Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Made The Honor Roll

On school mornings my alarm goes off about 7:15 and my girls climb into bed with me for a quick snuggle before we get up and get going.  I usually check my email as we lie in bed.  

I follow Diane Ravitch's blog, as I am sure many of you do, and get email notifications whenever she posts.  I am often amazed at how late and/or how early she has posted, and wonder when this amazing woman sleeps!

When I read the title of an email from 7:04 this morning my heart stopped.

A New Jersey Mom: Another Hero of Public Education

When I read that it was about me, I cried.  
Darcie Cimarusti is a hero of public education. As a parent of young children in the fine public schools of New Jersey, she became alarmed when a charter planned to open in her community. She knew that the charter would divide the community and undercut the public schools.
This is her story. She joins the honor roll of heroes.
She became an active crusader to defend public education in New Jersey. She has her own blog “Mother Crusader,” she writes letters to the editor, she testifies at hearings, she organizes other parents. She is a champion. With a mother crusader in every community, we could win the fight about big money.
I read it to my girls, and they beamed.  They may be the only 6 year olds in New Jersey who know Diane Ravitch by name.  

I have missed out on lots of time with my girls these last 18 months or so, and when I head off to a meeting or event, I try to tell them not only what I am doing but why I am doing it.  Last May I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with Diane after a lecture she gave in New Brunswick.  When I left to go to the event I told them how excited I was to be on the panel with Diane, and all about who she is and what she does.  

Diane comes up often in our house, yet still, my girls can't seem to get her name right.  

They call her Diane Radish. 

When I got involved in my town's battle against an unwanted charter, the fight was well underway.  People in our community were meeting, planning, and strategizing, but I noticed that similar conversations were happening not only across the state, but across the country.  I dove head first into those state and national conversations, and in the end, I think that perspective is what galvanized our opposition.  It gave us a strength in numbers we did not have before.

I have heard Diane say that they have money but we have numbers.  She's right.  It is the power in those numbers that saved my town from an unwanted charter school backed by a hedge fund demi billionaire and the United Stated Department of Education.  

Diane not only gives all of us the chance to get our voices heard, but to come together and gain the wisdom and courage to go out and make sure the schools our students and children rely on are not completely dismantled by profiteers and privatizers.

Were it not for her (and Jersey Jazzman too) there would be no me.

At least no Mother Crusader me. 

And for that, my girls and I thank you Dr. Radish.


  1. Beautiful.....I cried reading your tribute....now I am going make a salad and add a radish or two. Thanks for everything... Darcie, Diane and the girls!

  2. Please keep up! Your children will do as you do long into their adult life. You are their teacher and you matter!
    Thank you.

  3. beautifulllllll Way to go Darcie!!!!!!!

  4. As a teacher far away and an old former soldier, thank you for your courage and advocacy for what is good and decent on behalf of all of our children.
    With best regards,
    Kevin Spradlin