Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Goodbye, Family; Goodbye, BC

I haven't written here in a very long time, because I've been entirely at a loss as to what to say. After the teacher strike of 2014, when we, 'negotiated' a settlement that our provincial government promised to fund, many of us hoped things would get just a little better. Those people proved to be the relentless optimists among us: the people who see sunshine and unicorns dancing in the clouds, waiting to bestow their largesse on a beleaguered humanity.

I wish they had been right. I truly do. But consistent with their other interactions with teachers, the government lied. They did not fund our contract. Instead, when the time came to pay up, school boards around the province were told to make even more cuts; that further slashes to services were simply, "low hanging fruit."

Things are worse. They are so much worse. I cannot express how bad things are getting. Here is a picture of some books on the bookshelf in one of our classrooms, which remained there after the unusable material had been culled:
Understand, I didn't have to go searching for these books. I merely glanced at the first classroom shelf I came to, and there they were: books so exhausted they should have been retired. This is the state of many, if not most books on our shelves.

Next year, my resource class is expected to enrol 17 students with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities and/or autism. Back in 2002, when Christy Clark initiated the practise of tearing up signed contracts, such classes were considered large when they enrolled 12. A resource class includes students whose disabilities may be so severe they are nonverbal. They may be unable to walk. They may have severe behaviours, such as grabbing, pinching, hair pulling, biting, throwing and kicking. They may be students we call, 'bolters' - those who will run away from the school and potentially into traffic at the slightest distress.

The class may also contain students who are somewhat literate, and who want to learn work skills, life skills, and basic academics. They have the potential to get jobs and to lead independent lives, with some basic support. They may or may not have physical disabilities along with their intellectual limitations. They may or may not have autism and the consequent extreme sensitivity to sensory experiences, or enormous challenges with social interactions that they sometimes desperately covet. Many also have epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and other additional disabilities.

Imagine 17 of the students described above, in one room at one time. Seventeen used to be considered a reasonable size for a kindergarten class. My class was at a secondary school; the students were all fifteen to nineteen. Think about that for a minute: seventeen fifteen to nineteen year olds, some of whom aren't able to toilet themselves, feed themselves, speak or walk, and others who would love to learn everything they can to be as independent as possible. Think about organizing a birthday party or a sports event for these teens, and then think about doing that every day, day after day, and adding the requirement that each day they learn something that will help them in their lives.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love this work. I love working with these kids. I love working with their parents, who are frequently either cycling through the grief process as they watch their children miss more and more milestones, or, so exhausted they can only hope we can be their allies in the life shaping job of getting them to adulthood. I've loved this work since I was fourteen years old, and my grandmother spotted an ad in the Victoria classifieds asking for teenagers to volunteer at the horrifyingly named, "Victor Street School for the Retarded" (It was 1972). I was the only youth to stay the entire summer. Working with intellectually disabled teens has been my career for, if you include the early volunteering days, forty two years, and I still love it. A colleague of mine whose classroom is next door has told me on several occasions that when I came to teach in my latest job, she knew kids were learning because of all the laughter and joy she heard through the walls and saw on their faces. 

It's because I love the work so much, that I have to leave. I've spent the last two years thinking about going. I've felt increasingly sorrowful that I simply cannot do all that these kids need and deserve me to do. It wasn't the administration: mine was supportive and empowering. It wasn't the school: I loved the school where I worked. It wasn't the parents. Parents don't really change much from place to place: they're all just people who love their kids to bits, doing the best they can under challenging circumstances. It certainly wasn't the kids. 

What was it? Well, I spent half my day doing emails, meetings and paperwork. Half. My. Day. Ministry requirements for identifying disabilities have become increasingly onerous and stringent. Situations have to be increasingly desperate to qualify for funding. Ministry officials would no doubt say that they have remained constant, but in the climate of fear currently residing in school board offices around the province, boards have become more and more rigid and wedded to the paperwork, and less and less able to see the child behind the forms. 

So in BC, as a trained and experienced Special Education Teacher, I spend a huge amount of my time doing paperwork and attending or chairing meetings. When I do teach, I have to choose which students to teach, because I cannot give a nonverbal child the one to one attention s/he needs to learn communication skills, while teaching the more capable students work and life skills. Of course, this means that I either bounce between them, or I focus on one group and leave the other group to the EAs with some direction from me. Whether that stands any chance of working depends on whether the EAs are able to manage independently. Some are, some aren't, and some get fed up with not having enough of my attention and lose interest.

It is with a heavy heart, then, that I leave BC. I am going north, to the Yukon, where I will be able to actually work with the students and maintain my mandate. I am leaving my husband behind to sell our house, and I am leaving three children and five grandchildren. I will fly home every chance I get, but I won't be here for their birthdays, Christmas concerts, and holidays. This is heartbreaking for me, because for me, my family is everything. But two years in the Yukon will increase my pension so dramatically that I will be able to retire and come home years sooner. And while I'm there, I expect to be able to actually do my job.

So goodbye, BC. Catch you on the flip side.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why Are the Designations Disappearing?

I haven't been able to write for awhile, because I've been buried with back-to-school after-the-strike rebuild and recovery efforts. That is, I've been trying to teach. It hasn't been very pleasant. Well, the teaching part has, because I love the kids, I love teaching, and our new bunch of students is just delightful. I'm really thrilled with this year's batch of Resource Grade Tens. That aside, the rest of it...the part where I'm not teaching... has been pretty demoralizing. In fact, going back to school in general, has been pretty demoralizing. Morale is extremely low. We went on strike for the kids, we held the line to make things better for the kids, we gave up a fair whack of money for the kids, and yet, things are worse. Not just the same. Worse.

One of my jobs is to handle the paperwork for all of the Category D designations. Category D, is "Chronic Health". The whole point of the designations, is to identify students who require extra assistance in order to be successful in school. They might need some specialized equipment. They might need EA time. Maybe they need a scribe, or a specialised type of teaching, or maybe they just need to have some learning support class time. Depending upon why they have specialised needs, they are assigned a different category. Category A, for example, is called, "Dependent Handicapped." Category Q is for kids who are "Learning Disabled". Category H is for students with "Severe Behaviour Disorders/Severe Mental Illness".

These categories are attached to money. In addition to the paltry sum provided by the education ministry in this province to educate children, kids with a category may or may not bring in extra money to the school, to finance providing for their needs. The amount for the most severely affected children, those who are either Dependent Handicapped or both Deaf and Blind, roughly equals what it costs to pay for a single EA. Sounds reasonable, right?

Except that since we've been back, it looks to me like more and more kids are having their designations either downgraded, or removed. And that means, there is no funding for their special needs anymore.
I can't prove this; it may just be where I work, though other teachers I talk with say they notice the same thing. And it's pretty disturbing.

For example, I know of one situation in the province, I won't say where, in which a student with chronic pain and a history of seizures has lost their Chronic Health designation. This student continues to be affected by the damage caused by the seizures, and by the pain that won't allow sitting down for more than a few minutes, yet that student is no longer identified as one with these special needs. This kind of thing isn't new; it's been creeping up for awhile. There are students losing their 'Dependent Handicapped' designation on the basis that they can feed themselves, because they were seen eating a candy bar. The fact that such a student continues to require daily toileting, is unable to stand, walk, dress himself, lift a spoon to his mouth, open a book or write independently, is not enough. Being able to get a candy bar into one's mouth is apparently a criterion which establishes that you are not Dependent Handicapped.

These are a couple of examples of what is happening in schools right now. Funding has become so tight that children with obvious needs are having their support funds either reduced or removed altogether. There are countless examples of children with learning disabilities recognized by qualified psychologists, who are not considered to have learning disabilities by the BC Ministry of Education. This no longer matters, of course, because the Ministry removed all funding for students with LD anyway, but back when specialists were still funded for these kids, the qualifying features became narrower and narrower.

Another thing I'm noticing is enlarged classes. There is a class I know of, right now, with twenty five teenagers across three grades enrolled, and all of them are either identified as having special needs, or they should be. Not one is a typical learner. How can I be sure? Because the class is a learning support class. You can only enroll if the School Based Team identifies you as having some sort of high need. And yet, somewhere, somebody thinks it is reasonable to have twenty five high needs, generally emotionally fragile, challenged and often acting out teens in a single class, where they are supposed to receive extra help.

Why? Why does there seem to be a trend towards decategorization? Why would anyone form a class like the one described above? Aside from the obvious predilection of our current provincial government for under resourcing public schooling in their push to privatize all the things, why are we seeing this happen?

Given that the Ministry of Ed is very interested in removal of categories altogether, it seems likely that we will be seeing fewer and fewer children identified as having special needs, and therefore as requiring additional funding. While the Ministry would have you believe that this is to facilitate individualised learning for every child, I do not think there is any evidence to suggest that BC's Ministry of Education has either the will or the capacity to undertake such a move. Instead, I think the reasoning is simple: Undesignated children cannot be counted. Nobody can say, with ease, that there are "ten special needs children" in a given class. Once they are not identified, these children will be statistically invisible. And we all know what happens to people who don't statistically exist.

It certainly won't be an increase in services.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Citizens, We Need You

Well, here we are, with a deal to vote on. We're climbing up out of the trenches, dusting ourselves off, holding our noses against the stench of manipulation, and voting. We'll vote yes, but it won't be an overwhelming yes.

Throughout all of this, I've been tremendously optimistic. I'm an idealist - always have been - and I believe in the moral fight. The courageous stand. The battle for what is right and good. And this: this has been that fight. The question, of course, is, "Did we win?"

We didn't lose. We didn't see our union destroyed or our voices silenced. We didn't see our membership split and angry. We didn't get yet another series of zeroes in wage increases. We didn't have to picket into October. We didn't lose our homes or starve. And I guess that's good. None of those are things I wanted to see happen, and they didn't, so I guess that's good.

Why, then, I'm asking myself, do I feel so demoralized? I'm asking myself this, because when many were feeling discouraged, I was not, and now, here I am. Why do I feel like a beloved pet just died? And I think, slowly, I'm beginning to understand the answer.

The answer is, I was fighting for something that was bigger than this battle. I was fighting for children, democracy, and fairness. I was fighting against vilification, lies and poverty. I might as well have been fighting for world peace, and frankly, I'd've liked to have seen that, too. But this was a little fight, in a little province in a big country, in a big world, and I was never going to win world peace. I was never going to get what I was fighting for - not today, not tomorrow, and probably not in my lifetime. I wanted solutions. I wanted all of the pieces to be fitted together and neatly edged. I wanted to know I had achieved what I set out to achieve, and it turns out, that was never possible.

On Monday, or whenever I'm told to do so, I will go back to school and resume my role as a good little soldier in the war against ignorance. I'll bring 'my' kids into class, and I'll welcome them, and I'll hear their stories of summer and travel, and I'll care about them, and together we'll learn and work and do and at the end of the year we'll have an exciting three day field trip, just the way we always do. At the end of the year, they won't have had more space, smaller classes, or better equipment. They won't have had greater access to counselling or better support systems. They won't, in fact, notice any difference between the school they left, and the one to which they return. Down here on the ground, nothing much will change. And I was fighting for change, because change is desperately needed. So it should be no surprise, that I'm feeling sad.

But one thing is new. The difference, now, is that we are talking about it. Parents know about it. Grandparents know about it. People in the streets and offices and shops know about it. They know, now, that we have been propping up a faltering system for years. They know that we have collectively purchased millions of dollars of the equipment and materials that they see on the school shelves. They know that children can't get timely assessments, and can't get counselling, and aren't being provided EA time or technology that they urgently need. People know about it, and the conspiracy of silence is over. For that, I truly am, deeply grateful.

So here's the thing: don't stop listening. Please, please, please, don't forget. The outpouring of support from so very many people has been unprecedented, and amazing. And I am begging you, keep hearing, keep pushing, and keep helping, because what has happened here, has not solved the problem. It won't even change the face of the problem, unless the mothers, fathers, grandparents, business people and citizens continue to stand with us and help us to effect change.

We could, and we did, hold the line. But we cannot hold up the system. Not any more, not without help. We need the village to step in, and together, we will hold each other. Citizens, you are needed. Each and every one of you is needed, to give the children a change they will notice. Please stand with us, and keep hearing us, and together we will raise our standards and our children.

Together we will raise the bar.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Today and Tomorrow: Healing and Teaching

I had a lot of fun today. After some social activism, and attending a meeting of my local's Executive Committee, I got wind of a Liberal fundraiser over at a winery in Abbotsford. It turned out that members of some percentage a good deal smaller than my own (the 1%? 5%?) were paying $300 a plate to spend some dinner time with our Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong. A bunch of my colleagues and I from lower mainland and Fraser valley locals decided to go visit all of these wealthy BC Liberals and give them the opportunity to see what kind of people teachers are, up close and personal.

When we arrived, we found four security guards carefully watching and ensuring that the BMWs and Mercedes and sports cars were guided to their appropriate place on the spacious winery grounds. We assembled ourselves on the shoulder of the road outside, and began waving at the cars going by. Careful to avoid the winery property, and quick to move away from the bike path when needed, we set about donning picket signs, chatting, and greeting everyone we saw. I was in a particularly cheerful mood, and soon all of us were laughing and enjoying ourselves. Make no mistake, we were and are, deadly serious about our desire for a just, compassionate settlement to this strike; one that includes fair treatment for teachers and a strong, working, public school system for children. But sometimes, when in increasingly dire straits, people will show that delightful tendency to stare down their fears and wither them with laughter. Tonight was such a night.

As cars drove past, and we waved, and received more and more honks, thumbs up, and returned waves, our ebullience grew. Our smiles became wider and our enthusiasm, greater. Motorists responded. In conservative Abbotsford, many of the waves were tentative, but we soon noticed that people were smiling and enjoying our mood along with us. Sure, we had the occasional person stare straight ahead, but increasingly our fun became contagious.

We had a lot of fun!
Naturally, some repartee developed. We began to talk about how much we miss teaching, and to wonder how 'our' kids were doing. Before long, we were joking about being, 'teaching addicts', and we started begging some of the cars driving by to stop so that we could get a 'fix' of teaching! The drivers, of course, couldn't hear us, but they smiled and waved and honked, just the same. Pretty soon we were begging each other to let us teach everyone we saw. We took real joy in thinking about the fun, the good times, and the fulfillment we so often experience when in a room full of other people's children.

At one point, the lady from the driveway across the road came out to put out her trash. She indicated that she had questions, so I went over to chat with her. Her first remark was, "I thought teachers were just 9-3?" She wasn't accusing, just bemused. I explained that we wanted to help the current government understand the importance of the issues of under funding in the public education system, and that, as with our jobs, we were more than happy to take on tasks outside of school hours. She was supportive and receptive, so we chatted a bit longer, and then I rejoined my colleagues.

After awhile, the participants in the fancy dinner began to leave. Happily, even joyously, we waved, wished them a lovely evening, and exhorted them to drive safely. With only two exceptions, they waved and grinned as they drove away. One nattily dressed gentleman responded, when I remarked that I hoped he'd had a nice dinner, "I didn't eat anything at all!" "Oh!" I said, "They're starving you, too?" That brought quite a lot of hilarity from my companions. And all the while, there were cheerful background pleas to, "Please, let us teach! We just want to teach!"

Here I am, begging to teach!
As the day faded and twilight closed in, we began to discuss our departure, although Mr. de Jong had yet to make an appearance. We thought that he might be using a different exit, to avoid our rabble rousing. A couple of the security guards began to chat with us, and their smiles let us know that they were grateful for our peaceful, good natured approach. One even expressed his worry that as it got dark, we might be at risk of being hit by the quite speedy traffic. Before we left, though, Mr. de Jong and his blue Miata convertible made their appearance. The car top was up, but we were hard to miss, and even he smiled and waved at us. Only when he drove by, did we become political, calling out politely but pointedly, "Children need food!" "Fund the schools!" and "Arbitration!" The moment was fleeting, as he never slowed his car, and once he was gone, we said our goodbyes. There were hugs, and emails exchanged, and talk of a pub night some time when we can afford it, and we went our various ways.

It wasn't a huge demonstration; there were no speeches, no performers, clever posters or passionate marches. It was, however, a really lovely experience, and it taught everyone something. The people we waved and smiled at, began to see us as the ordinary citizens we are, instead of the selfish, greedy, demons this government would have them believe. The wealthy BCLiberal supporters, disarmed by our smiles, began to make eye contact, and to wave. No longer was it possible, for most of them, to maintain the fiction of, 'us' and 'them'. For those of us out there, from four thirty to eight, waving and laughing on a brisk September evening, it was a chance to live the profound truth of the words of the amazing Jack Layton:
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."
We didn't change the world tonight. We were just a small band of lively, passionate teachers who want, more than anything, to return to teaching in schools with the staff and resources to allow us to do our jobs well. We didn't change the world, but we did make a difference. For a few hours, we met disdain with joy, and we lived the determination that we have learned every day in our classrooms. That is the patient persistence that makes us teachers, and that is the passion for life that makes us love children.

That is why we cannot be crushed. We are teachers, and there is no profession more loving, hopeful and optimistic. Today, we hold the line to heal public education. And tomorrow, or next week, or next month; then, we will teach.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Talk at Tricities Youth Rally

Here is what I had to say on September 7th at the Tricities Youth Rally in Coquitlam. I was asked to provide information and perspective on some of the impacts of cuts to education in British Columbia. I'm not very slick with Blogger yet, so please excuse the poor formatting until I work out how to get it right.

The beginning of the talk was cut off, so I'll just let you know that I began by saying that my purple hair is in honour of my status as an endangered species: a British Columbia Special Education Teacher.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Terrible Trajectory of the Undesignated BC Child

There was an article published in the Vancouver Sun, detailing the odyssey of BC mother and teacher Lori Drysdale's search for services for her son with Non Verbal Learning Disabilities. The article was largely accurate, but there is a serious discussion underlying Lori's story, which needs to be addressed.

Minister Fassbender has decided that because about 10% of all BC students were identified as having special needs last year, there are 10% of students in BC schools who have special needs. This is like saying, "because I see only white cars parked on my street, all cars are white." In fact, the number of special needs students in our schools is a great deal higher than 10%, and I will tell you why.

First, waiting lists to get formally identified are very long. In one inner city school I worked at, we accessed about three to five assessments per year. By the end of September, the children on the, 'urgent' list, numbered about twenty five. As a result, at best, in any given year, one fifth of students who urgently needed assessment would receive it. Many a student languished on these lists throughout their elementary school career, and some never received assessment. Assessment is necessary for a child to be, 'identified' or 'designated', and thereby, funded. So children who had urgent need for funding, did not even get diagnosed, never mind provided the services they deserved.

Second, because teachers know about this, they realize that only children with the most dire needs will be assessed. There is no point at all, in putting a child on the assessment list if his need is 'only' severe. He won't receive assessment. The teacher, therefore, will not receive the information about how his brain works, that would facilitate her tailoring her instruction to his needs. The parent will not be told what, exactly, is making things hard for his child. And the child himself, will often believe that his problem is simply that he is, 'stupid', a notion regularly reinforced by his peers.

The teachers, of course, will move heaven and earth to help the child anyway. But without funding, without Educational Assistants and with massive classes, the unidentified child will often fall into the abyss of not really understanding, trying to cope, and becoming increasingly frustrated and angry. Imagine, if you were forced to sit in a PhD level biophysics class, or a PhD level neuropsychology seminar. You would be told to listen, contribute, read the relevant material and speak and write intelligently about what you read and heard. How would you respond? The lesson lasts for five hours, with a break for lunch. Would you be able to pay close attention, and meet the standards of the class? Most people wouldn't. And most people would quit, act out, or do something else to keep themselves busy. Which is exactly what happens to the unfunded LD, after day, after day, after day......

Eventually, of course, this makes him angry. Me, I'd've been angry within about half an hour, but many LD children in this situation will go on for years without throwing bricks through the plate glass. People with Learning Disabilities are some of the bravest and strongest people I know. However, eventually, they will flip their gourds, and rightly so. When this happens, they finally get their diagnosis. But their diagnosis is not for LD, it's for.....Behaviour/Mental illness.

Behaviour and Mental Illness are inextricably linked as single categories, according to the BC Ministry of Education. There is Category R, Mild to Moderate Behaviour/Mental Illness. That's how you are assigned if you are acting out but you don't have two agencies beyond the school, involved in your care. Only if you can get into enough trouble to have two (also profoundly underfunded and overworked) agencies involved, do you rate Category H, Severe Behaviour/Mental Illness. Category R isn't funded. Category H, gets you the lowest available funding.

Of course, if you are no longer attending school, which by now is often the case, you won't get any help at all, because your underlying problem, a Learning Disability, has never been acknowledged. All you know at this point, is that you are widely viewed as stupid and lazy. You are well aware that you can't keep up in school, so you don't go. It really, really hurts to be seen as stupid, so you need to find a way to get rid of the constant, gnawing, emotional pain. You also need somebody, anybody, to accept and value you. So you fall in with other disenfranchised kids, who offer you ways to numb your pain: drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating disorders...anything to give you a sense that you are in control of your life. If you have the misfortune to become addicted, you sometimes end up finding a way to finance your addiction that is not entirely legal. When you get caught at these activities, you end up in my husband's prison school class. He tells me that essentially all of his students are struggling with one learning impairment or another, most have addictions, and many have English as a Second Language.

So Lori Drysdale, who as a teacher, likely knew about this trajectory our Government has chosen for our children with Learning Disabilities, decided to go the private school route. So did I, with my daughter who has the same diagnosis. But Lori gave up her house to make that happen. I gave up an extremely good job to move, to make that happen. For Lori, it has helped her son, but for my child, it did not. I will talk about why in another blog. Suffice it to say, Private school may help some, but it most definitely is not the answer for all, or even most children with learning disabilities.

Mr. Fassbender, who is lamentably unfamiliar with the issues in his Education Portfolio, and woefully uneducated in how to assess the literature on the topic, needs to understand that 10% doesn't begin to touch the students who need special educational intervention. What is sad, is that there are reasonable ways to address these needs, and we've known about many of them for my entire thirty five year career as a special educator, but until people like Mr. Fassbender decide to ask people who know what they're doing, without a funding agenda, the conversation about genuinely positive educational reform will never happen. So meanwhile, we fight our contract battles to try to assuage the terrible, terrible needs that, daily, we see unmet.

The true miracle of learning disabilities, is the astonishing number of children who do make it through to become functional citizens. They cope, and some thrive, but the wounds create scars that never disappear. And if you really need a financial reason to care about this, consider that for every dollar spent on providing a good education, seven to eight are saved in corrections costs.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Answer is No

Mr. Fassbender has asked the teachers to stop striking now, please. I guess he hadn't thought to ask, previously. I guess he thinks if he asks, we will be so dazzled by this new idea that we will drop our picket signs in the nearest trash can and rush back to work.

Mr. Fassbender would like a, "cooling off period." He seems to feel that the past two months of rejecting Jim Iker's repeated requests to meet and negotiate were a bit too hot, so we need to wait a while longer before he refuses another overture. It's okay, Mr. Fassbender. It'll be cool enough soon; fall is in the air. 

Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to stop asking for class size and composition funding. We all know those greedy teachers are giving up their salaries because they like to grandstand, and so he'd appreciate it if we'd just stop worrying about the kids and get back to worrying about our salaries.

Mr Fassbender would like teachers to quit worrying about the two court cases they won. Now he wants to play best two out of three best three out of five? 

Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to stop making outrageous demands for, 'benefits.' He thinks the numbers are just too high. Of course, he's calling the cost of Educational Assistants a, 'benefit'. I wonder if the salaries of the baristas in the Starbucks where he hides from protesters, are a, 'benefit' of his job?

Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to start volunteering  stop working lunch hours  stop volunteering  start volunteering  just get back to work. He thinks we should trust him to be fair....this time, he means it.

Mr. Fassbender reminds us all that he is a grandfather. He wants us to know that because of this, he understands the needs of children. We, parents and grandparents ourselves, of course, don't share his insight, because it is negated by our status as teachers.

Mr. Fassbender wants Mr. Iker to poll the teachers for their opinions. He thinks maybe Mr. Iker is confused about what we want. I think we should help Mr. Fassbender to know that we know what we want. We want our students to have timely assessment, access to libraries and specialists, reasonable class sizes and properly funded schools. We want, in short, a quality public education. We don't need a poll. We need funding. I don't mind helping explain, though. 

I hate to disappoint you, Mr. Fassbender, but it doesn't matter how nicely you ask. What matters, is that you fund public education. Properly.

Mr. Fassbender, until you do that, the answer is no.