Break on through to the other side
My plan was to get to the poll at the opening, 6 am, and cast my ballot quickly. At 6:05 am the line was incredibly long … took me an hour and a half. A friendly line, we chatted, talked about the historic nature of the election, no one argued, the polling people were well-organized and I pulled down my mechanical handles and swung the lever to the left, a solid “clunk,” as the decades old machine registered my vote.
The line is longer!! The line usually abates as folks move on to work, not today …
The line is still long … I wander into the polling place to talk with the election supervisor, a neighbor and retired Middle School principal.
“Real busy today … must really be hectic.”
“I ran lunch rooms for seventh graders for twenty years, this is a piece of cake.”
The crowds have slowed. Many neighbors standing around outside the polling place … all hoping for an Obama victory … and nervous. Seniors, a few voted for FDR, many parents bringing their kids, first time voters, all on the “same side,” maybe we really can turn around the nation. All ages, all colors, genders, all on the same page … and looking carefully you can see all with their fingers crossed.
By my calculation the only chance McCain has if he wins Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia. With 207 EVs and California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii coming at 11 pm … and Florida, North Carolina, Virginia still in play … I put the champagne in the fride to cool.
I pop the cork as MSNBC calls the election … champagne and roast pork egg foo young … a perfect victory meal!!
As the days move into weeks and the weeks to months the euphoria will fade as the governing begins. The first major sign will be the nomination of Secretary of Education. Will it come from the “technocratic elite,” someone like New Leaders for New Schools head John Schnur? or, from the Bolder, Broader Coalition, perhaps Linda Darling-Hammond, or, Arne Duncun, the current Chicago Schools Superintendent, who has signed both the educational agenda, and, let’s not omit Barbara Bryd Bennett, former Superintendent of Cleveland, with roots in New York City and a well respected national educator.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will be reauthorized this spring, in spite the opposition primarily from the National Education Association, who would like to see it die. It will be fascinating to see how Randi Weingarten, the new AFT President steers through the swirling waters of Congress. In New York City Weingarten managed to fend off assaults on the teacher contract, negotiated 43% in salary increases over the last two contracts and a schoolwide bonus plan; she is a deft negotiator and agile politician. Can she work with Obama, Representative Miller and Senator Kennedy to create a federal role that is inclusive of teachers, parents and the wider community?
The Broader, Bolder Agenda, including Community Schools was close to the Obama education position, will the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan overwhelm an educational agenda?
Hopefully Jim Morrison is right and we are breaking on through to the other side.