I am up and in need of a charging before this last MM Saturday begins. I have Weekend Today softly reporting the news I need- rain coming for today and tomorrow (no snow). coffee is brewing and cereal is digesting. Late last night I canceled my 7AM workout with Anthony and I’m hopeful that I can get going soon to get to a treadmill soon. Can I do it? Hmmm!
I’m still in that where am I? reality, not quite feeling totally here yet. It’s a perfect time for writing to make sense of our intense Thursday on the Hill. Three Congressmen, two senators, 20-30 minutes with each aide and we were gone, they were off to the next meeting. What will stick? What will become of those shared moments?
Highlights: We were a lean and mean Empire State Writing Project Network team representing our eight sites with our two senators: Gillibrand and Schumer. Our Gillibrand rep, Steve Lev, was a great welcome to the day. We had a real conversation with his sharing something about the National Writing Project and then our individual sites, but we didn’t have to sell ourselves. As the son of teachers, and a certified Earth Science teacher himself, he understood us and after we shared of Asks, he offered us even more. It was important to him, that we knew he was more optimistic that our funding would continue and that there could be more funding opportunities for us to support teachers with larger SEED grants to come. It was a real two-way conversation. Nice to have Joel along for his debut on the Hill- an authentic classroom teacher with us, a digital educator who stayed with us for the rest of our visits. Jane, a new site director traveled with us to Schumer’s office and then made her way to her own congressional reps. A great way to start the day!
After another positive visit at the Hart Office Building where the powerful live, we crossed the Capital to the People’s House and found our way around Longworth to meet with Maurice Hinchey’s successor, Chris Gibson. It was hard to see say good-bye to Maurice when he retired, a long-time progressive, passionate about liberal causes, but we were surprised to meet up with the Congressman himself who had complimentary things to say about my brother, Ellenville’s Democratic mayor. He sat with us, offering his support to our Asks and sharing his hopes that funding would pass. Yes, he was hoping to reach across the aisle and work with the Democratic rep, Sean Maloney, we were on our way to meeting with. Often at this point when we met up with some of the Congressmen, they support was positive but without any promise of spending money on education.
We were beaming at lunch, grabbing salad and caffeine to take us through the afternoon.
Two more meet ups!
In Maloney’s office young Sam Garrett, willingly listened and watched my short teaser showing our Young Writers’ Camps from the last summer and once again, our conversation was positive and truly a conversation. He got it quickly.
Last but not least, a visit to Nita Lowey’s office. She has become by Congresswoman after the last redistricting in NYS. Like Maurice, Nita has been a long-time progressive, always supportive of public education funding and the National Writing Project in particular. We have met with Chris Bigalow, her chief aide regularly and we were sitting with him once again. He was exhausted and we were dying to get outside in the sunshine. We cut to the chase and Chris gratefully listed our Asks after some shared conversation about some positive movement he sees as well.
It feels like the Congress is feeling it’s poor poll numbers and maybe movement is possible.
There was no conversation about Obama Core or Race to the Top. Competition for grants seems to have bogged down the operation.
Arne Duncan are you reading this post?
So, as I put the last period on this slice with only two more to write for this Marathon, I am SMILING!!!!