Thursday, April 28, 2011

Support Judy Mays

So yesterday on Facebook, I came across this item:

Parents: English Teacher Writes Racy Novels

Now you can click on the link and read what WNEP has written. Although I also suggest watching the video as well since there are some things that were stated in the video that somehow managed not to make it to the written portion.
Here's the deal. This blog is dedicated to helping people find ways they can help their local schools.  Yes sometimes I get on my soapbox when I see something that is truly upsetting. For example one of my more recent posts involving teachers being terminated to save money and field trips going virtual. I don't do book reviews on my blog, or participate in blog hops, or other blog related items, because I don't feel it relates to the topic of the blog itself. Well this is one of those items that has got me dusting off my soap box again!

Judy Mays writes romance novels. Judy Buranich has been a teacher for 25 years.  Ms. Mays is adored by her fans. Mrs. Buranich is adored by her students.  They are the same person. Mrs. Buranich does not bring her work in to the classroom. In fact she doesn't advertise in class at all that she writes under the pen name Judy Mays. Yet some high minded, busy-bodies who obviously have nothing better to do have decided that because Mrs. Buranich writes romance novels that she should no longer be qualified to be a teacher. Much less a High School English Teacher. Really?!?!? In fact said busy-bodies even felt the need to bring Mrs. Buranich's private life, into the public spot light. Unfortunately they were able to find someone at WNEP with a taste for trash news who was willing to humor them and put their story on the air!
Seriously this really got to me on multiple levels.First there is the whole privacy issue. I know in today's society, where one can find out pretty much anything about anyone with the press of a few buttons, privacy has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur. But anyone can see that Mrs. Buranich took extra effort to keep her writing life and her teaching life separate. Even on her website I was unable to find an actual picture of Judy Mays. The only referral to what she does besides writing is where she states she is "disguised as a mild-mannered tenth grade English teacher in a small public high school"**  The t.v. station showed a video interview of Judy Mays discussing her novels and compared it to a picture of Mrs Buranich to confirm they were the same person. 
I'm sure she kept her personal life as private as possible to avoid people using it against her. Which brings me to the second thing that really gets to me about this. Teachers are people too! They deserve One of the busybodies actually said Mrs. Buranich should choose which she wants to do, teach or write. Really? I know tons of teachers who have second jobs for various reasons, who would never be told to make that choice.  Mrs. Buranich's second job didn't interfere with her teaching. Obviously now it is but that was through no fault of her own.  If a teacher has a second job and must choose between the two what next? I know, I know she writes erotic romance. OOOOOOO. Big whoop. It doesn't come into her classroom it wasn't involved in her teaching at all. If we force someone to choose over something as minuscule as this what next? Will a teacher be terminated over their religion?? Or because they are gay? Or because they choose to marry someone outside of their race or culture? Or maybe even because they are married at all. After all that would possibly interfere with their job. She isn't breaking the law with what she writes. So really it's no ones business but her own. Especially since she doesn't bring her work to school with her. People teachers have lives. They don't live at school. See I knew this my whole life. I grew up with a parent who was a teacher. So it didn't shock me when I saw my teacher at the grocery store. I did have to explain to my own kids that their teacher didn't live at school. I'm sure everyone with children has had a similar moment. They are cute and sweet. Apparently none of these busy-bodies parents ever explained this to them. Because of people like them teachers everywhere feel the need to not have any type of life, since somebody might use it against them.
Then there is the third thing that is bugging me. The one that most relates to this blog. School funding is a nation wide crises. Teachers are basically required to fund their own classrooms and projects if they decide they want something better for the kids.  Mrs. Buranich has been teaching for 25 years. I'm sure some of her money from her extracurricular activity has even found it's way into her wallet to help supply her own classroom at some point. What aggravates me is that not only do these women have nothing better to do, but the news has nothing better to report than this. How about they report about schools having to cut perfectly qualified staff because of a cut budget? How about they report about the art classes that get canceled because the school can't afford them? How about if the parents want to make a positive influence in their children's lives they start by showing them how to help others and volunteer to help in some after school programs, instead of showing them how to hound and harass people.
Maybe Mrs. Buranich has never had an under funded classroom. Maybe the schools in the area are some of the lucky few that aren't underfunded and have never had programs cut and those "concerned " parents have never had to see their kids cry because they no longer have their favorite classes available. Maybe the local news area that WNEP covers hasn't been hit by the nationwide economic down turn.
That's a lot of maybes that maybe I just don't believe. That being said, if you all out there in computer land feel as I do that this is a bunch of bull-pucky and that this is a pointless witch hunt. Please feel free to show your support for Judy Mays aka: Judy Buranich. Visit and like the facebook page Support Judy Mays (Mrs. Buranich  and/or visit her Amazon page. ( I am not putting a direct link up to her website only because it is age restricted and I know there are some minors that every so often read this blog.) Also feel free to go to WNEP and let them know how you feel about tabloid trash reporting, especially when there are more important things going on in the nation.

**here is the link to her amazon page where the quote is also . I am not putting up the direct link to her website since it is restricted to only over 18 and I know I have readers who are under 18 here.
  Judy Mays Amazon Page

First We March on Austin by V. Furnas

Ok in March I posted And Now, a Visit by What???? .  In it I referred to V. Furnas and a post she had written for her blog Life 4 Me By Me entitled First We March on Austin back on March 12th.  Well I spoke with her and she was kind enough to let me re-post the original post of First We March on Austin here in its entirety. So here you go:

Waking up at 5:30 am  after a week of double shifts is not how I planned to spend my first Spring break Saturday.  My father taught me that there are times you have to do what you have to do, regardless of how you feel.  Today, I had to be in Austin.

The school district I teach in has been slow to release information regarding any reactions to budget "adjustments" that will need to be made to meet budget short falls for next year.  One of the things that has been on the list of schools all over the nation are layoffs. The target is for the new teachers fist. The one to three year teachers that have just started their journey, have started living the life they have dreamed of since childhood when they fist clutched chalk and taught their dolls and stuffed animals.  My best friend is 40 days from being out of this range.  She received the notice that her contract is up in the air last week.  This has sent us both on a mission to save not just her, but the children and the teachers that will remain.  It is the reason I wake up when I would really love to sleep late.

An organization, Save Texas Schools, organized a rally to march onto the capitol building.  When I got there, they had the building surrounded and were marching to the main stage set up in the back side.  "Save our schools," was chanted by more then 10,000 Texas teachers and education supporters.  
Texas has long had a love hate relationship with education.  We love to make education mandatory, make testing and rules on how paper work is maintained but we hate to provide proper finance.  Texas is 37th in funding per pupil in the United States.  That means as a state we spend $9,227/student in Texas that is $1,359 below the national average.

Texas is however, number one in teen pregnancies, and death penalty sentences.  
Marching shoulder to shoulder, stroller to stroller the chants grew louder.  Several brought drums, beating in time to their walking they rounded the building.  

One second there was a strong crowd next to the stage, then I turned around and there were masses and masses.  Women and men wearing green shirts wondered around passing out dots.  Red dots to count the number of people.  By their counts the numbers were over 11,000.

I am wearing mine!   (Don't judge the hair it was windy and humid.  And the pink face is from 15 minutes of being in the sun.  Don't even want to talk about what the face looks like now. Whooo. Should have worn giant sunglasses like my friend, then you wouldn't see the bags under the eyes.)

Back to the rally...

The most amazing of the speakers was the Superintendent from Perrin-Whit ISD (outside of Ft. Worth), John Kuhn.  In his inspired speech he requested equitable treatment for school districts.  Likening the present system that lawmakers are continuing to create as "the new American caste system," where the rich send their  children with vetted resumes to get a private education while funding is continually cut for the poor, and the immigrant. Mr. Kuhn stated that he will not be apart of such a system, he will educate every child especially the "broken."   The crowd erupted into cheers. Goose bumps crawled up my skin. 

That was the moment I drove three hours to feel.  Being a part of the community of Texas educators standing together and yelling out that we would stand together as one.    

I beg fellow Texans to become educated on the issue and vote accordingly.  This is not the time to stand passively by, shrugging and saying "it will be what it will be, no one will listen to me." You have to talk to be heard.  Exercise your first amendment right, and protest!  Shout and be heard.

If you missed the rally and live in Texas there will be a second one, Monday*

Be there.  Your children's future depends on it. 

******************Ok. Just so there is no confusion this was part of her original post, however obviously that was March 12, so this second rally/march has already occurred. *****************

I just wanted to say thank you again to V. Furnas for letting me re-post her original post. And I encourage all my readers to go check out her blog Life 4 Me By Me.