-May, my older son graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in astrophysics.  The next day, his older sister received a master in music performance and harp literature from the University of Illinois.  These two universities granted almost 25,000 degrees this spring.  With 10,000 boomers retiring everyday for the next twenty years, […]

Generators Shipped


Last week, twenty-two Peppermint Energy solar generators, the 2000 watt Forty2 models, began their journey from Sioux Falls to Dar es Salaam.  When they reach the port in Tanzania’s capital city, they will be picked up and taken to the Diocese of Same in the Kilimanjaro Region. Each generator can provide a continual supply of […]