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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Janet Morrison » Archives for Janet Morrison

By Janet Morrison on October 5, 2010

Let me admit something. I'm not big on celebrities. My goal is education for children. Oftentimes, I think celebrities detract from that. Most of the ones I've met made empty promises (that they never kept) and the events seemed to be more about them than it was about the kids/families who were there.

So, when we were told to gather people to cheer for Kirk Franklin when he arrived, I must admit, I didn't have a great attitude. I didn't see the purpose. Kirk Franklin gets to hear cheering every time he walks on stage.

As often happens in my life, I had to eat my words (and, trust me, I have enough friends in my life who relish in making sure that happens). Yes, there was cheering when Kirk Franklin got out of his car. But he didn't walk but a few steps before he starting humbly greeting each person he saw.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on September 30, 2010

I truly want this quote to not be true. I want to believe that our poor education system is not the fault of those of us who work diligently with our children every day, but over the last week or two, I am beginning to wonder.

Waiting for Superman has stirred up all kinds of conversations around our educational system. The film has shown people that not all families and children have the same opportunities. It talks about the desperation of parents as they hope and pray that their child is chosen to attend a school that can offer their child a quality education. It speaks of and shows good classrooms and teachers, but it also recognizes that there are teachers and school systems who are failing our kids. The film talks a lot about charter schools that have done well, like KIPP Academy and Harlem Success Prep... schools that recognized children were failing and faltering and did something huge and immediate.

Yet, after the film was released... after Oprah did her segment.. .and after NBC has created the conversation about Education Nation, Twitter blew up each time with teachers screaming, "We're under attack!"

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on September 22, 2010

On Thursday, October 7, the Central Dallas Ministries public policy department will co-sponsor a showing of the Waiting for Superman documentary. Though we made the decision before all of the controversy, there is now a firestorm of strong opinions thrusting themselves into the media on both sides. It seems there really are no lukewarm voices.

I'll publicly admit that I was one of the major advocates pushing our public policy committee to show the film ... and I am still strongly in favor of showing the film. I watched the Oprah segment and I must say, I was very impressed. No, she didn't have teachers on her panel ... but she also didn't have parents. What she did have was socially conscious voices who are concerned about our children. See the film below...

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on September 12, 2010

Faith. Why does my faith challenge me so much?

Is it because crazy people like Terry Jones use Christianity as a shield to schedule things like a Quran burning? Is it because Christians feel it is their obligatory duty to evangelize people and often make assumptions about what people do and don’t believe and how they should and shouldn’t profess and demonstrate that belief? Is it because the financially better off Christians often seem to want to help the poor, but don’t want to live next to them or be a part of their every day lives? Is it because people who claim Christianity feel it is ok to make disparaging comments about people?

I guess if I were Muslim my faith might be challenged in the same way. I would wonder why the extremists have to kill and I would be angry at the ones who take the Quran and use it to abuse women. I suppose that every religious sect has sections of people who seem to distort and then justify their message.  I also guess I have to realize that we are all flawed.

Some recent events have caused me to think about what and how I believe.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on August 28, 2010

Ahhh...finally a little down time this week. The summer program is over and we are ramping up for our After-School programs. No light task, but it does allow for a slight reprieve.

To allow me to procrastinate the planning I need to do for the Education Department training week and ensure I'll be working under a tight deadline for no reason, I decided to change offices. It's a bigger office with more windows and more wall space. I can get all of the papers off of the floor and organize a little better.

As with all moving jobs, it allowed me to sift through stuff, throwing away the pointless, old stuff and discovering treasures I had forgotten about long ago. Some of the treasures were photos I'd enlarged or printed on regular paper and stashed away until I could find frames or reasons to use them. Now is that time.

After a few days of cleaning, sifting, and moving furniture, I began to hang photos. I found some frames that had been donated... but others were hung simply with "tacky" directly on the wall. Once I completed the move and had all of the photos hung, I looked around and realized the framing definitely gave it a little "umph," but it wasn't the frames that I was going for when I printed the pictures. It's the meaning behind each one.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on August 19, 2010

Those of us who take jobs as teachers, educators, and social workers know what we're getting into when we sign up for the degree and the job. We sign on to higher salaries than people without an education, but lower than most degreed people make. But, for the most part, making the big bucks is not our intent.

In fact, the longer I'm in education, the more my job becomes a day-by-day battle to ensure children are receiving the best education possible with the resources we are given and the systems we are working against.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on August 3, 2010

For the last year, we have partnered with The Gleaning Network of Texas to create an After-School Academy Learning Garden.

We started the garden after receiving approval from the Dallas Housing Authority to use a fenced in plot of land behind the After-School Academy. We were given approval in June of last year.

If you know anything about Texas soil, you know June is not the smartest month to start a garden. But, with the perseverance of Susie Marshall, Executive Director of The Gleaning Network, the garden was under way.

It has taken some time for the kids to get used to the garden. But they have taken ownership of the garden and often beg to go water, dig, look at the worms, or "cook" the compost.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 27, 2010

Our kids have a lot of potential. They're bright, inquisitive, and active. The problem is, when there isn't something for them to do, they get restless and work to find a way to fulfill their need to do something. Unfortunately, this often results in them "experimenting" with things like, "What happens when I throw this paver (that was supposed to go to our garden) to the ground?" or "How hard do I have to throw this rock before it breaks that double-paned window?"

I don't think they have a clue that what they're doing are physics experiments. In their minds... and most times in ours... I think they're just vandalizing property... which is extremely irritating. But the reality is, whether they know it or not, they're experimenting. Our job is to channel that experimentation. And that's not always easy.

I want to say that parents should be more involved and aware of what their kids are doing. But during my social work internship, I was told that, "You can't 'should' all over yourself." So, instead of "should-ing" we've got to go to work.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 23, 2010

Charlie Mae Ransom was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I remember the heavy hearts we all had when we heard the news. The doctor had given her only months to live.

We should've known better.

Ms. Ransom never was one to simply accept news. She was a fighter. She defied the doctors. Up until a few months ago, she might get tired a little quicker, but she never let it show.

She was tough and she spoke her mind. She demanded respect for herself and the community around her. When something wasn't getting taken care of, she made phone calls and went up the chain of command until she found the right person to take care of the issue. Her persistence gained her respect and reverence so that if Ms. Ransom called, you answered and you did whatever she asked...and if something new was going on in the community, you made sure Ms. Ransom knew and approved.

Read more of this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 9, 2010

It's Mother's Day and I'm 500 miles away from my mom...but she's been on my mind for the last week. As I've listened to news stories, I've thought about my mom and even had a conversation with my best friend about her.

We joke about my mom being so "frugal." But the other side to her frugality is that she is very generous and kind. and shares everything she has with everyone else. When we lived on the farm, she took eggs to church and sold them for something like 50 cents so other people could have cheap and farm-fresh eggs.

We had more than enough and there was no reason they should go to waste so she sold them cheap. She had a HUGE garden that she had created with anything from squash to tomatoes to peas to potatoes. She exchanged different produce with friends and neighbors who had gardens, but often gave the extra to people who didn't have a lot--shut ins, elderly, and people she knew couldn't afford a whole lot.

Once our house became a Bed & Breakfast, the business status provided her with discounts for different products in hopes that she would buy their product and sell them to her patrons for a profit. Instead, she let the customers and friends browse the book, collected orders, and purchased the products at cost so others were able to receive the discount. There was nothing in it for her. She just felt like everyone else should have the opportunity to have what she had.

Even when we opened the Bed & Breakfast, I can remember them having conversations about how much to charge. They didn't want to charge exorbitant amounts. They didn't...and in the 10 years or so they were open, I only remember them increasing the price by $5 or $10 one time.

Read more of this post here ...

More blog posts by Janet Morrison:

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To browse archived entries by Janet Morrison, just scroll down this same sidebar column. You'll see the links for all of this author's blog entries, grouped by month and year.

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