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To My Readers on Thanksgiving 2014

November 27, 2014

First of all, let me wish all of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that your day is one long string of happy moments.

Now, let me note that the remainder of this Thanksgiving post centers on living life via my faith in Jesus Christ. I realize that some may not wish to continue reading, so I offer this pause for you to decide whether you wish to proceed, complete with four minutes of high-quality elevator music:



This year, I am thankful for three lessons learned (and relearned, as the case may be):

First, I am thankful that Christ continues to cultivate in me an attitude of thanksgiving. One bible story that has made an impression on me is the situation in which Jesus fed the five thousand (five thousand men, plus women and children). When He asked what was available to feed the masses, all that His disciples could produce was one kid’s lunch– a few fish and loaves of bread– a clearly inadequate supply for thousands. But what was the first action Jesus took upon receiving the food? He gave God the Father thanks. He did not complain about what seemed inadequate on the surface. Instead, He turned to God in faith, glad for what was available in the moment.

If I stopped at considering how little I am actually able to contribute (in the grand scheme) toward the effort to fight the privatization of public education– to combat the exploitation– to try to right the utter wrongness of test-driven “reform”– I would become bitter from despair. But from my faith in Christ, I know to approach life with an attitude of thankfulness regardless of how inadequate my contribution appears to me on the surface. I offer my contribution, and I give thanks to God for how he will use it, which brings me to a second point of thanks:

I am thankful that I am not responsible to “make” my contribution in defense of public education “work.” I write; I publish, I speak, and I leave all outcomes in God’s hands. I do what I am able, and sometimes, I get to know how my advocacy helps others, but mostly, I do not. And that is okay with me. I must let it go; otherwise, I again run the risk of being bitter– and of becoming neurotic.

A final point of thanks for me is in the assurance I have that Christ will take me through the events of my life. He does not promise me that my life will be without trouble– indeed, He “promises” the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” So, when I find myself in a tough spot, I have developed the habit, first, of giving thanks that He knows the end from the beginning, and second, of asking Him what I need to do next. And all of those “nexts” build into a “going through.” This is how I have learned to approach my life, and it makes for the smoothest journey no matter the particular circumstance. (I had a significant time of putting this lesson into practice in the spring of 2013 when I faced having a ten-pound tumor in my abdomen– the focus of last year’s Thanksgiving post.)

So, for these three healthy means of creating and preserving deep-seated joy in my life, I am thankful to God on this Thanksgiving.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Hannah permalink

    Lovely post! Elevator music, good one! Attitude of gratitude is beautiful… and grateful you have taken up this epic battle for the profession. Have a peaceful day Mercedes.

  2. Monica permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving….loved your post. It is so depressing to see what is happening to our country and you provided words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for what you do…ferreting out the secrets of the reformers and exposing them. Stay the course, keep the faith.

  3. James Crumling permalink

    I totally enjoy your taking time to lead us and remind us that our God is a good God and he will give us the answers. Have a Great and Blessed Thanksgiving!!!!

    Have A Great Day!!

    Jim Crumling

    President of the Acadiana Patriots

    Cell # 337-654-2805


  4. ira shor permalink

    Well, we are blessed to have you on the side of goodness. I’m grateful for your contributions which do make a difference. I don’t say this lightly or casually. You do make a difference.

  5. Amen and amen! You succinctly capture my own feelings. At an age when most people have long since retired, I felt led to get actively involved in this fight in my state, and I thank God for the opportunity, allowing Him to determine the impact. The ultimate freedom!

  6. jgorman permalink

    Thank you Mercedes for your wonderful words, your passion in defense for those who’s voices are not heard, and your indomitable spirit in this fight for the common good. We, children of God must not give in to despair or temptation; never to abandon this cause for it is the just and moral, the right thing to do: always.

  7. permalink

    Beautiful …thank you for writing this post. Mary Smith

    Sent from my HTC One on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network

  8. Martha Wood permalink

    I never went into my classroom without saying a prayer for God’s hand on my shoulder, but I would never presume to lead my class in any religious observance. That was a parent’s job. I continue in retirement to fight the privatizers. You are not alone in this fight, just more articulate and computer savvy than I.

    THANK you.

  9. john a permalink

    you are walking, sometimes trudging (as we all do) down a path that seeks justice in the face of those who demonstrate crass greed and who would do as much harm to so many, under their flag of lies and self serving rationalizations. you fight the good fight day after day. so, thanks, thanks and enjoy your thanksgiving.

  10. Suzette permalink

    Thank you for being a seemingly tireless voice for all those parents and educators out there that need guidance and information to make better decisions. You have been an amazing source of information and have given many like me, the juice we needed to keep going, to keep fighting for what is right. Armed with knowledge, truth and courage, through your blog, many have understood the current concerns and have joined in the efforts to reclaim classrooms back for our kids. I am eternally thankful for you and your blog. Keep up the fantastic work. Many blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving!!

  11. Rosemary Pearce permalink

    Thank you for your indomitable spirit and incredible research skills. One of my most important reads this year was A Chronicle of Echoes. I knew that Patrick J. Sullivan was honored at the Skinny Awards by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters, but when I read his name in the acknowledgements of your book and his toe-to-toe wrangling with Joel Klein in Chapter 1, I was amazed. He is my former principal’s son-in-law. He and I spoke briefly at her wake this past spring after she died very suddenly. Both of us were hearbroken at losing her. She was an advocate for special education students in my district and loved all students, teachers, and public education. Then I found out about all his efforts in NYC via Leonie’s award and your book. We became friends on social media, so I now am able to keep up with my principal’s family and share public education victories with him. It is a perfect example of how circular life is and how things come to you in ways you might not imagine they would. Thank you again. This is not all that I took for your book. I cite it frequently in conversations about education deform, but I will always remember it for putting me in touch with something I thought I had lost.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving to you. I have grown to enjoy your columns and your variety of topics. The lessons I have learned from you are too many to mention. I am thankful to Diane who introduced me to your column and now I look forward each day in reading them. I am a retired educator in the smallest state in the union but one with many troubles and the new witch, oops I meant governor
    (I am not as Christian as you, but I am getting better!) is into privatization (hubby is Andrew Mott-used to be TFA and now is into privatization) .She took away my cola with her illegal pension reform called RIRSA 2011 and heaven only knows what will be in store for pension people and teachers since Debbie Gist’s contract as commissioner ends in June but she just resubmitted her application to extend the two year contract soon to end in June. I wish you many more Happy Thanksgivings and good health. This country of ours -so saturated with privatization gluttons – need more members of the chorus to follow you in in exposing the evils, the corruptions, and the greed that is happening in education. And I thank you for

  13. Ben permalink

    I’m thankful for your writing. They have given me a much needed education as a parent, and community member.

  14. Garth permalink

    Privatization is just a way for well connected to tap gov’t programs for profits. To wit: school testing materials companies with Neil Bush as one of the owners; Iraq war as make-work for Cheney’s Halliburton; and now school privatization supposedly improving education which has not been demonstrated. (also don’t forget attempts to privatize soc sec and Medicare).

    It seems this rt wing strategy began by first preaching hatred of government with Reagan’s 1981 quote “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” a theme lasting for a generation with a constant drumbeat of gov’t hatred, gov’t bad, etc. Since then— this belief that “gov’t is the problem” has inflamed ill-informed voters to believe privatization is the path to improving public education—this was the cultural foundation needed to set up their strategic goals of tapping the public treasury for personal profits.

    With this mind-set in place—the rt wing drumbeat of hatred of gov’t in place— the well-connected began surreptitious programs to tap the public education money for their personal profits. Testing, testing, testing and charter schools that your readers know so well.

    So what to do?
    First educating the public that personal profits is the real aims of the public education destruction crowd under the guise of improving education. ( I wonder how it could be better if the edu budget is cut 10% to provide their profit goals? Some charter school leaders make up to $500,000 / year as you know).
    Second fight on all fronts like the way the U.S. won WWII.
    In sum;
    1) get the word out and 2) fight, fight, fight for a free pubic education for every child.

    Perhaps Churchill’s words can be translated into the fight for public education which reflects my feeling about the need and importance of educating every child as our most important national resource— especially given the 21st Century globally connected information age now at it’s beginnings: (readers can make their own translations which can provide interesting follow-on conversations to save public education)

    “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,


  15. Old Teacher permalink

    I am grateful many good people such as yourself are joined with people like me in actively fighting for a better society for all of us to live in. It will be a long fight, we may not see the results in our time, but the fight is noble, the cause is just, and the victory worth seeking.

  16. Mercedes, you never cease to amaze me! You are so inspiring–your message was on target and the elevator music–indeed a treat! Continue to educate the masses through your blog. I appreciate all that you do for the education community.

  17. Stop Common Core Louisiana permalink

    Thank you for your awesomeness!!!! Have a blessed day! Mary Kass

  18. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Mercedes, Thank you for your informative, passionate posts.. I only discovered you this September. I look forward to what you share with the rest of us every week. Have a healthy, safe holiday season.

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