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“They eat our plants. They chew the crayons. They mark the walls.”
—A teacher at E.R. Taylor Elementary School in San Francisco, speaking on condition of anonymity, describing the rat problem at her school.

“When you’re labeled a felon, it’s tough to find work in a school.”
—Craig Drennan, former superintendent of California’s Modoc Joint Unified School District, on his search for an administrative job. Drennan was convicted of felony eavesdropping and fired in 1999 after placing a video camera disguised as a smoke detector in a principal’s office. A state appeals court recently overturned his conviction, and he’s looking to restart his career.

“I did it with my heart and my gut, and I didn’t use my head.”
—Linda Hoeksema, principal of Contemporary Learning Academy in Denver, on why she falsified 82 students’ grades last fall. The school district is allowing Hoeksema, who says she raised marks to help the students graduate, to keep her job at the alternative high school.

“Dental decay keeps 10 percent of the Connecticut work force out of work at least one day [a year], and it’s the same for children. They are not attentive in class because they are in pain.”
—Dr. Stanton Wolfe, Connecticut’s oral health director, at the recent unveiling of the Hartford school district’s new “Molar Express,” a $150,000 full-service dental clinic in a van that will provide services to city students.

“I love my kids; I love teaching; I love the interaction. Unfortunately, those feel-good moments and watching the kids grow don’t pay the electric bill.”
—Scott Wild, a Germantown, Maryland, high school English teacher, explaining why he waits tables after work.

Vol. 12, Issue 7, Page 9

Published in Print: April 1, 2001, as Overheard
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