Saturday, November 12, 2011

“Dad Gum Gover’ment”

For those of you who have seen Big River those words will sound familiar.  I don’t dare repeat the rest of the words of the song, but if you know them repeat them in your minds and you’ll know how Josh, along with Dad and I and a lot of kids and parents at his school felt last week. 

Every teacher in Arizona has to renew what is called a fingerprint clearance card every SIX YEARS, with no reminders that the expiration date is coming up. Suddenly it was discovered Josh's card had expired.  Without any warning and with no grace period or reminder that the expiration date was coming up (after six years without a word), he was suddenly not allowed to be in his classroom until the renewed card arrived at the school…in 4 to 6 WEEKS!!!

We were all devasted!  After only missing one day in the ten years he has taught school, Josh had just missed a week with his class because of his trip to Ethiopia (the trip was planned to happen during fall break but the school had changed the their fall break dates because of construction issues). Anyway, he had spent literally a hundred hours preparing lessons plans for the substitute teacher before he left.

Now he was faced with sitting at a desk with a computer in an empty room with one other teacher with the same issue, doing random paperwork for the school and meeting with the substitute teacher every day after school to try to get her through the next day… for possibly six weeks…while he waited for the card to arrive. The kids were upset and were missing out on the continuity of their education for possibly an extended period. Many of the parents were beside themselves with indignation and the administration was wringing their hands, which were neatly tied behind their backs by the slow government agency.  After multitudes of calls to every agency and person he could find that had anything to do with expediting the process, Josh was completely frustrated and unable to reach anyone who could understand the urgency.

Shawni took Grace and Claire out of school during their lunch time while I was there and we went to the school to see how Josh was faring. It was so fun to see the kids run over to him in the lunch room while we were there, showing their absolute love and admiration for their terrific teacher, especially now that he couldn’t be with them in the classroom.

Finally, the day after we visited the school, Josh found a hero!  A kind guy on the other end of the phone finally understood what was going on (with the help of a desperate and insistent parent) and said that he would do his best to get his application through quickly.  The next day he called to say that he had Josh’s application in his hand and thought he could have the process finished in 15 minutes. Halleluiah!!! He faxed a copy of the renewed card to the school and he was back in the classroom that afternoon, after missing only one week. Phew!

Now that there is a happy ending we have to say that the wait-list for kids whose parents want their children in Josh’s class at the school is extensive! Parents really appreciate the wonderful education and TLC that he provides. We’re so delighted that Josh’s passion is teaching. He claims that his days fly by because he is doing something he loves! The difference he has made in the lives of many children will live on. How I love and appreciate my favorite elementary school teachers, even now!

In addition the new school buildings at the school (based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits) are spectacular. They’ve been working all summer on the new campus and here is a glimpse of what has happened!

Note the new Gilbert Temple going up in the background is almost in the school’s back yard!
There are two huge new buildings like this with a third going up on the left where Josh’s classroom will be next year.
I guess all’s well that ends well, but sadly, this solidifies our vision of the government having no sense of urgency or the least bit of allowance in the case of an honest mistake.  Ah, such is life! 


kms said...

They are verifying he's not a criminal and took any classes needing to remain certified. I wouldn't say it's just because they can do this.

Jonah and Aja said...

I love this because if you click on the link to see more of what they've done on Josh's campus, it actually goes to a link to order The Entitlement Trap. We got a good laugh.

Glad it all worked out. So unlike Josh to miss a deadline... I'm sure he has the next deadline in six years already in his iPhone calendar. Glad he finally got through to someone who could help.

Love ya!

Josh said...

kms, you're right, and it's so good that they're serious about all teachers having background checks and clearance to teach. Where the frustration lied here was that there were no reminders from anyone that it was expiring after 6 years and it was a process that took less than a half-hour, but they kept saying it would take 3-6 weeks with no expedited options for those in extreme situations like we were in. It was only when we found someone in the agency who understood urgency of the situation that we were able to get it expedited. I'm sure that happened because of all those who were praying for it to happen. I don't blame anyone for the situation, but I thank Heavenly Father for hearing and answering our prayers. Prayer works!